The Portland Press-Herald is reporting that Steve Jobs has been touring Maine. Appleis CEO was invited to see some of the Maine schools that are part of the statewide purchase of Apple iBooks for 7th and 8th graders throughout the state. The invitation was extended by Maine governor Angus King, the man who has championed the stateis iBook program from the beginning.
The Maine iBook program was first announced last year, and signed into law in March of this year. The program then came under fire from legislators looking to deal with a US$180 million budget deficit for the state, but according to the Portland Press-Herald, that crisis has been temporarily averted.
Mr. Jobs spoke at one of the schools in the program about technology and the classroom, and visited with students to see some of the things they have created on their iBooks. From the Portland Press-Herald:
The Apple chief executive, who was invited to visit Maine before the latest budget problems, said that by replacing computer labs with much-needed classroom space, schools that provide laptops can actually save money.
But his remarks focused on benefits that are harder to quantify, noting that the laptops, their video capabilities in particular, have empowered kids and gotten them excited about learning, Jobs said.
"Because this is their medium, they are putting 10 times more time into the creation of self-expression," he said.
Before Jobsi speech, seventh-graders from the Maine demonstration schools showed off work from their white iBooks, including video poems and parts of a video documentary about the changing face of Maine industry.
The article also says that Apple offered the state a significant discount to secure the deal:
King has previously said that Apple in effect provided a $15 million contribution to the program by providing the laptops, networking and support at a discount.
Jobs agreed that the contract to provide computers to Maine students "was one that we decided we just couldnit lose."
There is additional information in the full article at the Portland Press-Herald.