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Orono – More than 1200 middle and high school students from schools across Maine gathered today at the University of Maine at Orono for the Maine Department of Education’s Annual Maine Learning Through Technology Initiative (MLTI) Student Conference. The event is held each year to engage students in technology related learning.
The opening of the event featured Abby Sanborn from Sacopee Valley Middle School, in addition to student-led sessions where participants can learn a skill from their peers, and then create something using technology to take back to their schools. This year, in a special surprise for students, mascots from Maine’s public universities were on hand as part of a fun technology challenge and to highlight how a young learner can “apply yourself,” through the university system’s youth development and early college programs.
“Maine’s public universities provide a tremendous and growing number of youth development opportunities on our campuses, at our 4-H camps, and in partnership with local schools,” said Dr. Carol Kim, Associate Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs for the University of Maine System. “This year 3,500 Maine high school students earned low and no cost college credit through our early college programs and we will provide enrichment and learning programs for 20,000 Maine youth through our 4-H camps and community programs.”
In a fun and interactive story line, UMaine’s mascot, Bananas, got himself trapped in a virtual world, and needed help! His friends Augustus, Chompers, Benny, Hootie, Champ- the mascots from University of Maine Augusta, University of Maine Farmington, University of Maine Fort Kent, University of Maine Presque Isle, and University of Southern Maine, respectively- arrived on the scene, but needed the students to assist. Divided into teams, the students all worked collaboratively to solve puzzles and gather keys in order to free Bananas.
In addition to a great experience and new learning, 10 students left with $1,000 scholarships, should they choose to attend University of Maine in the future, and each campus raffled off their own swag bags. Educate Maine got into the mix when 5 more students got cool electronics, and all left with their eyes on future opportunities in Maine.