Governor Janet Mills today announced the launch of a new Maine Department of Education (DOE) initiative that will provide every Maine public school with a free mobile computer science lab. The effort, funded through the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund, will enable all Maine students to access high-quality learning experiences that provide real-word training in robotics, programming, augmented and virtual reality, coding, and hardware.
In July, Governor Mills joined governors from across the country in signing a bipartisan national compact on computer science education. As part of the agreement unveiled at the National Governors Association’s Summer Meeting in Portland, all 50 governors pledged to work to expand K-12 computer science education options in their states. The DOE has a comprehensive computer science education plan guided by seven key principles.
“Our economy increasingly depends on workers with training in computer science. This initiative will ensure that students across our state are prepared to succeed in the jobs of the future,” said Governor Janet Mills. “My administration will continue to make sure that all Maine students have a chance to acquire digital literacy skills.”
“Maine is leading the nation by providing equipment to our schools statewide to ensure that every student has a meaningful computer science education with real-world applications,” said Pender Makin, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Education. “These mobile computer science labs will provide every student in Maine, across all grade levels and subject areas, with learning experiences that prepare them for future success.”
“This opportunity from the Mills administration and the Maine Department of Education is a game-changer for the students of Maine. For the first time, all Maine kids will have equal access to a high-quality computer science curriculum and tools in their schools. I am incredibly happy to see that equity is the centerpiece of this new initiative and cannot wait to see what happens next,” said Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) Maine Chapter President and 8th Grade Computer Science Teacher Sean Wasson.
Schools will be able to order one of three mobile lab options: Robotics and Programming, Augmented and Virtual Reality, and Coding and Hardware. Each lab contains computer science equipment valued at $5,000 and is designed to be integrated into any content area and skill level. Additionally, the initiative will make available professional learning opportunities for educators tailored to each computer science topic area.
The Maine Department of Education is reaching out to Maine superintendents with detailed information about how to secure mobile labs for schools in their district. More information about each program area can be found on the Maine Department of Education website.