State of Maine awards middle school contract to Apple Computer for 34,000 iBooks

The State of Maine Division of Purchases and the Maine Department of Education announced today that Apple Computer, Inc. was selected as the top-scoring bidder for services and equipment for the Maine Learning Technology Initiative. The Department issued a request for proposals on January 13, 2006 for a four-year agreement to provide personal, portable computing devices with suitable basic applications for all 7th and 8th grade students and teachers [34,000 iBooks according to reports], along with upgraded wireless networks for all participating middle schools, appropriate server capacity, training and technical support.

This award is a final decision, subject to State Purchases Review Committee approval and final legislative approval of the Department’s budget. The Department will now enter into negotiations with Apple Computer, Inc. in order to finalize the terms and conditions of the agreement for the services and equipment for the Maine Learning Technology Initiative.

Under the current timelines and subject to final legislative approval of the Department’s budget, the Department intends to deploy new laptop computers to teachers, librarians, principals and technology coordinators in the summer of 2006 to begin preparing for the 2006-7 school year. New laptop computers for all grade 7 and 8 public middle school students will be issued at the start of the school year. In all, the Department estimates that over 36,000 laptops will be deployed.

“We are pleased with the strong educational focus of Apple’s proposal, and we look forward to a continued partnership in providing the students of Maine the tools and resources for the 21st Century,” commented Bette Manchester, Director of Special Projects for the Department of Education, in a statement.

An overview of the components of the bid as proposed by Apple Computer:
• Professional Development: Summer 2006 training for teachers, principals and tech coordinators and ongoing professional development.
• Per Seat Cost: $289
• Device Description: Apple iBook 12.1”, 1.33 Ghz G4, 1GB RAM, 40 GB, 802.11b/g, 10/100 ethernet, Bluetooth 2.0 EDR, slot-load CDRW-DVD ROM (24x CD-R, 16x CDRW, 8x DVD-ROM, 24x CD-ROM), 4.9 lbs
• Applications: Pages, Appleworks, Mail, Dictionary & Thesaurus, Grapher, Keynote, iWeb, iMovie HD, iPhoto, iDVD, GarageBand, iTunes, Safari, iChatAV, iCal, Preview (http://www.apple.com/software/), NoteTaker (http://www.aquaminds.com), NeoOffice (http://www.neooffice.org/), Pasco DataStudio (http://www.pasco.com/datastudio/), GRASS GIS (http://grass.itc.it/), GIMP (http://www.gimp.org/), World Book Encyclopedia (http://mackiev.com/world_book.html), Journler (http://journler.phildow.net/), Anti-virus software
• Communication: Mac OS X Server hosted POP accounts for all users, private messaging accounts inside StudyWiz hosted environment for all users
• Collaboration: Hosted StudyWiz environment (http://www.studywiz.com/)
• Software Updating: Apple Remote Desktop, 2 admin licenses per school
• Software Restore: MLTI Firewire Restore method. 1 drive per 30 student devices deployed.
• Operating System: Mac OS 10.4.x, Apple Maintenance Program, includes all Operating System revisions for the term of the contract.
• Wireless Network: Apple will expand network coverage as necessary to meet requirements. Will upgrade all switches and access points (Airport Extreme, 802.11g). If necessary, Apple will use PoE.
• Support: Extended warranty coverage for the term of the contract. Spare devices allocated to each school. Apple will provide 1-800 Help Desk services.
• Backups: Users have off-site storage using backup solution software, 100MB per student, 500 MB per teacher

Updates and background information regarding the Maine Learning Technology Initiative are available on the website at http://www.maine.gov/mlti/

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Related article:
Maine looks to continue statewide 34,000 Apple iBooks in middle schools program – December 28, 2005

22 Comments

  1. Office is way too bloated for the average student — heck, I have Office and probably use only one-tenth of the features. Once you learn one word processing program, it’s not that hard to move to a new one. And the license cost per seat, even for student/teacher edition, would probably have put the total bid too high, meaning Dell or some other crappy PC company would’ve moved in.

    With AppleWorks you get a nice basic word processor and spreadsheet, as well as a basic database (which Office doesn’t have), and A/W has some pretty good templates for use in education.

    This is a great deal for both Apple and Maine — they’re not going to need the Intel iBooks (or whatever the heck they’ll be called) anyway, and this clears the way for Intel iBooks to be introduced by this summer. If anyone’s in the market for a 12″ iBook, I suggest moving quickly…

  2. Two things I see: First, I think it’s better for the school to get G4’s rather than first-generation MacBooks (or whatever the new Intel consumer laptops will be called). They’re 7th and 8th graders, not power-users, and there could be some glitches with new models.

    Second, it’s great that they’ll have NeoOffice instead of microbloat office, but doesn’t NeoOffice put out frequent updates?

    MW: schools. I’m not kidding.

  3. Two things I see: First, I think it’s better for the school to get G4’s rather than first-generation MacBooks (or whatever the new Intel consumer laptops will be called). They’re 7th and 8th graders, not power-users, and there could be some glitches with new models.

    Second, it’s great that they’ll have NeoOffice instead of microbloat office, but doesn’t NeoOffice put out frequent updates?

    MW: schools. I’m not kidding.

  4. Two things I see: First, I think it’s better for the school to get G4’s rather than first-generation MacBooks (or whatever the new Intel consumer laptops will be called). They’re 7th and 8th graders, not power-users, and there could be some glitches with new models.

    Second, it’s great that they’ll have NeoOffice instead of microbloat office, but doesn’t NeoOffice put out frequent updates?

    MW: schools. I’m not kidding.

  5. Two things I see: First, I think it’s better for the school to get G4’s rather than first-generation MacBooks (or whatever the new Intel consumer laptops will be called). They’re 7th and 8th graders, not power-users, and there could be some glitches with new models.

    Second, it’s great that they’ll have NeoOffice instead of microbloat office, but doesn’t NeoOffice put out frequent updates?

    MW: schools. I’m not kidding.

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