The Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI) is excited to announce the dates and locations for the 20thannual MLTI Student Conference!
In our continued effort to engage all MLTI students in our annual conference, we’re offering three different options for participation this year. We’re partnering with the University of Maine System, to host two in-person MLTI Student Conferences!
University of Southern Maine’s Portland Campus Friday, May 12th
University of Maine in Orono Thursday, May 25th
Virtual MLTI Student Conference Thursday, May 18th
The virtual conference will provide opportunities for students who may not be able to attend the in-person events. Last year’s classroom-based virtual conference was the largest attended in MLTI history with 55 schools, 5,672 students, and 696 educators participating!
We hope all MLTI schools can join us in their choice of engagement for the 20th annual MLTI Virtual Student Conference!
Please save the date for the 20th MLTI Student Conference and check our website for more announcements coming soon, including a call for proposals, t-shirt design contest, guest announcements, presenters, and session information.
We look forward to seeing all of you at one of our conference locations and sharing an exciting and innovative day with you and MLTI students!
Monmouth Memorial School has some innovative ideas on how to involve more of its students with their makerspace. Not only is this makerspace available to whole classes and individuals throughout the day, but students in grades 6-8 also take a unified arts class where they are exposed to many different components of the makerspace, including 3D printing, motors and electronics, woodworking, sewing, all the way to virtual and augmented reality. By the time the students finish middle school, they will have developed makerspace skills, learned about the design process, and completed an independent project. These projects can be hands-on, virtual, or anything in between with some projects including a YouTube instructional video on quilt sewing, marble runs, an American Flag made out of wood and stain, safety guides on tools in the makerspace, and a three-foot-tall basketball hoop.
The makerspace projects are spearheaded by Elizabeth Bellegarde, the district librarian, and Seth Mitchell, who is the school’s technology integrator and the 2022 Kennebec County Teacher of the Tear. Bellegarde feels the system is a great fit for their school, saying “I feel as though the set-up we have is ideal for our school’s structure, allowing the maximum amount of student access.” That structure allows for many different projects happening all at once, with one space designed as a work area that involves everything from power tools and snap circuits as well as materials for the Lego Robotics and VEX Robotics teams, which competed in the 2022 Vex Robotics World Championship.
In the makerspace unified arts class, 6th-8th grade students will be working on a wide array of projects simultaneously, with Bellegarde moving between groups to provide support when needed. Students enthusiastically switch between low-tech and high-tech skills to complete their projects, but the energy and excitement from the students is constantly pulpable.
“It takes time to build that culture,” Mitchell says, “having administration who see the value in this program makes it even more successful.”
Attached to the main makerspace area is Monmouth’s studio space. This area contains a wide array of materials including a sound board, iPad teleprompter, green screen walls, and resources for video editing. “Students and teachers have this wonderful resource available [that can] extend learning in a way that wasn’t previously possible,” Bellegarde says. “By using the makerspace this way, classes become more fun with memorable experiences that will increase retention.” For many students in the makerspace unified arts class, having flexibility between both learning spaces gives them even more options to create unique projects.
Bellegarde wants to continue making these learning resources available for as many students as possible. “We are still working on making more students aware of this opportunity, the makerspace unified arts class is a huge part of that,” she says, “but the students who do take advantage of the makerspace find it to be a rewarding experience.” Not only can students participate in the unified arts class, classroom teachers can use the space for whole-class learning experiences as well as individual students working independently during study halls and available times throughout the day. Bellegarde sees these learning experiences leading to the development of lifelong design, critical thinking, decision-making, and independent skills. “For me, this is the best part of the makerspace.”
This story was written and coordinated by MLTI Ambassador Joshua Schmidt 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Maine Department of Education’s MLTI Team, including MLTI Ambassadors, Nokomis SLAM students, and MLTI SLAM Coordinator, Kern Kelley spent the day presenting at the SLAM Showcase for sixth grade students and teachers from Hartford/Sumner Elementary School on November 22nd. This was the second of six SLAM (Student Leadership Ambassadors of Maine) Showcases happening at schools across Maine this year. (Read about the first SLAM Showcase here)
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 SLAM in-person showcases 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.
Hartford/Sumner 2nd grade teacher Kelley Houghton attended a SLAM summer professional learning and applied to host a SLAM Showcase. As the selected candidate, Houghton invited MLTI to bring the SLAM Showcase to 6th grade students and teachers at her school.
