Computer Science Professional Development Grant Application

Are you interested in computer science professional development opportunities for your school? Maine’s 130th legislature, through a bill sponsored by Senator Pouliot, created a pilot grant program to provide funding for high-quality, teacher-developed or teacher-led professional development for PK-12 computer science pedagogy and content. 

Priority will be given to applicants that: 

  • Are located in one (or more) of the following counties where no awards have been made in previous application rounds: Sagadahoc, York, Aroostook, Somerset, Washington, Oxford, Waldo, Knox, Lincoln, Franklin, and Kennebec. 
  • Do not currently offer computer science learning opportunities; 
  • Serve socioeconomically disadvantaged school districts; 
  • Prioritize student populations traditionally underrepresented in computer science; 
  • Demonstrate a commitment to pursuing high-quality educator professional development that emphasizes integration of computer science into other course work and curricula or establishes or expands access to courses that offer college credit and other certificates of value, or both; and 
  • Collaborate or partner with other entities, including but not limited to other local education agencies, the business community, nonprofit organizations and private entities. 

The application window opens Monday, May 9th, 2022 and closes Friday, May 20th, 2022. Applications will be reviewed in the order in which they are received. All applicants will be notified of their application status within two weeks of the application deadline.  

There is no limit to the grant amount awarded per applicant; however, funds will be dispersed equitably across all applications based on county and throughout PK-12. 

Have questions? Want to learn more? Interested in applying? Check out our website to learn more and submit an application. 

Need assistance applying? Contact the Computer Science Specialist, Emma-Marie Banks, emma-marie.banks@maine.gov.

Exploring the History of Maine Through Robotics

In the fall of 2022, Ann McClellan asked Maxx Pillsbury, a student of the Sphero Bolt coding program at Mt. View Middle School, how he might use the Bolt to tell a story. Both interested in Maine history, Ms. McClellan and Maxx began exploring using the Bolt to tell the story of ten historically significant places in Maine.

Maxx coded his Bolt to be Samuel de Champlain, an explorer who traveled the coast of Maine. Maxx and Ms. McClellan used a rope to model the nooks and crannies of Maine’s rugged coastline and painted designs on paper to represent characteristics of the area being explored.

Once they planned the layout, Maxx programmed the Bolt. While working, Maxx decided he also wanted the Bolt to narrate the history locations. He wrote a script, chose sounds to enhance the audience’s experience, and found music to play.

You can view a video of the robot moving through the project here:

The final product is impressive and took perseverance and critical thinking to problem solve through challenges that presented themselves throughout the process. For instance, placing the Bolt just right was imperative to its success.

“If the angle was just slightly different when it was set down, then it could mess the whole thing up,” Maxx said.

Ms. McClellan agreed, “Directionals and movement controls were challenging. These had to do with speed, angles, and time. We maintained humor, flexibility, and perseverance, so we got through the programming!”

Maxx is eager to apply what he learned from this project to his other classes. “In my history classes, I will already know some history about early explorers in Maine, and in math class, I can use what I learned about ratios with distance, speed, and time.”

For more information about the Sphero Bolt coding program or other ways to integrate computer science into your curriculum, reach out our computer science specialist, Emma Banks at Emma-Marie.Banks@maine.gov or visit: https://www.maine.gov/doe/learning/ltt/computerscience.

 

Registration is Now Open for the 2022 MLTI Virtual Student Conference

Registration is now open for the 2022 MLTI Virtual Student Conference! MLTI wants all 7 & 8th grade students to join this innovative conference! This year’s virtual conference will have a brand-new, classroom-centered approach in an effort to make it more collaborative for students and teachers to join sessions together as a class during the school day.

Session Style

Sessions will be delivered directly into your classroom where the workshop leader will act as a type of guest teacher. Workshop leaders will teach the class new skills, provide time for students to practice these new skills, and then support them as they create something new with what they have learned. Check out our video with different scenarios to help you plan!

Teacher Role

Teachers can sign up the entire 7th and 8th grade from their school.  Then MLTI will send registered schools the sessions to choose from. Next, you can divide students up so that one classroom is participating in a session. All the teachers need to do is share the session live in the classroom and support students as they learn, practice, and create!

Session Times & Materials

The sessions will be 90 minutes with the morning session running from 9:30am-11:00am, and the afternoon session running from 12:00pm-1:30pm. All necessary materials will be provided to schools before the conference so students will have them to create with during the conference.

The 19th Annual MLTI Student Conference will be held virtually on Thursday, May 26, 2022 from 8:30am-2:00pm, and will be open to all MLTI 7th and 8th grade students

For questions, please reach out to Brandi Cota-MLTI Project Manager brandi.m.cota@maine.gov.

Spring Training Begins TODAY 3/7 with an All-Star Lineup of Professional Learning Offerings

Active learning, student engagement, technology integration, digital instructional design, digital citizenship, and online safety are the main topics for an ongoing professional learning series offered by the MLTI Ambassadors starting on March 7. These daily offerings are offered live and open to all interested educators. The sessions will also be available in asynchronous versions on our website.

