Maine students among top scorers in national cyber security program

Maine students recently took part in the GirlsGoCyberStart program, a national opportunity that features fun, technical challenges and games to inspire the next generation of cyber security professionals.

Promoted by Governor Paul R. LePage, the Maine Department of Education and the Maine Office of Information Technology, the program took place February 20th through the 25th of 2018 with students from all over Maine participating.

GirlsGoCyberStart was available to the first 10,000 girls who registered with teams of 1-4 students. 18 states participated and 5 of Maine’s 60 plus teams that participated, ranked in the top 100 scorers. Participants on the top three Maine teams were awarded prizes.

Maine’s top five scoring teams were from the following high schools (in order of scoring):

  1. Bangor High School, Penobscot County
  2. Thornton Academy, York County
  3. Portland High School, Cumberland County
  4. Falmouth High School, Cumberland County
  5. Maine Connections Academy, Cumberland County

More details about the scoring can be found on the GirlsGoCyberStart website and more details about Maine team’s scores can be found on the Maine scores page of the GirlsGoCyberStart website.

15th Annual MLTI Student Conference

Registration is open for the 2018 MLTI Student Conference, taking place on Thursday, May 24th at the University of Maine campus in Orono.

We’re expecting 1000 students and their adult chaperones to fill the concert hall at the Collins Center for the Arts for the opening student keynote and, at the end of the day, for the so-called “Über Session.” Once again, music and coding will drive the opening and closing sessions.

Between the opening and closing at the Collins Center, students will spill out over the campus for lunch and for sessions where students will learn and create in a variety of ways – through coding, audio, video, images, text, and more. Sessions throughout the day will be optimized for current MLTI devices (Apple and HP laptops and tablets), although other devices can participate in most activities as long as they can access the Internet. Session listings will specify device requirements.

As always, this will be a time for celebration and fun challenges. From the opening Student Keynote through the Block 1 & 2 sessions across the campus, to lunch the “college way,” and on to an amazing Über Session, this day will be another of what so many folks over the past decade-and-a-half have described as “our favorite day of the year!”

The registration cost for each participant (student or adult) is $15, the same as last year. This fee includes all event activities, lunch for each registrant, and a 2018 MLTI Student Conference T-Shirt for each student. Schools will be invoiced for registration costs after the Conference.

To register, go to: http://maine.gov/doe/mlti/student/studentconference/registration/index.html

Registration closes Friday, May 11th.

Questions? Please don’t hesitate to reach out to the planning team at mlti.project@maine.gov, and we look forward to seeing you and a team of students from your school in Orono on May 24th!

Technology Plan Update

Technology plans are designed to help educators and school leaders think about how they use technology and how to better leverage technology to improve student learning. The Learning through Technology team at the Department of Education manages the technology planning process and assists schools in learning to use technology more effectively.  This communication sets forth guidance regarding technology plans that are due in the 2017-18 school year as well as plans that were due in prior years.

Plans Due in 2018

For plans that are due by June 30, 2018, school administrative units (SAUs) have two options:

  1. Submit a learning technology plan following the guidelines from the 2016-2017 school year.
  2. Submit a learning technology plan using the guidance for the 2017-2018 school year. This guidance was developed recognizing that SAUs have a smaller window of time to complete this process and that many SAUs have asked for more clarity about what exactly the Department is looking for in these plans.

More information about the specific requirements can be found here: http://www.maine.gov/doe/mlti/techplan/

For both options, schools will need to administer the BrightBytes Technology and Learning Survey to students and use their data to inform planning for technology use in their schools and SAUs. BrightBytes offers webinars and in-person workshops to help schools and SAUs leverage their BrightBytes data for technology planning.

(Note: Webinars will be recorded and posted to be viewed at a later date.)

Webinar: Technology and Learning for Curriculum Leaders: Using T&L to Transform Instruction (March 15, 2018  from 3:30 -4:30pm) – still accepting registration.

