Maine was first in the nation to supply each each Maine seventh and eighth grader with an Apple MacBook laptop. Now the state is negotiating five options for its next Maine Learning Technology Initiative contract. Two new options include computer tablets for the first time.Jeff Mao, the Maine Department of Education's learning technology policy director, tells the Lewsiton Sun-Journal, 'the last time we did a bid, nobody made them, they didn't exist yet.' Mao adds, 'I think there's still a lot of folks who are comfortable with what laptops do, understand them.' He also added 'there's also a lot of folks who are looking at tablets and saying, this is the way of the future.'

The five bids they are choosing from are: the Apple iPad, Apple MacBook Air, Hewlett Packard ProBook, Hewlett Packard ElitePad and CTL Classmate PC Netbook. Apple iPads came in with the lowest price at $217 per machine. The other choices range from $250 to $300.

State officials are due to pick the winning lease option in the next few weeks.

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