updated 11:43 am EDT, Thu August 22, 2013
Meant to reduce 'one-size-fits all lecture formats and rote instruction'
Ames High School, located in Iowa, has announced plans to give each student in grades 9 through 12 an 11-inch MacBook Air for use during the 2013 school year. The deal with Apple covers 1,425 computers, and is estimated to be worth about $1.4 million. The Ames community school board offered program approval back in May; superintendent Tim Taylor says that the Airs will let teachers personalize instruction, cutting back on "one-size-fits all lecture formats and rote instruction."
To get an Air, students will have to pay a $25 deposit, and forego modifying software loadouts. If a machine is lost, damaged, or broken, students will typically have to pay $50 for a first incident, and $150 for a second. If a problem is attributed to "gross negligence" however, they may end up owing the full replacement cost, in excess of $1,000. Iowa State University will be monitoring the program and recommending improvements.
Although Apple is still invested in selling Macs to schools, in recent years the company has been pushing the iPad as its main educational offering. To support this, it has revamped iTunes U to handle complete courses, added textbooks to iBooks, and changed terms and conditions at the iTunes Store to allow Apple IDs for people under 13 as long as the ID was requested by a school.