Maine's expanded MacBook program the 'largest of its kind'

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
The Maine Department of Education said Tuesday that it plans to expand to high school students a program that has provided Apple notebook computers to all of the state's middle school students for the past 7 years, creating "the world's largest educational technology program of its kind."



As part of the deal, the Maine Department of Education announced it has placed an order for more than 64,000 MacBooks for students and faculty in grades 7 through 12, and will place an additional order for up to 7,000 more notebooks in the coming weeks.



The Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI), so it's called, has provided Apple notebook computers to all Maine middle school students since 2002 – making Maine the first and only state with a statewide implementation of notebooks for every student. The high school expansion will see the initiative become the world's largest educational technology program of its kind.



"We have seen incredible success with our middle schools showing increased student engagement and achievement with MLTI in place and we want to bring this same opportunity to our high schools," said Maine Education Commissioner Sue Gendron. "Apple has been a great partner and consistently demonstrates that it understands the need to provide a complete solution that puts education first. We're very excited about the new school year."



The notebook package provided by Apple includes a wide array of educational software, professional development, repair and replacement and technical support. In addition to learning how to use technology, students do research, write and edit, conduct online simulations, and take online tutorials.



The high school expansion is an extension of an existing contract with Apple, which competed for and won both MLTI contracts to date, the Maine Department of Education said.



“This expansion is helping Maine close the digital divide,” added Jeff Mao, director of learning technology for the Maine Department of Education. "About 2,000 public high school students in Maine attended high schools with laptops for all students this year. Next fall, the number will be 22,000 to 28,000."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 58
    This is a great way to spend tax money in schools. I wish NY wasn't so bad at spending our money, we could have something this great as well.
  • Reply 2 of 58
    patsfan83patsfan83 Posts: 156member
    Buying in bulk is cheaper...Anyone have an idea of what they would pay per Macbook? $800 maybe? Great PR for Apple.
  • Reply 3 of 58
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by PatsFan83 View Post


    Buying in bulk is cheaper...Anyone have an idea of what they would pay per Macbook? $800 maybe? Great PR for Apple.



    I don't know, but even if were at cost it would mean that their PC purchase would be more likely a Mac and there may be plenty of parents and friends and younger sibling below grade 7 that would likely move to the Mac because of this. I think in a few years Maine may easily have the highest per capita Mac use in the country. I could be wrong, but this seems like a long term seed for Mac adoption.
  • Reply 4 of 58
    I think this is a terrible use of tax dollars. I personally never learned anything on a computer in school that I couldn't have learned from a book. This is needlessly wasteful. Computers are not educational, they dumb you down like TV.
  • Reply 5 of 58
    oc4theooc4theo Posts: 294member
    Here is a State that understands what is important. In most states, especially in California, they spend the school money for the Prisons Industrial Complex. Shame on you Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Nazi!



    Way to go, State of Maine! You have shown that children is the future.
  • Reply 6 of 58
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jlanganki View Post


    I think this is a terrible use of tax dollars. I personally never learned anything on a computer in school that I couldn't have learned from a book. This is needlessly wasteful. Computers are not educational, they dumb you down like TV.



    What century did you grow up in? Computer knowledge is a necessity for all child in industrialized parts of the world to compete on all scholastic levels. You may not feel that you can learn from a computer but I assure that a computer is an excellent tool for learning.
  • Reply 7 of 58
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jlanganki View Post


    I think this is a terrible use of tax dollars. I personally never learned anything on a computer in school that I couldn't have learned from a book. This is needlessly wasteful. Computers are not educational, they dumb you down like TV.



    This program has been going on in Maine for several years now. I'm sure if the taxpayers felt that it was a waste of money, then it would have been stopped already.



    The secret to getting technology into schools is having a curriculum to go along with it. It sounds like Maine has been able to successfully come up with a curriculum that uses the technology to enrich the education of the students. Other schools simply drop a computer or two in a classroom and expect the teacher to use it with the students, and that's when the technology does become a waste of tax money.



    I really hope I'm not responding to someone who is simply trolling...
  • Reply 8 of 58
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by technohermit View Post


    This is a great way to spend tax money in schools. I wish NY wasn't so bad at spending our money, we could have something this great as well.



    NYC tried to start a program with laptops similar to Maine. There was an experient in several schools and never published any outcome, wether sucessful or not. I tried to get my school one of the selected sites but my boss was uncooperative.



    It is a very expensive proposition to start a program like this and the NYCDOE (New York City Department of Education) is stuck purchasing all computers through Dell at an inflated price.

    The cost of a 20" Imac is $1147.53 and the Macbook is $1237.22. It does come with a Applecare for three years and Microsoft Office installed. It sounds like a good price until you think about how many computers the DOE orders. There is no real discount.

    For a middle school like mine it would cost $1,855,830. That is 1500 laptops. If all the text books could be loaded on the laptop, the only thing the student would need would to carry would be a pencil, pen and some paper.
  • Reply 9 of 58
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    What century did you grow up in? Computer knowledge is a necessity for all child in industrialized parts of the world to compete on all scholastic levels. You may not feel that you can learn from a computer but I assure that a computer is an excellent tool for learning.



