|Building a Statewide Infrastructure for Learning|
In 2001, Maine kicked off the Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI), the first statewide effort to provide students and educators across multiple grades with 24/7 access to personal learning devices. A joint task force convened by the governor and the state legislature assessed Maine’s education needs and the infrastructure that would be required for implementation of one-to-one computing, including hardware, software, internal and external school networks and servers, technical support, and educator professional development.
To be able to provide all aspects of the infrastructure to support worthwhile uses of technology for learning while staying within Maine’s budget parameters, the decision was made to focus the first phase of MLTI on middle school students.
Maine believes that its investment in technology for its middle school students has paid off: the state’s eighth-grade writing proficiency jumped 12% after statewide one-to-one implementation (Silvernail & Gritter, 2007). Laptop use has also been linked to gains on statewide mathematics tests and improved retention of science course material (Berry & Wintle, 2009; Silvernail & Bluffington, 2009).
Inspired by this success, Maine has expanded its laptop initiative to all students in grades 9–12. The state is committed to funding wireless Internet access in all Maine secondary schools and has negotiated discounts for districts to provide their students with laptops.
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