Maine Department of Education Commissioner Pender Makin and Senator Angus King kicked off the 19th annual MLTI (Maine Learning Technology Initiative) Student Conference today by participating in a live robotics competition with students at Nokomis Regional Middle High School.
Makin participated in person while King entered the competition remotely from his office in Washington, D.C. Student teams from schools across the state also competed to see who could get their robot to complete the skills tests the fastest, including nationally-ranked basketball phenom and Nokomis freshman, Copper Flagg. The morning launch session also included a welcome video from Governor Mills and a high-altitude balloon launch into space.
This year’s MLTI student conference was the highest attended in MLTI’s 19-year history with 55 schools, 5,672 students, and 696 educators participating. The theme of this year’s conference was MLTI Launches Space2Connect and included interpretations of space and connection as they relate to Maine students and their use of technology. The new virtual, classroom-based session style allowed students to attend in a classroom setting where they could learn, practice, and create.
Following the morning launch event, workshop leaders taught the conference participants new skills, provided time for students to practice these new skills, and then supported them as they created something new with what they learned. This new design allowed students to work together as they explored new resources and applications, created with new digital mediums, and collaborated to complete tasks.
Every school also received shirts for all participants that were designed by an MLTI student, and a 3-D printed medallion that traveled to space and back.