The students spent the day learning about robotic coding with MLTI Ambassador, Martha Thibodeau, learning about Canva, free design software, with Nokomis High School SLAM student, Mia Coots, learning how to use TinkerCAD, a free web app for 3D modeling, electronics, and coding, with Nokomis High School SLAM student John Davis, and learning about how to create Virtual Reality with MLTI Ambassador, Tracy Williams.
The SLAM showcase provides the opportunity for students and teachers to learn new techniques and programs. Fifth grade teacher, Kate McCarthy, excitedly sat alongside students learning about Canva during one of the sessions. “I am very excited to use this in my classroom,” McCarthy later told SLAM student, Abby Caron, during a follow-up interview.
Following each session, students were invited to participate in the SLAM Exam where they are asked to answer a related question and invited to upload the work they created in the session. At the end of the SLAM Showcase, examples of student work are highlighted as part of the SLAM Show for all participants to view. Prizes were randomly selected from correctly answered SLAM Exams.
Kelley tells us that the SLAM Exam is a low barrier way for the SLAM program to collect and showcase student work, promote student participation, and entice students to participate in future events. “Even if they don’t get a prize during this show, there is always the opportunity to share work during any of our SLAM shows, so we always hope they will share again and possibly win a prize during a future event.” In addition to the Live SLAM Showcases happening monthly this school year, SLAM also hosts weekly virtual SLAM shows where students across the state can participate.
The day ended with a group activity that allowed students to, not only share their work, but also share what they learned and highlight their take-aways from a day of hands-on learning. Students also got the opportunity to take a group picture with a drone that was provided to the school, in addition to virtual reality (VR) headsets for each student that can be paired with any mobile device to show their parents and guardians the work they created that day in the Showcase.
Follow the Maine Department of Education on Facebook and Twitter to see a posting of the latest virtual SLAM show each week. Subscribe to the Maine DOE Newsroom to see a recap of the in-person SLAM shows each month.
(Pictured: A Glenburn student looks through the telescope at the Star Party.)
Establishing a culture of creation, innovation and hands-on learning is becoming a focal point at Glenburn School. The driving forces toward that goal are a couple of long-time educators – Technology Integrator, David Davis, and Technology Director, Ken Worster. Last year the administration implemented a plan to repurpose a science lab to house materials for a new STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) Lab. Worster advocated for functional space for technology creation since the one-to-one devices had made the traditional computer lab unnecessary. Davis credits his administrative team at Glenburn for its support of this initiative and feels “fortunate that [his] administration had the vision of technology integration” in order to bring this plan to life.
The STEAM Lab consists of several technology tools including a laser cutter, green screen, a fleet of iPads, a recordable microscope, over a dozen 3-D printers, codable robots, and more. Davis and Worster’s hope is to establish the lab as an integral part of the curriculum for educators. Worster mentioned that the immediate goal is to have teachers “looking at their content and bringing it to David in a way where they can have that conversation about how they can integrate our technology.”
Even in the Lab’s infancy, Davis is already seeing its impact in the classrooms, most notably in the sixth and seventh grade English Language Arts classes. In those classes, students have been able to dive deeper into their reading by designing and printing 3-D objects or characters from their books, by recreating scenes with green-screen video, and by etching “plaques” with the laser cutter that outline the author’s biography.
Additionally, Davis and Worster envision enhanced student engagement through the STEAM Lab by incorporating it into science classes across the school. Davis integrated an astronomy theme and tiered the work for the various grade levels. Students in kindergarten through second grade used the online platform Wixie to design constellations that were then etched with the laser cutter, students in third through fifth grade also used the laser cutter to design the phases of the moon, and finally, sixth through eighth grade students created a 3-D model of a footprint that incorporating each student’s constructed quote acting as if they were to be the first ones stepping onto Mars.
Davis and Worster concluded the unit by coordinating with the Challenger Learning Center and the Versant Power Astronomy Center at the University of Maine to host a “star party” outside at the school. The night was a huge success with over 200 family members attending. It allowed students the chance to stargaze with a telescope which Worster noted was the first time for most of them.
Even with the initial success of the STEAM Lab, Davis and Worster know that it will take time for the innovative culture to spread throughout the school. While they admit the program is not without its wrinkles, they are hopeful that a steadfast dedication to technology integration will create breakthroughs for their staff. Davis knows that it pays off to start small and have it build from there, “If I could just get [the teachers] there once or twice, it will take on a life of its own.”