    I agree that a computer is good for learning, but these school districts have seen no return in higher test scores for the multi-million dollar purchases of computers, Mac or otherwise. The three R's are best taught in the traditional ways. If we saw a jump in aptitude, comprehension and the like, I would agree with you.



    And, the kids don't have to be immersed in computers to be competent with them later in life. Me (30+ years old) and many like me didn't get into them until post high school years. I could barely turn one on after college. Now, I do it for a living. I'm sure most would agree it's really not that difficult.



    Just my 2¢.
  • Reply 10 of 58
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by taugust04 View Post


    This program has been going on in Maine for several years now. I'm sure if the taxpayers felt that it was a waste of money, then it would have been stopped already.



    The secret to getting technology into schools is having a curriculum to go along with it. It sounds like Maine has been able to successfully come up with a curriculum that uses the technology to enrich the education of the students. Other schools simply drop a computer or two in a classroom and expect the teacher to use it with the students, and that's when the technology does become a waste of tax money.



    I really hope I'm not responding to someone who is simply trolling...



    I agree. Most schools don't train the teachers how to use the computers. No, they are not all computer savvy. Most schools don't train teachers how to integrate computers into the curriculum. There is another problem. There is no one on staff at the school to maintain the computers. I do most of the computer repairs and upgrades myself. If you call the city helpdesk, some one comes in a few days to assess the problem and then someone comes a few days later for the repair. I currently maintain 120 computers and will hopefully add another 150 next year.
  • Reply 11 of 58
    chris_cachris_ca Posts: 2,543member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by OC4Theo View Post


    Here is a State that understands what is important. In most states, especially in California, they spend the school money for the Prisons Industrial Complex. Shame on you Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Nazi!



    Wow only 6 posts in to get to "Nazi".
  • Reply 12 of 58
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by chuckmoser View Post


    I agree that a computer is good for learning, but these school districts have seen no return in higher test scores for the multi-million dollar purchases of computers, Mac or otherwise. The three R's are best taught in the traditional ways. If we saw a jump in aptitude, comprehension and the like, I would agree with you.



    And, the kids don't have to be immersed in computers to be competent with them later in life. Me (30+ years old) and many like me didn't get into them until post high school years. I could barely turn one on after college. Now, I do it for a living. I'm sure most would agree it's really not that difficult.



    Just my 2¢.



    Students respond well to using computers for learning. It holds their interest and they communicate more effectively. Don't fall for test scores as the be all and end all. It is a test given on one day. If a child has a bad day they can score low. Besides, it is not the same test every year. If politicians want to show how well they are doing they can have the test dumb ed done so the students score higher.
  • Reply 13 of 58
    While I missed out on the first roll out of laptops to middle school students (I was already in high school), my little sister was a part of the pilot program in Maine. She was assigned a new iBook to use during 7th and 8th grade in middle school and allowed to bring it home every night. And after that two year period, the school department extended an option to purchase the laptops for only $50! Needless to say, virtually all of these kids went that route and had their own machine to use throughout high school. All of the school's classrooms were outfitted with projectors that teachers could connect their PowerBooks to for their lessons. However, the laptops also had special software installed which allowed teachers to "hand out" digital files and weblinks, restrict web-browsing/instant messaging, and allow students to collaborate on projects through their laptops. My step-brother is just entering middle school this fall and will receive a white MacBook on his first day. As reported in the local newspaper, each MacBook/AppleCare/Software/IT package costs the state of Maine about $785 per student - Quite the discount really!



    Fall 2009 Maine MacBook Specs: 2.0GHz Core 2 Duo, 2GB DDR3, 120GB HDD, SuperDrive. (End of lease student purchase option will be $85 in Spring 2011)



    *There is, however, one MAJOR drawback with this program. The state subsidizes the cost of each MacBook student bundle and makes them available to each regional school department for $200 each for use in high schools. The Middle School program is completely funded by the state and is mandatory. The new high school program is optional at this time. About 60% of Maine's high schools will be taking part this fall.



    Everything started with a state tax surplus and is being continued with grants and federal stimulus money. This is an excellent program that helps to get new technologies in the hands of our youth and prepare them for today's digital world.
  • Reply 14 of 58
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Willier7 View Post


    Students respond well to using computers for learning. It holds their interest and they communicate more effectively. Don't fall for test scores as the be all and end all. It is a test given on one day. If a child has a bad day they can score low. Besides, it is not the same test every year. If politicians want to show how well they are doing they can have the test dumb ed done so the students score higher.



    Well, if we can't use test scores to show results, what can we use? The point is is the scores haven't improved- the students didn't score higher. I'm just thinking the money could be used better.

    And, I don't think this generation has a problem communicating. In fact, I think a little more one-on-one face time would be beneficial rather than the endless texting and emailing.
  • Reply 15 of 58
    adamiigsadamiigs Posts: 355member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jlanganki View Post


    I think this is a terrible use of tax dollars. I personally never learned anything on a computer in school that I couldn't have learned from a book. This is needlessly wasteful. Computers are not educational, they dumb you down like TV.



