Thousands of Maine high school students will receive new laptops this fall through an expansion of the Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI). The Maine Department of Education announced it has placed an order for more than 64,000 MacBooks for students and faculty in grades 7 through 12, and will place an additional order for up to 7,000 more laptops in the coming weeks.
MLTI has provided Apple notebook computers to all Maine middle school students since 2002 – making Maine the first and only state with a statewide implementation of laptops for every student. The high school expansion will mark the world’s largest educational technology program of its kind, once again putting Maine at the leading edge in using technology to support education.
“We have seen incredible success with our middle schools showing increased student engagement and achievement with MLTI in place and we want to bring this same opportunity to our high schools,” said Maine Education Commissioner Sue Gendron, in the press release. “This is not just about technology – it’s about using the technology to support education. Apple has been a great partner and consistently demonstrates that it understands the need to provide a complete solution that puts education first. We’re very excited about the new school year.”
“The state of Maine has been working with Apple notebooks for the last seven years to help enrich middle school students’ learning environment,” said John Couch, Apple’s vice president of Education, in the press release. “The MacBook’s compact, durable design is perfect for learning in and out of the classroom, and includes the world’s most advanced operating system as well as Apple’s innovative iLife and iWork suite of applications.”
The laptop package provided by Apple includes a wide array of educational software, professional development, repair and replacement and technical support. In addition to learning how to use technology, students do research, write and edit, conduct online simulations, take online tutorials – just a few examples of the ways in which the technology is incorporated into classrooms every day. The high school expansion is an extension of an existing contract with Apple, which competed for and won both MLTI contracts to date.
Gendron said the MacBook is an excellent tool that supports MLTI’s focus on 21st century skills. “The educational solution supports the expectations of today’s work environment – creativity, imagination, innovation, problem-solving,” Gendron said. “The MacBook is durable, flexible, and goes with students to all points of learning.”
“This expansion is helping Maine close the digital divide,” said Jeff Mao, director of learning technology for the Maine Department of Education, in the press release. “About 2,000 public high school students in Maine attended high schools with laptops for all students this year. Next fall, the number will be 22,000 to 28,000.”
“MLTI continues to focus on using technology to improve student achievement in all content areas,” Mao said. “Teachers are helping students achieve Maine’s Learning Results standards and we are helping teachers leverage the technology and the Internet to improve instruction.”
Gendron is president-elect of the Council of Chief State School Officers, comprised of the education commissioners from all 50 states. She has served as education commissioner in Maine since March 2004.
For more information on the Maine Learning Technology Initiative, visit www.maine.gov/mlti.
MacDailyNews Take: Looks like graduates of Maine’s public schools will never have to do windows.
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