March 15, 2013

Out with laptops, in with iPads? Maine schools mull switch

By Michael Shepherd mshepherd@mainetoday.com
State House Bureau

(Continued from page 1)

Today's poll: School laptops

Should the Department of Education replace Apple laptops with iPads for the next genera­tion of middle school students?

Yes

No

View Results

click image to enlarge

State officials say iPads would be less expensive than laptops and believe they are powerful enough to meet requirements. There are drawbacks though, some say, like typing on the screen.

2012 Press Herald file/John Patriquin

Connerty-Marin said, "the cost reflects a lot more than just the hardware." He said the price includes repairs, professional development, software and wireless network installation where it's needed, among other things.

He said the contract is written so other states could join in on buying laptops later. Negotiating in conjunction with other states provides better prices and adds the option for professional development between states.

Currently, Connerty-Marin said there are 30,000 laptops in grades seven and eight for which the state pays the cost. Another 25,000 are in just over half of Maine high schools where school districts elected to share the costs with the state. Teachers have another 15,000 laptops, he said.

At the end of this school year -- the final year of the current contract -- Connerty-Marin said schools will be able to purchase the MacBooks for $47 each. Many schools elect to use those for students in lower grades. Excess laptops, he said, will be sold through the Maine State Agency for Surplus Property.

-- Staff Writer Dennis Hoey contributed to this report.

State House Bureau Writer Michael Shepherd can be reached at 370-7652 or at:

mshepherd@mainetoday.com

Twitter: @mikeshepherdme

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Today's poll: School laptops

Should the Department of Education replace Apple laptops with iPads for the next genera­tion of middle school students?

Yes

No

View Results