MLTI Virtual Student Conference Slated for May 26th

The Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI) team is excited to announce that the 19th annual MLTI Student Conference will take place virtually on Thursday, May 26, 2022. Though this is our third year holding the MLTI Student Conference virtually, we are dedicated to making this year an innovative virtual conference experience like never before! The conference will be open to all MLTI 7th and 8th grade students and their teachers and will include interactive and hands on workshops where participants will be engaging and creating both digitally and in-person with provided materials.

This year the MLTI team is partnering with the University of Maine System and their Maine College of Engineering, Computing, and Information Science (MCECIS). By the time today’s middle schoolers are ready to enter college, they will have access through the University of Maine system to expanded educational opportunities and state of the art classrooms and labs for engineering, computing, and information science.

Please save the date for the 2022 MLTI Student Conference and check our website for more announcements coming soon, including a call for proposals, t-shirt design contest, a surprise guest announcement, presenters, and session information.

We look forward to seeing all of you on Thursday, May 26, 2022 and sharing an exciting and innovative day with you and MLTI students!

Download the Flyer

For more information reach out to Brandi Cota, Maine DOE MLTI Project Manager at Brandi.M.Cota@Maine.Gov

Bath Middle School Takes Hands-on Approach to Learning About Ocean Sustainability

Inspired by the Expeditionary Learning model, Bath Middle School has taken a hands-on approach to examining the issue of ocean sustainability.  As part of this project, as citizen scientists, the 7th-grade students took to the local waterfront to collect data on the invasive green crab species and graphed their results.

Students also visited the Maine Maritime Museum in downtown Bath to learn about the history of Maine’s fishing and shipping industry.  Working with Museum educators, they generated timelines through the examination of the museum’s artifacts.

The culminating activity was for students to design and build a product that would address an issue that threatens the sustainability of our oceans such as pollution, climate change, or invasive species.  On Thursday, December 16th, parents, and the community were invited to attend an event that displayed the students’ work.

parents at event

In a “Shark Tank” format, the top five projects were pitched to a panel of judges to determine a winning product.  Students created videos, websites, and prototypes to convince the judges of their product’s ability to impact and help solve an issue that puts the sustainability of our oceans at risk.

After much deliberation, the judges determined that the winning product was Compostable Condiments designed by Sadie C. and Laura K.  This product proposed using an invasive seaweed to make a biodegradable substitute for the plastic used in takeout packets like ketchup.

Congratulations to all the 7th graders for their innovative ideas that could help to preserve one of Maine’s most essential natural resources.

This story was written and coordinated by MLTI Ambassador Holly Graffam as part of the Maine Schools Sharing the Success Campaign. To learn more, or to submit a story or an idea for a story, email rachel.paling@maine.gov. 

Integrating Podcasting at Caribou Community School 

Creation and innovation are core elements to middle school learning, thanks to Kim Barnes and Heather Anderson, who both teach 8th grade English language arts (ELA) and social studies at Caribou Community School. In a recent unit of study about resiliency, Mrs. Barnes and Mrs. Anderson had the creative idea that podcasting would be a great way for students to demonstrate their knowledge on the topic. 

Mrs. Barnes said the idea was conceptualized from the work she did with the revised ELA Standards and thought that podcasting was a truly “authentic way to braid [the] standards into the work [they] were already doing.” 

Though they knew they wanted to use podcasting in their unit, Mrs. Barnes and Mrs. Anderson also felt they needed some support with teaching their students the more technical aspects. They reached out to the Department of Education’s Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI) Ambassadors who were able to create and present lessons to the Caribou 8th grade students. This all-day event focused on supporting the work Mrs. Barnes and Mrs. Anderson were doing in the classroom, as well as leading the students through the process of podcasting on their Chromebooks. The Ambassadors explained the value and possibilities of podcasting and then demonstrated how to create and edit podcasts using WeVideo. Students then practiced the process of podcasting in pairs or small groups by choosing a topic of their own, or just discussing a predetermined prompt. One group took the opportunity to begin a sports podcast, where they discussed recent events in sports and even planned out how often they should record the podcast in order to continue with it. 

From this experience, Mrs. Barnes noticed that the engagement of the students skyrocketed. Students reported that they really enjoyed the creative part of making podcasts and, immediately, many of them began listening to other podcasts outside of class for fun. Some students were also motivated to begin a school podcast.  

The busy day proved to be quite fruitful. Mrs. Anderson and Mrs. Barnes felt that the event not only helped the students, but it also really energized them, as teachers. One student shared that the work with podcasting “is changing [his] perspective about reading and writing to a more positive one as ELA has always been a struggle for [him].” 

This story was written and coordinated by MLTI Ambassador Rob Dominick as part of the Maine Schools Sharing the Success Campaign. To learn more, or to submit a story or an idea for a story, email rachel.paling@maine.gov. 

Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI) Showcased on National Stage

Maine Department of Education (DOE) Director of Innovative Teaching and Learning Beth Lambert, was invited to present at the 2021 National Edtech & Innovation Conference and Expo in Las Vegas, NV, this fall. The presentation showcased Maine’s MLTI (Maine Learning Through Technology Initiative) and its recent evolution from the nation’s first statewide 1:1 technology initiative in 2002 to its current iteration, MLTI 2.0.

The presentation featured Maine’s success in sustaining the 1:1 technology initiative for the past 20 years and the process for re-imagining the program to continue to be relevant in 2021, which included the creation of an advisory board of current Maine educators and stakeholders.

Participants got the chance to learn the details of how the newly designed program emphasizes individualized and local level support through the MLTI Ambassador program, which provides a technology integration coach in each school; providing a state infrastructure specialist to work with districts to update infrastructure for learning needs in 2021 and beyond; and, creating local, regional, and statewide professional learning communities, all while still providing 1:1 laptops for students.

Maine is incredibly proud of the work that has gone into sustaining and expanding the MLTI program, both within the Department and through the critical input we have received and partnerships we have made with educators, students, and stakeholders that have been working with us to make this program the very best it can be. Thank you!

To learn more about MLTI 2.0 visit the Maine Department of Education website or contact Brandi Cota MLTI Project Manager Brandi.M.Cota@Maine.Gov

Video Article: Teaching World History Through Gaming

In celebration of National Game Design Month, check out this video article that MLTI Ambassador Erik Wade created about how Piscataquis Community Secondary School Social Studies Teacher Ryan Botting and how he used the game civilization to revolutionize the teaching of his history class.

National Game Design Month started in 2010 to celebrate game designers and draw new people into game design.  For the past 11 years, people have celebrated National Game Design Month by creating digital and physical games and using games in unique ways.  It is a group of like-minded people who are “joined by a love of games and a desire to share their creativity with others.”