Quebec’s Eastern Townships schools to buy 5,000 Apple notebooks

In its efforts to provide its students with the best learning experience, the Eastern Townships School Board announced today an innovative Enhanced Learning Strategy that will provide every student in its schools with an Apple portable computer. This will be the first board-wide laptop initiative implemented in Canada.

The first stage of the Board’s three-year Enhanced Learning Strategy will begin when school starts in September 2003, with the first deployment of 1,630 wireless iBook computers to students in grades 5 and 6, as well as to level 5 students in its secondary schools. By the third year of the program, all Eastern Townships students, from the 3rd grade of elementary school to the 5th level of high school, will be given their own portable computer to use during the school year.

The Enhanced Learning Strategy has three main objectives: to facilitate higher student academic achievement; to empower educators in the development and implementation of curriculum; and to provide a flexible and accessible technology-based educational solution that engages students and fires their imaginations to strive for excellence.

“In the United States, both the State of Maine and the Henrico County School Board in Richmond, Virginia, took this comprehensive approach, and in two years, they have had quite a positive experience. After careful analysis of these two initiatives, the Quebec Ministry of Education gave us a green light to launch a project of this type,” explained Ronald Canuel, Director General of the Eastern Townships School Board. “Our project is consistent with the Quebec government’s educational reform and should serve as an important and positive example of the government’s strategy to better enhance learning for Quebec students.”

Over the next three years, the School Board will acquire over 5,000 portable wireless computers under a partnership agreement with Apple Canada. “This program is not just a matter of acquiring computers, but rather of a long term collaboration between the Board and Apple,” said Ronald Canuel. “Apple has a long history of delivering innovative technology solutions to schools and understands how to maximize educators’ technology investment.”

Along with the hardware and software, Apple will offer both technical and curriculum integration training to ensure a smooth deployment of the technology within Quebec’s new pedagogical standards. “Portable computers are not a panacea,” observed the Director General, “but can act as a lever for change in the learning environment. Through effective use of technology, teachers will be better supported to assist their students in achieving their full potential.”

In preparation for the return to school in September 2003, the School Board will roll out the first phase of its implementation strategy next month by introducing laptop equipment in three schools, two elementary and one secondary. At the same time, the Board will engage in extensive discussions with its stakeholders and begin its own internal training program for students, educators and administrators, and parents.

“One of the immediate advantages of students having their own portable computers is to encourage learning at all times without limiting it to the school context,” explained Dikran Husseindjian, National Director – Education Market for Apple Canada. “Not all students learn in the same way, or during the same hours. By having such flexible learning tools at their disposal, they can model their program to their particular needs. This approach better motivates students to attain higher levels of achievement.”

“Our community is proud of the Enhanced Learning Strategy” concluded Ronald Canuel. “Beyond the school, this regional social and economic development project has received the unanimous support of the Council of Commissioners. With such a consensus around a project, important conditions for success are already in place.”


  1. Wow! this is quite amazing. I’m a Quebec resident and I can tell you this is the first time I’ve heard of a recent computer-related initiative that was NOT centered on Windows PCs. Apple Canada should be congratulated on this one. Most schools still carry old Performas from the ice age and this is usually the only Mac contact the students have. Most of them assume that’s what Apple is about and move to Windows the first chance they get. These iBooks with OS X will change that. Great news indeed.

  2. For as much as Apple has been letting education burn, these are really some bright spots. If you can get a trend going, and it seems like they may do that, pretty soon you have a lot of laptops getting sold.

  3. I’m from the Eastern Townships (and recently came back to live here for good), and this piece of news is more than I ever hoped for!! It will definitely eclipse the agonizing feeling of having seen for the last 3 years a small but steady flow of new Dell boxes invading the village’s elementary school up the hill. Ah, to think that my daughters will be isued iBooks instead of being exposed to Wintel poison is such a happy thought. Congrats to Apple Canada on this one!

  4. Hmmm… this sounds wonderful! I live in New Brunswick, which is also considering doing the same thing, but through out theentire province. This news from Quebec, I hope, should encourage the province, all the more, to speed up the start of the program. Great work Apple Canada.

  5. well, i’m not from qu�bec (or even canada,) but i visit victoriaville every may for the festival international de musique actuelle de victoriaville (simply the coolest music festival on the planet!) and i love the people there. this is awesome news! next step — montr�al and qu�bec city schools!

  6. Our school board (city in western canada)
    has many ibook mobile labs (20-30 ibooks) in action.
    All purchased in the last year.
    I have a mobile lab arriving soon at the educational institute I currently work at.
    This type of purchase is happening in a lot of places without a big fanfare.

  7. For a Macintosh user since 1985 and living in Quebec this is the greatest news so far this year. (Surpasses SF MacWorld) Speaking French and using a Mac makes you lonely at times. Let me tell you that I do understand what it feels like being in a minority group. I hope that one day more and more people will use a Mac here in Quebec and it starts in our school system. Bravo to the Eastern Township School Board for their courage and their convictions.

  8. Think Different …I think this school will lead the way in grade average in Quebec. The fact that these students will be using macs brings a smile to my face. Macs take the frustration out of using computers and makes it not only educational but fun as well.

  9. I’m one of the students who have used the Ibooks. They rock. We have access to more info via the web and can hand in homework easily via the server. It has helped kids who don’t want to learn to become more active in participating. Thank-you Apple!

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