Maine DOE provides free technology training for teachers

The Maine DOE is partnering with Common Sense Media to provide free workshops throughout the state this spring to help educators harness the positive power of technology.

Learning how to use media and technology wisely and safely is an essential skill for life and learning in the 21st century. The two workshops offered through the Department’s Maine Learning Technology Initiative will help educators guide students to think critically, act responsibly and interact positively in the digital world and to discover high quality resources. The hands-on sessions will be led by Common Sense Media experts and contact hours will be issued.

Skills To Help You Discover, Use, and Share Great Digital Tools for Learning Through Graphite will help educators use Graphite, a free service by Common Sense Media, to discover high quality apps, websites and games for students; evaluate the learning potential of these tools; curate tools into useful collections; innovate by reimagining lessons to seamlessly weave in technology using a framework called App Flows; and collaborate with other teachers by sharing best practices for using digital tools in the classroom.

The workshops are scheduled from 8 to 11 a.m. on April 1 at Freeport Middle School, April 10 at Mount View Middle School, April 15 at Bonny Eagle Central Office, April 20 at Woodland Jr Sr High School and May 5 at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School.

Making a Better World: Teaching Digital Citizenship and 21st Century Skills will provide educators an overview of free, research-based curriculum to help teach students safe, responsible and respectful participation in a digital world, while fostering 21st-century skills and meeting learning standards. The curriculum is available online as downloadable lessons, and as iBooks textbooks, with interactive activities, videos and assessments that can be downloaded to computers and tablets.

With students growing up in a digital world with potential for communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creation, session participants will consider how they can help students participate safely, responsibly and ethically in digital spaces. Workshop attendees will also learn about Digital Passport, a game-based interactive for students in grades 3-5 that teaches the “rules of the road” for digital citizenship, and how to engage families with the Connecting Families program.

The workshops are scheduled from noon to 3 p.m. on April 1 at Freeport Middle School, April 10 at Mount View Middle School, April 15 at Bonny Eagle Central Office, April 20 at Woodland Jr Sr High School and May 5 at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School.

For more information about the free workshops, visit www.maine.gov/mlti/events or click here to register. For more information about Common Sense Media, visit their website at www.commonsensemedia.org/.

One thought on “Maine DOE provides free technology training for teachers

  1. This comment is respectfully submitted to address an ongoing problem with English as a “living” language. First, let me say that language is a precious thing, as it allows us to communicate and record our thoughts accurately if properly used. It has become popular in the press and — sadly — among educators to misuse our word “technology” when in fact the words “tools” or “devices” are intended. There have been citations of “Technology’s Danger to Children” in the press. Your own opening paragraph infers free workshops “to help educators harness the positive power of technology.”

    As one who has used technology extensively, I would remind you that this word is derived from three Greek roots: “tek” (the onomatopoeic sound of two stones tekking together), “nai” (Greek for “yes, it is right” — a “high five” in the American vernacular) and “logos” (small drawings that carry meaning, such as the 26 letters of the English alphabet. By definition, “technology” can NEVER be a physical object. It is only the meaning of written words that explain how to correctly make an object. The most common technology in today’s life is the “recipes” we use in the kitchen — some recording how to re-create our great-grandmother’s famous cookies. In commercial use, we use “process specifications” as the technology to record and teach and ensure that each component, subassembly and end product is exactly the same and functions as it should.

    When we corrupt our language, by using the “T” word to infer objects and systems, such as today’s computer-based workstations and telephones and the networks that tie them together, then we lose its meaning entirely. It has become common to say that kids can access and encounter evil material by using technology. Or that technology mystifies us.

    We are eagerly trying to include the terms “engineering” and “technology” into our understanding of education, because indeed engineering (“the use of ingenuity”) is our most defining human trait, and technology (for example, “letters patent”) has been the means by which we have steadfastly advanced our technology and thus our safety, security, comfort and enjoyment of our planet (and others!).

    Please make every effort, as we begin to broaden our learning to include “STEM” concepts and the eagerness they bring to education, to properly and consistently use these “new” terms correctly — first, because we stand as leaders in education and should set the example, and second because words must retain their meanings in order that future texts remain readable.

    Nils Peter Mickelson, PE, CMfgT
    Maine Engineering Promotional Council
    Maine STEM Collaborative

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