To attend one of the live sessions via zoom, be sure to register through this March Calendar or through the Maine DOE PD Calendar.  Please note that the times of these offerings vary from day to day.  Asynchronous versions of these sessions will be available through MLTI Professional Learning as well as the MLTI Youtube channel.

MondayMonday – Technology Integration with Rob Dominick 

The first series of workshops will focus on effectively integrating technology into the classroom. We will look at surveyed data on technology integration and learn about the common flaws and beliefs with the integration. Then, we will explore a variety of strategies for integrating technology so we can find commonalities and synthesize them towards your own needs. Finally, there will be a chance to evaluate sample lessons and create your own to implement.

The second series will dig into digital portfolios for students. We will cover exactly what they are, their intended purpose and the process of preparing and designing them.

Available every Monday in March! Check here for times and dates.

TuesdayTuesday Tech – Student Engagement with Erik Wade

Every week, we will discuss a broad technology integration idea that could be used to increase student engagement. These workshops will look at the big idea, break it down into easy-to-understand pieces, look at examples, and talk about potential starting points for integration into the classroom.

Available every Tuesday in March! Check here for times and dates.

WednesdayWednesdays with Werner – Digital Citizenship & Online Safety with Jonathan R. Werner

This six-part series on Digital Citizenship and Online Safety will draw on the incredible resources Common Sense Education (CSE) has curated to provide educators with a framework for and tools to teach students about Digital Citizenship.  CSE divides these resources into six areas. After an introductory session about CSE and the role of educators in teaching Digital Citizenship, the next five sessions will follow CSE’s framework:

  • Media Balance and Well-Being (Week 2)
  • Privacy and Security (Week 3)
  • Digital Footprints and Identity (Week 4)
  • Relationships and Communication (Week 5)
  • Cyberbullying, Digital Drama, and Hate Speech (Week 6)

Please note, educators can choose any or all of these sessions and do not need to be able to attend all six.  After April Break, we will tackle the sixth CSE focus area, News and Media Literacy, in a multi-week series focusing on issues such as Finding Credible News, the Four Factors of Fair Use, and Creator’s Rights and Responsibilities.

Available every Wednesday in March! Check here for times and dates.

ThursdayThursday – Digital Instructional Design with Kate Meyer

This series of workshops will explore the creation and implementation of high-quality, engaging, interactive digital learning experiences for your students. Each week we will explore a new digital strategy that you can implement into any unit of study. The workshops in this series will have time built in to try out the strategies we’re exploring, so come ready to dig in!

Available every Thursday in March! Check here for times and dates.

FridayFriday – Active Learning with Holly Graffam

The first series of workshops will focus on integrating Problem-Based Learning in the classroom. It will include an overview of Problem-Based Learning as well as delve into applications across a variety of content areas from literacy to science. Included will be how technology can support this integration.

Computer Science across the curriculum will be the subject of the second series of workshops. Sessions will discuss the critical need for computer science in our classrooms and examine engaging, creative ways to integrate computer science into your existing curriculums.

Available every Friday in March! Check here for times and dates.

 

MEDIA RELEASE: Maine Department of Education Resources on Helping Young People Safely Navigate the Internet

During his State of the Union address this week, President Biden called for increased measures to ensure young people are protected on the internet and while using social media. The Maine Department of Education offers parents, educators, and students a number of free resources, by grade level, to help young people safely navigate the internet and avoid dangers that can impact their physical and mental health.

The Maine Department of Education’s comprehensive web-based social emotional learning resource SEL4ME embeds specific lessons in interest safety at every grade level. For example, the second grade module Be Fine Online helps students learn ways to stay safe when online, including the importance of never revealing their personal information; sixth graders have lesson like Be Aware What You Share in which they gain a deeper understanding of internet safety and social media and on cyberbullying; the eighth grade lesson User Beware: The Scary Side of the Internet helps students understand that not everything on the internet is safe, including how to spot online predators and the dangers of sexting; and in 11th grade, students have access to Cyber Bullying and Digital Citizenship which goes into the effects of online bullying and the virtual footprint that can follow them into the work place.

SEL4ME is free to all Maine schools, families, and community partners and offers more than 450 PreK-12th grade learning modules. Each grade level hosts lessons within the five key elements of social emotional learning (SEL): self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationships, and responsible decision making. Educators, families, and students can learn more and sign up here.

The Maine Department of Education’s Digital Learning Specialists, in partnership with the MLTI Ambassadors, also provide professional learning, resources, and support for digital citizenship, social media use, online safety, and cyber security. MLTI also partners with Common Sense Education to share digital citizenship and online safety resources with educators. Educators can also reach out to specialists directly to explore ways to integrate these skillsets into their instruction to help students stay safe online.

“The internet is a tremendous resource for students to explore and activate their passions, develop skills and knowledge, build connections, and expand their digital literacy, and Maine educators and schools are constantly integrating technology into teaching and learning in innovative ways,” said Education Commissioner Pender Makin. “We’re also committed to making sure students have the tools and resources they need to navigate the internet safely and avoid the very real dangers that President Biden outlined in his State of the Union speech that pose a threat to the physical and mental health of our young people. We encourage educators and families to take advantage of our free resources.”