ORONO – As eighth graders, Tim Walsh and his classmates at Middle School of the Kennebunks designed eco-friendly hotel rooms for the Nonantum Resort in Kennebunkport.
Now, as a freshman at Kennebunk High School, Walsh has graduated from being a student involved with the Green Room Project to being a mentor for current eighth grade art students tackling the same assignment.
The project, currently in its sixth year, allows students to redesign hotel rooms each year using their Maine Learning Technology Initiative MacBook software, modest budgets, and green and innovative products.
As part of their publicity responsibilities, the eighth graders also create podcasts for the resort. During Walsh’s presentation at the 2012 MLTI Student Conference, audience members heard his podcast featuring The Clam Shack, a well-known seaside restaurant located near the hotel.
During the Green Project’s planning process, design students have the opportunity to visit the Apple store in Portland—yet they produce most of their work inside one room in the school’s art department.
“It’s not only a computer lab—it is a place where ideas are born,” Walsh said.
After passing a professional test, Walsh became an Apple Certified Associate in iWork Suite. As he moved up to high school, another team of eighth graders picked up where he left off working on the resort’s green renovations.
Each Wednesday afternoon, the freshman mentor and his eighth-grade mentees meet to discuss the Green Project in what Walsh calls a “real-life working environment.” He says none of this would be possible without MLTI laptops.
“The MacBook changes learning from pen and paper to an interactive technology environment,” Walsh said.
Middle school (and many high school) students statewide learn, communicate and share using software available to them through MLTI, such as iLife, Edmodo, Skype and iCloud.
Tim values the laptops for the experiences they have offered him, but he is constantly looking toward the future—the increasingly technological future. “I cannot help but think what an advantage all students would have if this (MLTI) program expanded,” Walsh said.