“One after another, the gleaming white covers of the 64 iBook laptop computers arrayed on the horseshoe of tables are flipped open, waiting to be configured for use by technology specialists,” David Jesse reports for The Ann Arbor News (Michigan).
“A few feet away, a growing pile of Styrofoam packing material climbs toward the ceiling as sparkling eMacs are pulled out of boxes, one after the other,” Jesse reports. “The eMacs are destined for classrooms and computer labs around Ann Arbor’s Pioneer High School, while the laptops are headed for big carts that store more than 30 of the iBooks and can be used in any classroom.”
“The more than 700 computers unpacked last fall at Pioneer High School are among the 900 iBooks, 1,140 eMacs and 60 specialized workstations purchased last summer,” Jesse reports. “Not everything has gone smoothly, though. The district recently learned it should not have used more than $1 million of bond money to buy software, so the district had to transfer money out of its capital needs fund to cover those purchases. Also, budget problems forced the district to reduce the amount of space covered by wireless networks in various schools. District officials said those are minor concerns. The technology bond is fulfilling its mission of updating the technology across the district, said Peter Ways, the district’s acting administrator for technology.”
“‘The kids are living in a multi-media world. We need to provide them with all the tools. Adults in education today are digital immigrants. Kids are digital natives,’ Ways said,” Jesse reports. “
Full article here.
Meanwhile, in a separate article also published today, Jesse reports, “The decision to purchase Apple Computers with Ann Arbor Public School’s technology bond was never approved by the school board. Instead, administrators sent a letter to Apple, telling the company it had been selected over Dell and Hewlett-Packard five days before a school board committee got its first briefing on the bids from the three companies. The letter was sent in 2004, prior to the public vote on the issue and said the award was contingent on the bond being passed.”
Jesse reports, “That award has turned out to be worth more than $11 million to Apple, which in turn has provided a company employee to work in the district, along with trips to California and Chicago for Ann Arbor administrators.”
“The school board has approved each individual purchase from Apple – including the last $3 million purchase last summer – under the overarching proposal from Apple,” Jesse reports.
Jesse reports, “Superintendent Todd Roberts, who replaced George Fornero in July, believes the district followed correct procedure in awarding Apple the work. ‘I don’t see any issues based on the information I’ve had people dig up,’ he said. ‘I wanted to see in writing that there was an RFP (Request For Proposal) put out and there was. And I wanted to see something written in communication to the board and there was. It certainly appears to me that the board was on board with going with Apple.'”
Jesse reports, “”In the actual RFP that was eventually issued, the district said it was looking ‘to provide Intel manufacturers and Apple Computer Inc. an opportunity to provide the AAPS with information to upgrade all computers with a more current and up-to-date model computer and current operating system. The Ann Arbor Public Schools has been a multi-platform school district with the majority of instructional computers being various models of Apple Macintosh computers. The business classes at the High Schools and some administrative offices have used Intel-based PCs. The district desires to evaluate the costs of current and alternative platform choices to insure taxpayer funds are being well spent, particularly in light of the planned investments.'”
Full article here.
[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Paul J” for the heads up.]