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Today and tomorrow, the first shipments of Apple iBook notebook computers will arrive at nine Maine middle schools. These schools, one in each region of the state, were selected to be Demonstration/Exploration Schools to receive an advance deployment of computers, in order to serve as learning laboratories and training sites for teacher professional development, as well as to test the technical reliability of the equipment. The shipments will total 675 iBooks, enough to equip several classrooms of seventh grade students at each school. Teacher training for the selected teachers will occur during the week of March 11. It is anticipated that the actual distribution of iBooks to the first students will occur following teacher training, during the week of March 18.
The nine exploration schools are: Skyway Middle School, Presque Isle; Lyman Moore Middle School, Portland; Conners-Emerson School, Bar Harbor; Maranacook Community Middle School, Readfield; Boothbay Region Elementary School, Boothbay; Piscataquis Community Middle School, Guilford; Auburn Middle School, Auburn; Pembroke Elementary School, Pembroke; Shapleigh Middle School, Kittery.
The demonstration schools are geographically spread across Maine based on the state’s nine school superintendents’ regions. They represent a range of school size and composition, including classrooms in several K-8 schools. As part of their commitment, demonstration schools will be open for other districts to visit for an average of one day per week, and schools will share experiences and student products with visiting teachers from the region and at regional and state conference sessions.
Maine’s Learning Technology Initiative is the most ambitious program of its kind in the world, aiming to make Maine the first in the nation to deploy universal personal access to learning technology for all seventh and eighth grade students and teachers statewide. In December 2001, the Department signed a four-year, $37.2 million contract with Apple to provide notebook computers, wireless networks, servers, technical support and maintenance, and teacher training for 36,000 7th and 8th grade students and teachers in Maine. The remaining 230 middle schools in the state will receive wireless iBooks in August 2002.