One-fourth of the high-schools in Maine have opted to use local money to provide Apple iBooks to their first-year students.

According to Maine Today, those students lacking iBooks are split, with some claiming that they are glad to be rid of the iBooks that an education programme had furnished them with in the eighth and ninth grade.

Some students claimed the laptops slowed them down, others that they often froze or worked at a "glacial pace" when online. According to the report the biggest complaint was that the teachers were unable to operate the computers.

Those 'miss-you' Macs

Other students miss their laptops. "I found it easier to have something check my spelling," said one.

Tony Sprague, project leader for the Maine Learning Technology Initiative said that between 1,000 and 2,000 of the laptops were found to have a defective motherboard. Apple is replacing these free of charge.

Waterville technology integration specialist Mike Quinn is confident that students' opinion of the iBooks will improve over time as teachers get more time to adapt and take advantage of the laptop's powerful abilities.

He said: "What one-on-one computing brings to the classroom is hard to bring across to staff. It entails a change in the teaching philosophy. I don't think they can grasp it yet."