Ames High School in Iowa equips students with 1,425 11-inch MacBook Air units

Ames High School students say they can hardly wait for school to start next week. That’s because their school supplies include more than sharp pencils and crisp, clean notebooks. This year, every student at Ames High School has an 11-inch MacBook Air laptop. The laptops are stocked with computing power and software to give students tools to learn and develop the higher-order thinking skills they’ll need for a lifetime.

The Ames Community school board voted in May to approve the $1.4 million initiative.

Luke Smith and Gony Bijiek, both in 11th grade, took a test drive on Wednesday during the student and parent orientation for the initiative. Bijiek said he’s looking forward to ramping up the quality of his school projects. Smith said he wants to take advantage of the MacBook Air’s processing power and software for art and drawing classes.

Karl Hehr, the district’s Director of Technology Services, said the students’ enthusiasm is one reason he’s not calling the initiative a “1:1 program.”

“We call it a 21st Century Learning Initiative,” he said in a statement. “The computer is a state-of-the art tool that’s part of a larger framework for the way students and teachers work together.”

There’s no magic in a computing device, Hehr said to parents and students. “The magic is in giving students and teachers the tools they need to create, collaborate and communicate.”

Superintendent Tim Taylor said the Ames Community School District isn’t the first one to offer 1:1 computing devices to its students.

“But it’s the largest initiative in Iowa that we know of,” he said. Ames High School has approximately 1,400 students.

“This is one of the proudest moments for me since the community passed the school bond referendum last year,” Taylor said.

Hehr said it’s the district’s goal to make the technology program one of the best in the nation. Iowa State University will be conducting research on the initiative and giving feedback on how to improve it, he said.

“We’re also breaking ground in that we’re asking for feedback from parents, not just students,” he said.

For more information on the 21st Century Learning Initiative, click here and here.

Source: Ames Community School District

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “propriospatial” for the heads up.]

21 Comments

    1. Ames is the home of Iowa State University of Science and Technology, and Story County is decidedly blue. While it’s true that Iowa is a fairly conservative state, it’s not monolithic. The state senate has a Democratic majority, the junior senator Tom Harkin is a Democrat, and the state went for Obama in 2012.

    1. Wrong! Chromebooks would have been a better option. Chromebooks are far less expensive than Surface RTs and besides, Google practically runs the internet. Doesn’t anyone at that school realize the price of a MacBook Air. They could have gotten three or four Chromebooks for every one MacBook Air. Administrators need to learn to think with their wallets and not their hearts. Every time a school purchases a batch of Apple devices you can almost hear a tremor in the Force. Stop the madness. Chromebooks are our nation’s future.

      /s

      1. A better option? You have got to be shi##ing. And do what with them? Online Google online apps? Run Windows 8? Chrome OS? The MacBook Air is maybe the finest laptop ever produced, and they won’t require a sea of IT people (and their costs) to set them up and keep them running securely.

    2. If wasn’t sarcasm, and you honestly enjoy torturing your children, you need relocate to the Los Angeles Unified School District, Atlanta Public Schools, Fresno Unified School District, and Detroit Country Day School and get your wish.

    1. Only 3,000 MBAs? No wonder why I’ve been seeing all these cheery articles saying that Mac sales are collapsing due to the abundance of Android tablets. Apple’s going to have convince 1,000 more schools to do the same thing if the Mac product line is to survive.

      /s

      1. Well the Corporation I work for is rapidly getting rid of PC’s and replacing them with Macs. Very few people here don’t have a Mac. I don’t believe a Chrome Book or an Android tablet is going to replace desktop PC’s in the office any time soon, but Macs seem to be doing quite well judging from my vantage point.

  1. My kids’ school is doing the same. Although not as big a deployment (grades 5 through 12, some 800 students), but every kid is getting one (or has already received one during the summer). MBAs will contain standard Apple software, plus some additional educational titles, and for older grades, admin access will be allowed.

    My older (entering 8th grade now) has already been doing Keynote presentations and iMovie productions on classroom and library iMacs (as well as on our home Macs), but now she’ll have her own MBA and she can’t wait.

    Smart schools know what is best value for the money, as well as what is best for the children.

  2. Our school district just got rid of all the Macs and bought PC laptops of some kind. The track pads are so bad the district had to buy mice for them. Some people never learn. Penny wise, pound foolish.

    1. Time to fire your School Board members and get new ones who can appreciate spending the local taxpayer’s money wisely. My local school district is the same way, piss away our money one what their “IT Experts” suggest without doing some basic research. It will never end!!

  3. My son got one of these. It’s pretty nice. He already had a 13″ MacBook Air at home. With the new Intel chip though, the battery life will be much better on this new 11-inch.

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