On Friday, seventh-graders at Brunswick (Maine) Junior High School took their iBooks home for the first time since the laptops were delivered last fall as part of a high-profile, educational technology initiative, according to an article in Maine’s
Governor King first announced the laptop initiative for Maine in February 2000, with a proposed launch date of September 2002. A worsening economy and State budget shortfall threatened the project on more than one occasion over the last two years.
On September 5, 2002,
Governor King traveled to Kittery, Maine to officially kickoff the program. At that time about 18,000 laptops were delivered to seventh-graders and teachers in 239 Maine schools. Another 18,000 have been promised to all Maine students who are expected to enter seventh grade during the 2003-04 school year. See our October 21, 2002 article for details.
For the technology initiative, students have been using the computers extensively in the classroom, but have not been permitted to take them home until the school department developed a laptop use policy, worked out bugs in the system, explored options for insuring the units, and trained parents about their proper use.
The school board developed a laptop computer use policy that outlines provisions for responsible use of the units and emphasizes that students can’t take the laptops out of the school until a parent or guardian has attended an orientation session and signed a release form.