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For Immediate Release – January 7, 2002
Maine and Apple Sign Historic Contract for Maine Middle School Computer Initiative
Apple to equip 33,000 students and 3000 teachers with iBook notebook computers, wireless networks, training, and technical support in order to transform teaching and learning through the Maine Learning Technology Initiative.
The contract is believed to be the largest single purchase ever of personal educational technology.
Education Commissioner J. Duke Albanese called the occasion “truly historic,” noting that this is the first initiative of this kind attempted by any state. “This program will not just diminish the digital divide, it will eliminate it for middle school students here in Maine. Apple has an impressive track record in understanding and meeting the needs of educators in using technology to transform teaching and learning. We look forward to working with Apple to change the face of teaching and learning for the 21st century for our students here in Maine – and, if our initiative here in Maine succeeds to our full potential, then the effects will be evident in classrooms around the world.”
Maine’s initiative will include an ambitious program of professional development for teachers in the state’s 241 middle schools to assure the effective use of the new technology, as well as extensive, continuing technical support.
Governor Angus King lauded the completion of the deal, praising negotiators on both sides for creating a “unique collaboration that will take teaching and learning into the digital age, giving Maine students access to an unparalleled richness of learning opportunities, and teachers the powerful tools to facilitate them.” King also noted that Apple’s deep commitment to Maine’s first-in-the-nation venture would provide educational advantages that would yield considerable value for the State’s money.
"Student and teacher access to wirelessly networked portable computers has the potential to revolutionize education," said Cheryl Vedoe, Apple’s vice president of Education Marketing and Products. “Apple is ecstatic about the opportunity to work with the State of Maine on this groundbreaking initiative to deliver on the promise of one-to-one computing.”
The Department issued a request for proposals in September 2001 to provide a Maine Learning Technology Wireless Classroom Solution with portable, wireless computers, wireless networks, teacher training, and related services to equip all seventh and eighth grade students and teachers as provided by the plan for the Maine Learning Technology Endowment. The State’s selection team reviewed bids against pre-established criteria, including observation of existing school deployments by the top finalists. Albanese said that Maine’s request for proposals from bidders, and the subsequent scoring process, focused on the educational value of the solutions, and that Apple’s overall solution was best crafted to support the work that will take place in Maine classrooms.
Under the Maine learning technology plan approved by the Legislature last spring, all 7th grade students and teachers will be equipped with portable, wireless computers in the Fall of 2002, and both 7th and 8th grades will be equipped the following year. The initial middle school phase is part of a larger plan that would extend one-to-one technology access to all Maine high schools.
Albanese stated that the contract will be paid from the $30 million Maine Learning Technology Endowment already appropriated by the Legislature, and from the Maine School and Library Network. He indicated that the King administration will announce this week that some funds from the Endowment will be used to balance Maine’s current state budget deficit, but that remaining funds would be adequate to fully support the contract commitment made to Apple.
A more detailed summary of the terms of the contract is available on the website at http://www.state.me.us/mlte/Applestatus.htm.