Another US school is to get its hands on an assignment of Apple notebooks.

Sixth-graders (10-11 year-olds) at Cahaba Heights Community School in Alabama will each get their own iBook in a pilot program organised by the Vestavia Hills Board of Education. The board says the program is aimed at improving learning.

In an agreement with Apple, the Vestavia Hills system will pay $127,000 over the next three years to lease 75 iBook laptops. The money also will cover related software and training.

The school system's director of technology Chris Freeman told USA Today: "We can't wow them anymore with coloured pens and dry-erase boards."

Freeman said the school system will absorb the cost of any lost or broken laptops during the pilot program, but he doesn't anticipate that this will be necessary. "Apple research shows that students take a lot of pride in their equipment, and the vandalism rate is less than 1 per cent. To the kids, it's like gold," he said.

Cahaba Heights Community School principal Mark Kirkemier said: "Under such programs students get involved in the lesson more readily than the traditional sense, and there is a correlation between student engagement and student achievement."