    Yes it's much better that they learn from 30yr old textbooks!



    Shouldn't you be saying "Hey you kids stay off my lawn dagnabit!"
  • Reply 16 of 58
    nceencee Posts: 856member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    I don't know, but even if were at cost it would mean that their PC purchase would be more likely a Mac and there may be plenty of parents and friends and younger sibling below grade 7 that would likely move to the Mac because of this. I think in a few years Maine may easily have the highest per capita Mac use in the country. I could be wrong, but this seems like a long term seed for Mac adoption.



    I believe this is the 4th, 5th year?



    Maine may already have highest per capital Mac user base, but you are talking about a state that has, what 1.5 million citizens?



    There are schools here, that choose to go with PC's - saying that in the real world, Mac's aren't to be found



    As a MUG users Group President, I fight this daily, but hey, a few years back, you wouldn't find but a handful of Mac's in the whole state.



    What is sorely missing now, is folks to help with tech support, and convincing folks to teach more Graphic Arts programs. If these kids are to get much out of Mac's, and use those skills in Maine, they need to get into graphics.



    Using these laptops for surfing the web, may seems cool to the kids, but folks are right saying you can do that on a PC (as long as it doesn't crash).



    As a parent, I think it's great, BUT this money would be MUCH better spent, keeping teachers employed, keeping sports on the programs, fixing up some of the schools, at least turn on the heat



    Skip
  • Reply 17 of 58
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ncee View Post


    I believe this is the 4th, 5th year?



    Maine may already have highest per capital Mac user base, but you are talking about a state that has, what 1.5 million citizens?



    There are schools here, that choose to go with PC's - saying that in the real world, Mac's aren't to be found.



    Whether a kid get a real world job in a company running Compaq, Dell, HP or whatever is irrelevant. Owning a Mac means you can run Windows, too. With the prevalence of Macs in colleges and even some colleges requiring Mac use while others only recommending it, there is no real world downsize from using a Mac in grade school.
  • Reply 18 of 58
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ncee View Post


    I believe this is the 4th, 5th year?



    Maine may already have highest per capital Mac user base, but you are talking about a state that has, what 1.5 million citizens?



    There are schools here, that choose to go with PC's - saying that in the real world, Mac's aren't to be found



    As a MUG users Group President, I fight this daily, but hey, a few years back, you wouldn't find but a handful of Mac's in the whole state.



    What is sorely missing now, is folks to help with tech support, and convincing folks to teach more Graphic Arts programs. If these kids are to get much out of Mac's, and use those skills in Maine, they need to get into graphics.



    Using these laptops for surfing the web, may seems cool to the kids, but folks are right saying you can do that on a PC (as long as it doesn't crash).



    As a parent, I think it's great, BUT this money would be MUCH better spent, keeping teachers employed, keeping sports on the programs, fixing up some of the schools, at least turn on the heat



    Skip



    Well, in case you haven't heard, Macs run Windows

    Also, the real benefit to an Apple computer now is that it can run any x86/x64 operating system. Hiring more teachers hasn't been the problem, it's the bar consistently being lowered that matters. I have this argument with the 6 teachers in my family all of the time. They do not get that they really are being paid for the summers off, and the 5 weeks of vacation throughout the year.

    It is what is being taught that is the real problem, not the funding for such things.
  • Reply 19 of 58
    nceencee Posts: 856member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Willier7 View Post


    I agree. Most schools don't train the teachers how to use the computers. No, they are not all computer savvy. Most schools don't train teachers how to integrate computers into the curriculum. There is another problem. There is no one on staff at the school to maintain the computers. I do most of the computer repairs and upgrades myself. If you call the city helpdesk, some one comes in a few days to assess the problem and then someone comes a few days later for the repair. I currently maintain 120 computers and will hopefully add another 150 next year.



    Most schools don't, but the ones that offer training don't get far as long as the teachers DO NOT except training, unless they ARE getting PAID for their time



    As a Mac Users Group we offered to train the teachers in our school district, and what we had the first night, was several teachers show up, and ALL ask the same question, "who has the paperwork for us, so we can get paid for this time"?



    Skip
  • Reply 20 of 58
    leonardleonard Posts: 528member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jlanganki View Post


    I think this is a terrible use of tax dollars. I personally never learned anything on a computer in school that I couldn't have learned from a book. This is needlessly wasteful. Computers are not educational, they dumb you down like TV.



    Why does everyone put down television? There are good TV channels out their like The Learning Channel, Discovery, Home and Garden TV, where people can learn alot especially for those that can't travel the world or work in every industry. Learnt more about Dubai, China, the South Pole research center run by the US, etc. than from any classroom. Good ol' Mike Holmes has taught me alot about house maintenance. Yeah sure, we don't watch them as much as the "dumb" shows you're talking about. Heck, my first lessons about computers were through the "Bits and Bytes" TV series, which is a great computers basics TV series.
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