New York Times Reports That Maine's iBook Initiative Is A Success

The New York Times has published a report that says Maineis iBook initiative is a success. Surprisingly, however, Appleis name didnit appear at all in the article, and the word "iBook" was only included twice. The initiative is program that puts iBooks into the hands of every 7th grade student this year, and then every 7th and 8th grade student next year. Maine is working directly with Apple in the initiative, and the Cupertino company is managing the computers, including support. From the Times: article:

Attendance is up. Detentions are down. Just six months after Maine began a controversial program to provide laptop computers to every seventh grader in the state, educators are impressed by how quickly students and teachers have adapted to laptop technology.

In a language arts class at Freeport Middle School, for example, muted howls could be heard recently as students researched projects related to Arctic stories, including "The Call of the Wild" by Jack London. Following Internet tracks created by their teacher, Janice Murphy, some students, inspired by the story, were researching wolves.

"Look," said Doug Hoover, 13, double-clicking on a wolf site. "Hereis a picture of the sound waves the wolf makes when it howls."

Here and at the 239 middle schools around the state, students, teachers and parents say they are finding unexpected benefits.

The Maine program is the only one of its kind in the country. While entire school systems have adopted Apple computers, Maineis statewide program is an attempt to bring computers to every child in the state, a goal touched on by the New York Times article:

Though an estimated 90 percent of the homes in Freeport, near Portland, have computers, the laptops go home with the students at night. "We needed to make sure that level playing field is extended to the home," Mr. Toy said. "Now, no oneis computer is better or faster."

That sense of equality is felt keenly in the stateis poor and remote schools. At the tiny elementary school in Pembroke, about 240 miles northeast of Portland in Washington County in the Down East region, children and teachers seem to be using the laptops as effectively as those in more affluent areas, the principal, Paula Smith, said. Washington County is the stateis poorest, and Ms. Smith estimated that perhaps 35 percent of her students had a computer at home.

As at other schools, she said, seventh graders seem more focused and less mischievous. Last year, Ms. Smith said she handed out about 30 detentions to Pembrokeis seventh and eighth graders. This year, there have been two.

There is much more information in the full article at the New York Times.

For more information on the program since its inception, check out TMOis extensive coverage: