Friday, December 6, 2013
In May, school officials across Maine feared they would not get new laptops and tablets in time for this school year, since Gov. Paul LePage had delayed awarding the new program contracts by several weeks.
Andy Wallace, technical director for the South Portland School system, has his team working on readying more than 1,500 iPads for the city's students.
Portland Press Herald photo by John Ewing
But school technology officials now say the roll-out by Apple and Hewlett-Packard has been impressively fast and problem-free.
“I’m amazed that (Apple) got this stuff out to all of the state with the time frame they had,” said Crystal Pierce, technology coordinator in School Administrative District 4, which covers Guilford and five other towns and received 394 iPads. “Just the logistics of running around the state and putting in 200 or 300 new networks and getting the right equipment in and training done in next to no time is just amazing.”
In SAD 75, which consists of Topsham and three other towns, Apple delivered 1,250 MacBook Airs for middle and high school students and their teachers.
“We’re just waiting for cases for our middle school students’ devices,” said the district’s technology director, Kerry Gallivan. “Everything else is ready to go.”
Things also have gone smoothly for Scarborough Middle School, one of the 33 Maine schools that are using HP ProBooks, apart from some network printing issues, said Scarborough’s director of information systems, Jennifer Nitchman.
“It’s a testament to the team here at (the Maine Department of Education) and to the commitment of both HP and Apple to seeing (the Maine Learning Technology Initiative) be successful that less than four months after Maine first announced the next generation of this program, tens of thousands of students across the state are firing up new devices,” said education department spokeswoman Samantha Warren in a written statement. “Lost in the conversation about network costs and who ordered how many of what is that Maine is making an incredible investment in all of our students by giving them equal access to technology they’ll need to be successful in college and the workforce.”