As you receive this, 1,000 students and 200 educators along with their Apple MacBooks are at the University of Maine showcasing how State-supplied technology is transforming learning and better preparing them for success in their classroom, career and civic life as part of the 10th Annual Maine Learning Technology Initiative Student Conference.
The event engages students as presenters or participants in a day of science, technology, engineering and mathematics focused workshops, and encourages high aspirations by facilitating what for many is their first visit to a post-secondary institution.
In addition to presentations from conference collaborators including Maine DOE and Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI), Apple, UMaine, New England School of Communications and educators from schools across the state, several Maine students will lead sessions, including Yuval Boss, a senior at Orono High School, Julia Bluhm, a freshman at Maine Central Institute in Pittsfield, Izzy Labbe, a freshman at Waterville High School and those from Reeds Brook Middle School in Hampden.
As the conference celebrates its 10th anniversary, it is exciting to see how technology and more importantly, our use of it to support student-centered learning, has evolved.
MLTI is evolving as well. As you may have heard, this is the final conference where students will have Apple technology exclusively in hand. Under a new MLTI contract currently being negotiated, the Microsoft Windows 7-based Hewlett Packard ProBook 4440 that students are more likely to see in the workplace will be the preferred technology and learning solution paid for by the State. The powerful potential of that Microsoft software will be spotlighted in one of today’s conference breakout sessions.
Schools will, however, have choice in selecting alternative solutions to that HP laptop, including an HP tablet, Apple’s iPad or MacBook Air, or a CTL Windows laptop with the State covering the cost of those alternatives up to the amount of the HP laptop proposal.
Since the State has announced the selection of the new preferred provider as well as the expanded options for local choice, we’ve heard from schools sticking with Apple and those eager to embrace the new devices we’re making available. Regardless of the solution they select, schools are excited about the chance for choice and to see the State’s continued commitment to MLTI which we see as an integral part of the Department’s strategy to achieving the new Common Core State Standards, as well as implementing new proficiency-based learning systems.
Work is already underway to continue the State’s long-standing relationship with Apple and to welcome Hewlett Packard to the MLTI family as we all collaborate to continuing to support schools’ learning goals. To assist schools with their questions and help with the transition, MLTI is hosting numerous district roadshows for school staff to attend in person (more information to follow). Additionally, we hosted two informational webinars last week to share information about the devices, networking, software and professional development offerings. If you missed them, a link to a recording of those webinars is on the MLTI deployment website at www.mlti.org/deployment/.
We look forward to working closely with our partners in the field in making it matter for the students, educators and community of Maine and in helping educators deploy the next generation of the MLTI solution. And, we can’t wait to see what innovative learning our students will have to show us at next year’s MLTI Student Conference.