(Pictured: These SLAM Showcase events could not happen without Kern Kelley’s talented students from Nokomis.)
SLAM (Student Leadership Ambassadors of Maine) ran two successful SLAM Showcase events at two schools, Benton Elementary School (MSAD 49) on March 2nd and Pittston-Randolph Consolidated School (MSAD 11) on March 31st. The event in Benton, the third SLAM Showcase this school year, was a long time coming. The event was postponed due to weather in February, but luckily the weather was on this day was manageable. This event happening was particularly exciting for MLTI SLAM Coordinator Kern Kelley and teacher Tonya Therrien, who had planned a similar event in the fall of 2019, but weather and the pandemic delayed a reschedule. The event in Pittston came through coordination with Patsy Adams, who attended a training at Nokomis this past summer. When Ms. Adams realized the SLAM Showcase had the capacity for more students, she reached out to nearby River View Community School and invited their students to join in the learning. Over two hundred students across these three elementary schools were able to participate in the two events.
Kern Kelley and his SLAM students from Nokomis along with MLTI Ambassadors spent the day presenting to elementary students and teachers on topics such as 3D design, coding, virtual reality (VR) and graphic design. The students were divided into four groups with each group rotating through the four sessions. All the students who attended were engaged and enthusiastic throughout each 55-minute session. At the end of each session, they were given 5-10 minutes to submit examples of their work, which they were eager to share. Both days concluded with a recording of the SLAM Show with interviews, games, and prizes. Participating students received VR headsets, so they could show their creations from CoSpaces with their families and friends. The school also received a drone following a group photo from the drone.
These two events, following similar events at Central Middle School and Hartford/Sumner Elementary School, proceeds two more scheduled events at Lubec Consolidated School and Van Buren Community School.
The SLAM show empowers MLTI students to use their devices and technology tools by providing a platform where students can give back and share their innovative work in their schools. The live, in-person SLAM Showcase events have been designed to directly align with MLTI’s vision that all Maine students engage in authentic, relevant, technology-rich, learning experiences that prepare them for a fulfilling future. “It was so much fun to see the students engaged; they were being challenged and being exposed to different technologies, many of them new to the students,” said Benton technology teacher Lynn Hamlin.
Historically, MLTI has been targeted to seventh and eighth grade students, but this year, districts had the option to expand up into nineth grade or down to sixth grade. MSAD49 opted to add sixth graders and became one of several districts who added multiple K-6 elementary schools to the MLTI program. These SLAM Showcase events are an ideal environment for older students, like those from Nokomis, to share their knowledge with younger elementary students.
MLTI Ambassador Joshua Schmidt commented, “I’ve been involved in the MLTI SLAM Showcase events at my own school, and also as a part of MLTI, and the positive energy among teachers and students is my favorite part. Everyone is so excited to learn! I would highly recommend creating a SLAM club at your own school and seeing how this type of event can be an energizing experience for your school and community as well.”