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 email@example.com.
Student Engagement, Blended Learning, Project Based Learning, Supporting All Learners and Computer Science & Computational Thinking Pedagogies are the main topics for a four-week professional learning series being offer by the MLTI Ambassadors starting on November 28. These daily offerings will go live on the MLTI Youtube channel and are open to all interested educators and will include useful resources and contact hours.These are also available as a professional learning calendar with links to the video and slides going live every day!
Student Engagement Lead by Joshua Schmidt on Mondays
The student engagement series will extend last year’s videos from Erik Wade to four additional topics to help teachers create more authentic engagement in their classrooms. We will cover the similarities and differences in game-based learning and gamification, creating breakouts and escape rooms, leveraging group work to increase classroom discussions, and strategies to make those discussions more authentic and valuable. We will also discuss tools to help with each of these strategies and speak to other MLTI Ambassadors to hear examples of what has worked in their schools.
To find the previous professional development sessions in this series, and receive contact hours for them, please visit our YouTube playlist.
Topic 1: Comparing Game-Based Learning and Gamification
Topic 2: Creating Escape Rooms and Breakouts to Increase Student Engagement and Critical Thinking
Topic 3: Leveraging Group Work and Technological Resources to Increase Classroom Engagement and Discussions
Topic 4: Making Classroom Discussions Authentic and Using Tools to Support Authentic Discussions
Computer Science & Computer Technology Integration Pedagogies Lead by Yuhong Sun by Tuesdays
Over the past decade, there has been increasing research on computer science pedagogies. The data shows that certain teaching methods are more effective than others in computer science education. The series of Computer Science & Computer Technology Integration Pedagogies will explore the popular pedagogies for Computer Science and Computer Technology Integration, such as computational thinking, contextualized learning, collaborative learning and learning away from the computer. The series will use examples from Computer Science teachers, math and science teachers and discuss how the teaching methods are effectively used in the classrooms to support the learning process, to develop students’ critical thinking and problem-solving skills and prepare them for the 21st century job market.
Topic 1: Computational Thinking Skills Development
Topic 2: Engaging Students Through Contextualized Learning
Topic 3: Building Critical Thinking and Problem-solving Skills Through Collaborative Learning
Topic 4: Cultivating Computer Science Skills by Teaching Away from the Computer
Blended Learning Lead by Martha Thibodeau on Wednesdays
The Blended Learning Series will explore an introduction of this pedagogical strategy and tools to enhance student learning. Included in this series will be an overview of blended learning models, techniques to support student choice and pacing, and developing teacher workflows. If you like the idea of blended learning, but are overwhelmed by the details, this is the series for you. Join the MLTI Ambassadors as we discuss ways to maximize student learning and efficiently manage your role in the blended learning environment.
Topic 1: Introduction to Blended Learning Models.
Topic 2: Student Experience in Blended Learning
Topic 3: Teacher Workflow within Blended Learning
Topic 4: Tools to Enhance Blended Learning
Recipes for Project Based Learning Lead by Tracy Williamson on Thursdays
The Project Based Learning series will offer creative ideas to help students learn to think critically, collaborate and communicate on real-world projects. We’ll share tips, digital tools and resources to help you implement engaging team-based activities aligned with content area standards like creating a student news team, a student podcast series and STEAM projects that support the Sustainable Development Goals. We’ll also share digital tools and techniques for curating resources and data for long-term projects and creating effective and aesthetic presentations to share work with the community.
Topic 1: Student News Team Projects
Topic 2: Student Podcast Series
Topic 3: STEAM Projects around the Sustainable Development Goals
Topic 4: Presenting Projects: Taking PBL to the Community
Support for ALL Lead by Nicole Karod on Fridays
This professional development series will share tools and methods for supporting all learners. As we all know our classroom are filled with a variety of needs, both academically and behavioral. In this series you’ll discover ways to meet students’ needs through differentiation, be a trauma informed educator, create and design with all students in mind, as well as fill your toolbox with tools for modification and accommodations. I will also be joined by other MLTI Ambassadors to discuss how these strategies can look different in different classrooms. Join me on Friday each week to develop your toolbox toward supporting all students in the classroom.
Topic 1: Differentiation in the classroom
Topic 2: Trauma informed classroom
Topic 3: UDL (Universal Design for Learning)
Topic 4: Tools for modification and accommodations