A MAINE-LY LEAD: The bicentennial quarter of Maine features
an image of the Pemaquid Point Lighthouse, whose shining beacon guides ships navigating the treacherous Atlantic
waters. That's relevant in education, too: for the past decade, Maine has steadily implemented a 1:1 computing program
in its schools, starting with its middle school students. (Here's a copy of Maine's state learning technology plan. ) By one
estimate, next year Maine will likely have more computing devices than
it has students in grades K-12.
Now the news: the state of Maine is proposing effectively a buyers' cooperative for state governments purchasing education technology. Any state that joins (via NASPO, or the National Association of State Procurement Officials) is not obliged to
buy anything--but by teaming up, the states pump up their buying clout
and so can be stronger negotiators when dealing with vendors.
Vermont, Hawaii and Montana are already onboard.
Maine has already shown it can wring good deals from the likes of Apple for hardware/software packages. (Back in 2009. the state got four-year contracts for Apple laptops including four years of software upgrades for about $580 per device.)
In its Request for Proposal, Maine says it wants:
There are plenty of devils in the details. For instance, states located geography close together may want to and so share a repair center--and so save costs. Alternatively, startup companies may find the RFP daunting; their best move may be to contract with the larger organizations to become part of a comprehensive solution.
Got questions? You can send 'em in until Dec. 12 (5 pm ET). Proposals are due on Jan. 11. And the last piece of advice from Maine?