Illinois taps Gateway laptops

Gateway has landed a $2.2 million pact to provide laptop PCs and support services to school districts in Illinois.

The agreement with the Illinois State Board of Education focuses on Gateway’s M285 convertible laptop products. A convertible laptop has a pivoting display that allows people to use it as a tablet PC. The Gateway laptops will support the state’s Technology Immersion Pilot Project, which seeks to provide students with laptop computers equipped with science and math tutorials and software for word processing, note taking and creating spreadsheets.

The pilot project will also include professional development training for teachers and technical assistance for developing a school-based laptop computer network, according to Gateway.

Vin Riera, Gateway’s vice president of government sales, said the Illinois project is comparable in scale to a test program in South Dakota. In May, South Dakota’s Education Department announced that 20 school districts will be test sites for the Classroom Connections project. Gateway is providing convertible laptops on that project, too. Riera said the project is worth $5 million.

In Illinois, Gateway will provide laptops to five school districts. Teachers and sixth-graders will receive them.

Riera said he believes the company will extend the programs to a broader base of school systems if the initial deployments go as the states expect.

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