AUGUSTA, Maine – Thousands of Maine students will be firing up Hewlett Packard laptop computers when school starts this fall, the governor’s office announced Saturday.

The Maine Department of Education announced Friday that Hewlett Packard was awarded the contract in the Maine Learning Technology Initiative’s latest bid process, according to a press release.

The Hewlett Packard ProBook 4440 running Windows 8 software will be made available as the primary technology and learning solution as part of the initiative.

“It is important that our students are using technology that they will see and use in the workplace,” said Gov. Paul LePage. “This is the lowest-priced proposal, and the laptops use an operating system that is commonly used in the workplace in Maine. These laptops will provide students with the opportunity to enhance their learning and give them experience on the same technology and software they will see in their future careers.”

The Maine Learning Technology Initiative is an integral part of the department’s strategy to achieve the new Common Core State Standards, as well as implement new proficiency-based learning systems, according to Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen.

“It’s about how we use technology to enhance student learning by giving students access to tools that will be used for creativity, to access content and to allow them to communicate and collaborate with peers around the world,” he said in the press release. “MLTI devices are as good as the teaching that goes with them. Laptops and the tremendous resources they allow students to access are a part of how we engage students in their learning and make that learning relevant.”

While the Hewlett Packard laptop proposal is the state’s primary solution, LePage said in the release that middle schools would be able to choose any of the five proposals awarded through a competitive bidding process and the state would cover the cost up to the amount of the HP proposal. At the high school level, where districts pay for the devices themselves with the support of state targeted technology funds, the state will leverage its buying power to get the lowest price possible on any of the solutions.

The five proposals come from three vendors: Hewlett Packard, which also was awarded for a tablet solution; Apple, which proposed both an iPad and a MacBook Air laptop solution; and CTL, with a Windows laptop solution.