Maine High School Freshmen Return to Pen and Paper

The majority of eighth graders in Maine who received iBooks across the state as part of a new laptop initiative last year have had to go without them this year, as only a quarter of high schools in the state could afford to extend the program to their schools. As the Morning Sentinel reports, however, most students donit miss the iBooks.

Many students who had to give up their iBooks at the end of their eight grade school year say the laptops slowed them when they had to take Maineis Education Assessment test, and complained that often times in class they performed slugishly or locked up. The biggest complain, though, centered on the teachers themselves, who students say often had to receive instruction in class from a pupil on how to operate the iBook.

"I donit think any of them really knew how to use them," freshman Reana Michaud told the Sentinel, "and they would often use them for stuff that was useless.

Maineis school districts were also hit by the iBook Logic Board issue, which forced 1,000 to 2,000 of the iBooks to be sent in to Apple to receive the free repair.

Not all students disliked the program, however. "I may be fairly good with my words, but I screw up a lot," one student said, "so I found it easier to have something check my spelling." He also noted that his handwriting is sometimes difficult to read and that typing proved faster than writing by hand.

Administrators admit some difficulties and challenges have been encountered, especially with training teachers, but remain optimistic of the programis benefits.

"You are talking about a paper society trying to become an electronic society and crossing that line is something we have to do," Mike Quinn, technology integration specialist at Waterville said. "I think that is absolutely essential, but there was no way the state could cover everything."