Project-based learning, digital storytelling, tools for YouTube, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), app development, and coding are just some of the newfound skills educators acquired at the 2016 Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI) Summer Institute last week.
“When you have a good project, you connect people with a purpose, and connecting people with ideas is a shareable project that is enduring,” Gary Stager told his group. The executive director of The Constructive Consortium was one of two keynote speakers and conducted one of the six breakout sessions, called strands.
Contrary to other conferences where participants attend a variety of breakout sessions, the MLTI Summer Institute uses a strand format which allows educators to focus on one topic across more than 16 hours of small group, hands-on work, with an expert instructor/facilitator. The goal is for educators to leave the Summer Institute with new ideas they can use in their classrooms in the fall.
The other keynote speaker and instructor at the institute was Lucy Gray, an Apple Distinguished Educator and consultant. Gray helped educators explore instructional uses of YouTube and explained how these tools are resources for formative assessment.
In the Multimedia Digital Storytelling strand, educators “did some hard fun,” according to instructor Ann Marie Quirion Hutton of Apple. In her strand, Hutton had digital literacy teachers use iMovie to create stop motion animation. Educators agreed that the problem solving task was both challenging and fun.
Other strands taught educators how to use KODU, other coding applications, and app development on Apple platforms. Erin Towns, Global Educator at Edward Little High School in Auburn, took her strand members across the globe using GIS.
“Maps are a way of looking at a lot of data and allowing students to visualize the stories that maps can tell,” Towns said. In her strand, math, social studies and science educators used GIS to map the finances of a dream road trip, the socio-economic history of the Katahdin region, and geology to name a few. The syllabus for this strand can be found here.
Towns’ students have seen firsthand the benefits of learning using GIS. They interjected themselves in a map of Auburn learning about crime, ultimately presenting their findings and suggested solutions to the Auburn Police Department.