Monday, September 9, 2013

Maine's "laptop program" becomes a "tablet program"

I'm remiss in posting last week's story on the launch of the fourth incarnation of Maine's historic "laptops in schools" program, the first in the nation -- and possibly the world -- to put a computer in the hands of every public school seventh and eighth grader.

This year's relaunch was marked by controversy. As previously reported, Gov. Paul LePage sought to end the program altogether, but was talked out of it by his (now departed) education commissioner, Steve Bowen. The governor then personally intervened in the selection process, delaying new contracts by weeks and, ultimately, selecting the fourth-ranked device, because it was the least expensive Windows-based option. But he also allowed schools to chose from that laptop's competitors, the Apple iPad and Apple MacBook.

So how's the launch gone?

In terms of getting devices deployed -- something school districts were worried about given the delays and confusion surrounding the new contract -- it's gone extremely well. Schools are optimistic about their respective devices too.

But if Gov. LePage sought to switch Mainers over to Windows-based systems -- as internal administration correspondence has shown was a priority -- then not so well. Ninety percent of schools opted not for the state's official choice, but for Apple products, and sixty percent chose the iPad. But I've said too much already. Just read the story from last Wednesday's Portland Press Herald.

No comments:

Post a Comment