Maine iBook Program A Smashing Success

Wonderful news. All the nay-sayers were able to get the $50 million initiative down to $37 million, but they weren’t able to stop it from going forward, and now every seventh and eight grader in Maine has a laptop, and the effect has been astounding.

The New York Times article is decidedly upbeat, with one particularily good quote:

“We don’t have a pencil lab or put eight pencils in the middle of the room and have kids take turns using them, Computers are tools, and when every child in every school has one, it levels the playing field.”

So many schools do have “pencil labs”: at Foothill we had 1 or 2 computers per classroom — very useful. Our mobile lab had enough computers such that there was one per two students, and precariously balancing them on tiny desks inevitably led to breakage.

In Maine they told the children to take the computer and make it their own, to respect it and use it and take it home and bring it to school every day like a binder or a notebook. But this is the best notebook these students have ever had — one that is interactive and can access the internet wirelessly and lets you email your assignments to the teacher. Give the kids the tools they need, and the results can be astounding.