The Maine Department of Education delivered wifi enabled Samsung Tab A’s with a 12 month Verizon service to Piscataquis county schools yesterday afternoon, in a effort that is helping students in the area with their school work while they are engaged in remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 500 devices were procured through a collection of donations, and are being offered in Piscataquis County first because data shows they have the highest percentage of students without connectivity. Yesterday’s deployment will cover all of the need for students in the county, and remaining devices will be quickly deployed to the county/school district with the next highest percentage of students without internet.
“We are so grateful to the Department of Education for the research they did and realizing that Piscataquis county has the least connectivity of any county,” said RSU 68 Superintendent Stacy Shorey. “These devices will allow all of our students to connect not only with their teachers but with each other.”
As part of this pilot program, the Maine DOE surveyed building principals across Maine to identify needs, and are working to procure device and hotspots for all students that need them as quickly as possible. Maine DOE Coordinator of Secondary Education and Integrated Instruction Beth Lambert, who delivered the devices yesterday, has been working with Maine DOE Chief Innovation Officer Page Nichols and a team at the DOE to research, procure, and deploy the devices.
Jessica Dunton, SAD 4 Assistant Principal and Tech Director and Matthew Larrabee, IT Director for SeDoMoCha were both on hand to receive the devices yesterday at two drop off locations. From there, arrangements will be made to get the devices into the hands of students who need them.
“My favorite moment during this remote learning experience was being in Mr. Miller’s 4th grade classroom the first time they participated in a Google Meet last week. He had scheduled 30 minutes and was experienced enough to realize that they needed 26 minutes just to say hi to each other. He used his last four minutes to clearly articlulate three things he wanted his students to know,” added Shorey. “We are so excited here at SeDoMoCha to now be able to give all of our students this common experience.”
For further information about this pilot program Beth Lambert can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and Page Nichols can be reached at email@example.com.