Commissioner’s Update – March 29, 2012

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This week, we’re highlighting examples of work in which students have found something they’re passionate about, and used the resources available to them in school to pursue it — with impressive results.

At the Middle School of the Kennebunks, students have combined lessons from art, math, science and English as they gradually redesign every room of The Nonantum Resort on a tight budget and with environment-friendly principles in mind. The students’ Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI) laptops come in handy for planning the design, comparing prices, making purchases, and publicizing their work.

In Waterville last Friday, 250 eighth-grade girls attended Future Focus, where they learned about the careers of 50 women who have pursued a variety of career paths. To start the day, the eighth graders heard from Hannah Potter, a Yarmouth High School senior who used her MLTI laptop to connect her classmates with students in Iraq. On Friday, Hannah used Skype to connect the 250 eighth-grade girls with an Iraqi friend so they could discuss what they have in common — and the differences between life in Iraq and the United States.

And yesterday in Augusta, nearly 300 students from 24 schools participated in Maine History Day at the University of Maine at Augusta, where they confidently discussed the wide range of historical themes they had researched. They used documentaries, live performances, poster exhibits and other media to present their work.

Our students are using technology to do impressive work. In the process, they’re learning more because the technology is integrated in meaningful ways into every aspect of the curriculum — something that couldn’t be done without the help of teachers who know how to use technology to engage students and take their learning to a new level.

— Stephen Bowen


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Great view, plush pillows and a lean toward green

Students at the Middle School of the Kennebunks have used lessons from art, math, science and English to redesign guest rooms at The Nonantum Resort in Kennebunkport on a shoestring budget and with environment-friendly principles in mind. The students’ Maine Learning Technology Initiative laptops have proven critical to their efforts. | More

Two girls work in a chemistry lab with their hands in a gooey, yellow substance.Event lets girls focus on future

Eighth-grade girls from four central Maine middle schools converged on Colby College last Friday for Future Focus, a daylong event that put the girls in contact with 50 women who told the students about the careers they’ve chosen and how they got there. In some cases, the girls got to experience the jobs for themselves. By Charlie Hartman | More

A student explains his Maine History Day exhibit.Maine History Day brings nearly 300 students to UMA

Students from 24 middle and high schools showed off exhibits, performances, websites, documentaries and other projects exploring a broad variety of historical themes at the 2012 Maine History Day at the University of Maine at Augusta. See photos from the event. | More

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