Webinar: Technology and Learning for District Admin: Vision to Action, Lighthouse Schools, and Pilots (April 10, 2018 from 3 – 5pm)

Onsite “Data Into Action” Workshops: Building Actionable Instructional Technology Plans that Really Drive Change (Offered regionally during the weeks of May 7th and May 14th – specific locations and times TBD)

Registration and more information about these sessions (as well as recordings of past webinars) can be found here: http://bit.ly/2sxx7CZ

If you have any questions about technology plans due in 2018, please contact Amanda Nguyen, Digital Learning Specialist at Amanda.Nguyen@maine.gov or 207-624-6656.

Plans Due in 2016 or 2017

If you haven’t received an approval letter from the department for a technology plan that was due from your SAU in 2016 or 2017, , please send an email requesting an approval letter to mlti.project@maine.gov.  If you have questions about those pre-2018 plans, please contact Deb Friedman, Learning through Technology Project Manager at Deborah.Friedman@maine.gov or 207-624-6834.

Family Code Night Comes to Maine

Next week, children and their parents will come together to learn how to code. It’s Computer Science Education Week (December 4-8), and 75 sites across Maine will host Family Code Nights. Specially designed for elementary-aged students, these events use Hour of Code puzzles that introduce programming principles through fun games.

While many schools do Hour of Code, Scratch, and other web-based computer science activities, Family Code Night is unique. It was started in the San Francisco Bay area by a parent of an elementary student. He saw the importance of involving parents in the activities because they can advocate for their children to continue learning to code after the event is done. Maine has many opportunities for youth to explore coding, including summer camps, app challenges and family events. You can find them on the STEM Resource Bank at steminme.org.

Volunteers at Family Code Nights include teachers, librarians, parents and other community members. Many sites are enlisting the help of teens who have experience with coding. Family Code Night provides an event kit that includes everything needed to plan and host the event, so leaders do not need to be experts at coding to run a successful evening!

Family Code Night is a national movement supported in Maine by The Reach Center, a program of Maine Mathematics & Science Alliance. Visit mmsa.org/familycodenight to see a list of sites hosting events, which includes schools, libraries or community organizations representing each county.

For more information contact Maine Department of Education Science and Technology Content Specialist, Shari Templeton at Shari.Templeton@maine.gov or (207) 624-6880.

Learning Through Technology Update

The Learning Through Technology Team at the Maine Department of Education is committed to helping teachers integrate technology into their classrooms in a way that improves student learning outcomes and achievement. We have three new ways to engage with educators this year that are designed to gather input and build capacity.

Professional Learning Survey

We are looking for input from all Maine educators as we develop a schedule of offerings for professional learning during the 2017 – 2018 school year. We want to know which topics are of most interest to you and the format in which you’d like to see the professional learning offered. The survey should take 5 – 10 minutes to complete. We’ll begin reviewing responses on September 18th! Please complete the survey today and share the link with any other educators in Maine that you know!

Link to survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/LTTPL2017

School Visits

We have a new model for school visits. The goal has shifted from looking at MLTI implementation to recognizing the positive efforts of educators who are integrating technology into their learning environments and providing support to schools as they continue to leverage their technology for better student outcomes. Please reach out to Amanda Nguyen, Digital Learning Specialist at the Maine Department of Education (Amanda.Nguyen@maine.gov) if you’d like to schedule a school visit.

Link to school visit information: http://maine.gov/doe/mlti/schoolvisit/index.html

Learning Narratives Blog

We have a new blog that captures the stories of Maine educators who are leveraging technology for learning. Stories come from individual educators and also from our new school visits. The goal is to share models with other schools and educators. If you want to share your story, or recommend educators who we could contact to share their stories, please reach out to Amanda Nguyen, Digital Learning Specialist at the Maine Department of Education (Amanda.Nguyen@maine.gov).

Link to Learning Narratives blog: https://learningnarratives.wordpress.com