When eighth-grade teachers Kim Barnes, Heather Anderson, Holly Rhinebolt, and Troy Barnes wanted to provide students with learning opportunities that would spark curiosity and engagement in their students, they knew just who to contact. The Maine Department of Education’s Maine Learning Technology Initiative, or MLTI 2.0, answered the call.
On Monday, February 6th, MLTI ambassadors visited Caribou Community School to provide workshops for students on topics including virtual reality using Cospaces, google slides animations, green screens, and podcasting with WeVideo. Two neighboring districts, Fort Fairfield and Woodland were also invited to attend.
Kim Barnes, ELA teacher, shared, “Our whole theme this year in grade 8 has been to reconnect and re-engage students in their learning and this is one way to accomplish that.” Math teacher Troy Barnes adds, “This is a great opportunity for the kids because it’s not a traditional school day. It’s taking their interests and expanding it, giving them the opportunity to work outside of traditional environments.”
Students spent the morning attending a rotating schedule of 40-minute sessions where MLTI ambassadors Rob Dominick, Jonathan Werner, Martha Thibodeau, and Kathryn Meyer presented an overview of their topics. The afternoon was reserved for students to practice what sparked their interest and MLTI ambassadors were on hand to help as students practiced honing their new skills.
“The MLTI 2.0 program is such an incredible resource for teachers trying to integrate more technology into their classroom. The ambassadors, first and foremost, are teachers so they are fantastic to collaborate with because they know how best to complement what we are already doing,” Social Studies teacher Heather Anderson shared and Holly Rhinebolt, science teacher, added how 8th graders are also working on integrating a new space STEM program and that these workshops will really complement what she’s been working on.
This is the 2nd year, Caribou Community School teachers and MLTI ambassadors have worked to provide this day for students and the skills they have learned will definitely be utilized in the months to come.
“Their learning today is going to lead to a community project where we partnered with our Caribou Historical Society.” Kim Barnes said. “Students will be creating podcasts for the exhibits that are located there so the community will be able to hear our students tell stories of the past.” The teachers all agreed that they hope to be able to continue and expand these workshops in the years to come.