Cobb County Georgia iBook Program Begins This Week

The Cobb County, Ga. School Districtis US$70 million laptop program is scheduled to start this week with teachers in four pilot schools receiving their computers and training, according to Atlanta TV station WXIA-TV.

Being called by Apple "one of the largest ever one-to-one computer learning initiatives" in the U.S., the contract calls for the initial deployment of 17,000 iBook to teachers and students at four pilot high schools. After training, the goal is to deploy the remaining 46,000 laptops to middle school students at other locations.

"The long term goal is to provide all our high school and middle school students with iBooks," Jay Dillon, Cobb County school Director of Communications, told TMO. "While we have an ambitious plan, we have no exact timeline for full implementation, but will begin later this month or in June with delivery of iBooks to teachers for their initial training."

Lassiter High School is one of the four that have already received iBooks and 16 of its teachers are currently in the middle of a training session currently going on at the school. The system is also equipping the four pilot schools with wireless connections before the start of the school year.

Mr. Dillon said the decision to go with Apple came after a long process that included visits to a number of other U.S. school districts who also use Macintosh computers.

"This is a arduous and rigorous search," he said. "We looked at other school districts around the U.S. and we learned a lot from them. They had support issues and issues related to software and we learned how we could do things better from their experiences."

In the end, Mr. Dillon said Cobb County chose Apple because price, performance and their overall plan made the most sense.

"Appleis proposal was far and away the superior proposal," he commented. "Apple had the best package of hardware, software, training and support at the best price. We feel like Apple has a lot of experience nationwide in the education market. Theyive handled this type of large scale implementation before. Weire confident in their ability to do this."