May 20th 2002
By Mike Flaminio
Lewiston Maine's Sun Journal
reports in the two months since Auburn Middle School was chosen as a pilot school in the State of Maine's new program to provide a wireless laptop computer to every public school seventh-grader. More than 90 Auburn students and their teachers have received new Apple iBooks and the results have been impressive -- teachers, parents and kids are calling the program a huge success.
Six months ago, Auburn teacher Steven Williams' students would have drawn a poster and written a short speech for their social studies project. Last week, they created electronic presentations, complete with animation, sound effects and digital photographs.
"They pick it up so quickly," Williams told the Sun Journal. "They have no fear. It's amazing."
For hundreds of students and teachers taking part in the pilot program, Apple iBooks have become an integral part of life. Without the laptops, English teacher Linda Penley said, "I'd feel like I lost my right arm."
Science teacher Nicole Melcher told the Sun Journal she was skeptical of the plan to give laptops to seventh-graders when it was first proposed. Now she is a believer.
"They have blown my mind," she said.
However, not all is well with the program. Budget measures needed to support the program have yet to be fully passed by the state's legislators.
If you're a Maine resident, take a few minutes and write your legislators to show your support for the program. You can locate House members' e-mail addresses here and Senators' e-mail addresses here.
Analysis: It's good to see this program progressing so well, which is in stark contrast in many respects to the ridiculous problems being encountered by a similar in programVirginia.
I wonder if Maine students and teachers will get updated iBooks? There's probably a clause in the contract that calls for just that.