Maine, the only state in the country who provides laptops to each and every student within its public schools, has chosen Hewlett Packard to be its preferred vendor under the Maine Learning Technology Initiative. Now, more than 70,000 students will use a Hewlett Packard ProBook 4440 running Windows 8 software statewide in middle schools and high schools alike.
Over a decade ago in 2001, Maine’s Department of Education partnered with Apple to form and implement the Maine Learning Technology Initiative. The initiative, or MLTI, was founded in order to provide professional development for teachers and technology tools for students in order to utilize technology in the classroom to its full potential. Apple has been the sole supplier of Macbooks since that time in the state’s one-to-one program — that is, until Microsoft Education and HP made a bid and came on board.
HP pitched the MLTI back in April to get them to adopt their products, and it worked. HP laptops paired with Microsoft operating systems proved an enticing combination to administrators price-wise, and Microsoft Education had
some strong selling points that ultimately convinced school leaders. Microsoft Education CEO Cameron Evans pointed out that while Maine educators may be accustomed to Apple products, HP’s in fact provides the same tools Apple has and more. Evans also noted that many entrepreneurs prefer a Windows operating system. Microsoft and HP met with officials and representatives from school districts, committing to supplying laptops and tablets to Maine students for the long haul.
School administrators can still choose to buy Apple products for their classrooms, but HP laptops will likely be the cheaper option at $254 per unit, according to Bloomberg.
“It is important that our students are using technology that they will see and use in the workplace,” said Governor Paul R. LePage in a press release. “This is the lowest-priced proposal, and the laptops use an operating system that is commonly used in the workplace in Maine. These laptops will provide students with the opportunity to enhance their learning and give them experience on the same technology and software they will see in their future careers.”
Educators, administrators, and IT professionals, what types of hardware and operating systems do you prefer in your classrooms? Share your thoughts in the comments below, or with us on Twitter to @Technapex or @ce_doyle.