65,000 Apple iBooks for Georgia schools one of the largest school laptop programs in the country

“Cobb County [Georgia] wants to spend nearly $70 million for 63,000 students and teachers to get state-of-the-art Apple laptop computers, complete with Microsoft Word and iTunes. After months of negotiations, Superintendent Joseph Redden announced the cost and scope of a potential deal with Apple Computer. If the school board approves the first phase of the four-year, $69.9 million proposal, the first iBook G4 laptops would be distributed this spring,” Kristina Torres reports for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“By fall, four high schools would be outfitted as demonstration sites. Within a year, high schoolers could be working with a computer that, at 5 pounds, weighs less than most textbooks. Within three years, each of Cobb’s teachers and middle and high school students could have a laptop,” Torres reports. “The iBooks would come with Apple’s latest operating system, plus Microsoft Office and wireless capability. Software would include Apple’s iLife, which could be used to make digital movies, photos and music for school projects through programs like iTunes and GarageBand. The iBooks would be compatible with the school system’s existing PCs.”

“‘The kinds of things the students will be using out in the work force today, they’ll be using in our schools,’ said Deputy Superintendent Donald Beers. Part of the cost goes to build a wireless network for schools countywide,” Torres reports. “If fully implemented, it would be one of the largest school laptop programs in the country.”

Full article here.


  1. Making digital movies and music for school projects? Come onnnn. These kids are from Georgia! Shouldn’t they be learning to read first?

    I keed, I keed . . . . . . . . . okay, not this time.

  2. Another first post! Ohhhhh, I feel so special. Yessss, yesss. Kind of like that time I showed up at the geek-fest known as the Microsoft Developer’s Conference and did the samba with sweaty Ballmer. What a tool. But, we still talk occasionally. And every now and then he has something interesting to say . . . . . . .


  3. This is great news. On a related note a coworker of mine asked me if I was concerned about my kids not being able to enter the workforce prepared because I switched from Windows to a Mac. I then asked him if he learned to drive an automatic would he never be able to drive a stick shift? Also, though I did not think of this at the time, I know my kids will be even more prepared for the world because they have and regularly use a Windows XP computer, a Linux computer *and* a Macintosh computer. Who is going to be better prepared?

    I think it is great that these kids are getting Macs so that they can learn with them and not worry about the security issues that are so prevelant with Windows. My kids are seeing first hand the difference between the Mac and Windows and they prefer the Mac.

  4. As a USA swim coach in Cobb County, I work with many students. It is an affluent highly educated suburb that trends Republican and Southern Baptist. On the plus side, my swimmers usually have 3.7 or higher in honors courses, and score 1350 or so on SATs, so apparently they know how to read.
    They are recruited by the top colleges in the country, and the Ivy League schools (because they don’t have athletic money) are often the first and most presistent to come calling.
    On the negative side, there is an evangelical aspect that is on the rise politically, and they have gardnered a certain amount of influence (and certainly not just in Atlanta). How much is hard to say – but I know few people in Cobb that aren’t embarassed by the evolution stickers.
    Every segment of society has its fringe element, and they often seek power and to amplify their true representation. There is no need to disparage the larger percentage of the population by questioning their intelligence (a la Triumph’s post).
    My wife is Vice President of the local school’s PTA, and she (an iBook owner) reports that teachers are against the laptop proposal because they feel that some schools need playgrounds and para-pros before millions are spent on untested technology. I gather that most of the negative emails are coming not from anti-Apple forces, but friends of teachers that want the money spent elsewhere.
    I plan to volunteer my time on helping at the local Middle school if the plan passes. I have spent lots of time converting my employees from a Window mindset into true believers. My assistant, a graduate from Georgia Tech in computer science, is the proud owner of a Cube and PB G4. He is buying his fiance’ a used iBook from our business (made surplus by a Mac Mini) for Valentines, though he is trying to figure out how to make it run her CDC speciality software – his initial experience with Virtual PC was very poor. Both he and his girlfriend would be very surprised to read the put-downs applied to Georgia’s students by otherwise enlightened members of the Mac community.

  5. Ohh, Pat. Come on, now! Surely you know I keed. Are you keeding me? Where I come from my former owners were lucky to have all of their teeth — and that was in the north!

    But seriously, calling the iBooks ‘untested technology’ and griping about the cost doesn’t jibe so well with words like ‘affluent’ and ‘suburb’. That’s like me saying the schnauzer I humped last night was both ‘pretty’ AND a ‘dog’! She can’t be both, know what I mean?

    Oh, and by the way, about Cobb County: Jesus called. He wants his deposit back.

  6. Triumph,
    You give yourself away as a teenage girl. I hear it all the time with the kids – the put-downs followed by the ohh comm’on, just kidding – pause – then the next dig.

    What’s untested technology is the application of laptops as the exclusive medium of education for middle schoolers (not the iBooks themselves). We are still in the early stages of deployment in Maine and Virginia and the test scores are encouraging, but eight grade boys can usually find a way to beat the system and safeguards, especially if porn is their reward. Those that fail would settle for seconds on your schnauzer.

    It isn’t that teachers are griping about the cost – they are competing for finite resources in an area that is taxation adverse. I’m not offering excuses for it, just an at-the-scene description for all my Mac buddies.

    btw -“Jesus called..”.that’s good.

  7. Pat — Triumph is the insult comic dog featured on Late Night with Conan O’Brien. He’s definitely NOT a girl.

    That being said, Triumph’s owner Robert Smigel certainly does come up with the jokes similar to those here. Robert, is that you?

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