Maine Aims To Create A Buyers' Collective

column | Policy and Government

Maine Aims To Create A Buyers' Collective

Dec 5, 2012

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 obligedto 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:

" and services to empower a wireless student-centered, digital learning environment that provides students with learning technology on a 1:1 (one machine per student/teacher) basis."

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?

The MLTI has adopted and promoted two models to guide teacher practice and the integration of technology into instruction and learning. These models are Technological, Pedagogical, Content Knowledge (TPCK) by Drs. Punya Mischra and Matthew Koehler and Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, Redefinition (SAMR)by Dr. Ruben Puentedura (in audio form and in slide form). Bidders must describe the tools and functionalities included in the solution and their anticipated use in light of these models.

Happy reading!

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