Maine distributes laptops to high schoolers

Posted Sept. 03, 2009, at 10:35 a.m.

FARMINGDALE, Maine — The first state-issued Apple MacBooks are being handed out to high schoolers Thursday in Maine as the state expands the laptop program.

Maine put a computer on the lap of each seventh- and eighth-grader in 2002 and 2003, and state officials hoped to get 100 percent participation from high schools this fall.

Education technology coordinator Jeff Mao says the state fell short of that goal largely because of the short window of opportunity for high schools to sign on over the summer. Nonetheless, he says the 63,000 laptops being distributed this fall still represents the biggest program of its kind in the nation.

All seventh- and eighth-graders in public schools will get new laptops, as will students in slightly more than half of the state’s 119 high schools.