The contracts stipulate a warranty repair process where students won’t be without a computer for more than a day, as well as professional development for teachers. Wireless networking and no-fault insurance also are available at extra cost.
In Vermont, where about 100 out of 308 of public schools are doing some kind of one-to-one program with computers, the state decided to provide a computer contract that would be optional for schools wishing to expand the use of technology in classrooms, said Peter Drescher, education technology coordinator.
Hawaii is waiting for Maine to complete its master contract before starting its own negotiations, said Stephanie Shipton, portfolio manager at the Office of Strategic Reform at the Hawaii Department of Education. Hawaii plans adopt a comprehensive strategy that integrates the digital devices with a statewide core curriculum, Shipton said.
Back in 2000, then-Maine Gov. Angus King said that providing laptops to all students, regardless of means, would help eliminate the so-called “digital divide” between rich and poor kids. In 2002 and 2003, more than 30,000 laptops had been distributed to seventh- and eighth-graders and to 3,000 teachers in Maine.
Late Apple CEO Steve Jobs wanted so badly to be part of the program that the company took a loss on the contract, King said.
The state currently pays $18 million to $19 million for the computers, Mao said.
Maine is eager to have more state join in. With more states, there’s the possibility of collaboration on curricula, state standards, and strategies for integrating technology in classrooms, Mao said.