Maine Schools Celebrate & Share Technology Integration at 32nd Annual ACTEM Conference

The 32-year tradition lives on as once again this year educators from around the State attended the much anticipated ACTEM (Association of Computer Technology Educators of Maine) conference earlier this month. The two-day, action-packed conference is planned, coordinated, and administered solely by Maine educators, and features Maine educators and students as presenters. The conference represents and celebrates the robust technology innovation and integration happening in Maine schools, in addition to serving as a place for schools to share strategies and tools including computer science education, coding, 3D printing and design thinking, and to learn about various technology-based curriculum and classroom management tools that are being used in Maine schools, nationally, and globally. The well-planned conference featured close to 150 sessions, the vast majority of which were delivered by Maine educators.

This year’s keynote speaker was Michael Cohen. Also known as The Tech Rabbi, Cohen is a “designer, educator and creativity instigator” who serves as the director of innovation for Yeshiva University of Los Angeles Boys School (YULA). In addition to serving as keynote, Cohen also led a session about exploring apps on the iPad.

On the first day of the conference, which hosted close to 400 people, among the events was a session led by Middle School Students from Sacopee Valley who did a student panel about “Kids Teaching Kids Tech Day”. Session participants had the chance to hear from teachers, Kelly Goodfield, Library Media Specialist and Luanne Mudgett, 7th Grade Math Teacher both from Sacopee Valley Middle School along with a group of 6 of their students who talked about their first annual Kids Teaching Kids Day which featured students presenting to their peers and their teachers about technology related topics they are both knowledgeable and passionate about, including photography, robotics, and coding to name a few examples. Educators in attendance were clearly impressed at the idea, some eager to try something similar at their school. At the end of the session, Maine DOE representatives had the honor of witnessing a group of students from the University of Maine at Farmington (UMF) approach the student panelists to ask them to do the same presentation in one of their education classes. Beaming with pride, the students were happy to accept the offer and engage future educators in this successful practice of student-led teaching.

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Kelly Goodfield, Luanne Mudgett, and 6 student panelists/presenters from Sacopee Valley Middle School

Day one of the conference ended with an awards presentation that honored educators for their commitment to quality technology integration in Maine schools. This year’s ACTEM ACHIEVE (ACTEM Commends Highly Innovative Educators that Value Excellence) Award was awarded to Sarah Irish a Technology Integrator at Lewiston Middle School and this year’s John Lunt Friend of Technology award, established as a way to recognize individuals that have made a significant contribution to education and technology in Maine, was awarded to Jim Moulton, a well-known Professional Development Consultant working in many Maine schools over the years.

Day two saw upwards of 700 people attending sessions throughout the day, highlights, among many, included a “Tech Tales in PreK and K” presentation by Juana Rodriguez-Vazquez, Migrant Education Regional Coordinator at Mano en Mano/Hand in Hand and Bonnie Blagojevic Education Consultant at Morningtown Consulting who shared stories of young children using technology in a variety of early learning and community settings as digital storytellers, scientists, engineers and artists. In addition, First Grade Teacher and Co-Technology Liaison Nicole Lesperance and Kindergarten Teacher and Co-Technology Liaison Stacey Augustine, both from from W.G. Mallett School in RSU 9 held an interactive “Tech for All” workshop showcasing ready-to-use materials for the classroom including instructional video tutorials, templates, interactive sorts, worksheets, and other activities using Pages.

Along with the robust variety of break-out sessions were several display booths featuring local, national, and internationally known companies that offer technology products and tools available to schools. Representatives from the Maine DOE were also on-hand both days of the conference to offer the latest information about the Maine Learning Through Technology Initiative (MLTI) and the recently developed Maine’s Computer Science Plan that was drafted by local educators.

As the conference ended, educators left on their way back home with new technology tips, tricks, resources, and ideas to share with students and colleagues in all corners of Maine. Conference planning co-chair and retired teacher Cheryl Oakes, along with planning co-chair Stephanie Cheney from Lincoln Academy and ACTEM Executive Director and retired educator Gary Lanoie took a satisfied sigh of relief as another 9 months of planning for the 32nd annual conference went off without a hitch providing Maine Educators with a place to connect with other educators, to deliver, and to collect quality, meaningful and useful technology tools that impact classroom instruction all over Maine.

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Cheryl Oakes, Gary Lanoie, and Stephanie Cheney

“I think its been another successful year,” said Gary in the days following the event. As the host of the largest education technology in the state, he is honored to be part of ACTEM, an organization that is able to host this annual professional development opportunity for Maine educators.

For more information about ACTEM, its conference, awards process, committee members, and membership visit their website at http://www.actem.org.

This article was written by Maine DOE staff member Rachel Paling as part of the Maine Schools Sharing Success campaign. If you would like more information about the campaign, contact Rachel at rachel.paling@maine.gov.

Opportunities to Lead and Participate In the 17th Annual MLTI Student Conference

Each year, the Department of Education’s Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI) hosts the MLTI Student Conference. Over 1000 students and their teachers gather to engage in a day of learning and creating with technology. This year the event will be held at the University of Maine in Orono on Thursday, May 21st, 2020 from 8:30am – 3pm. Details about opportunities to lead and participate in the day are below.

Registration

Last year, the Department received a significant amount of positive feedback regarding the new registration process. Educators said that knowing which sessions their students were going to ahead of time reduced uncertainty related to whether sessions would fill, the shuffling of chaperones, and how to prepare student devices for full participation in the session. They also really appreciated having name tags printed with all the session choices for each student. However, there was some feedback that the pressure to sort out student choices before registration filled created some frustration. We have worked to space out the registration process a bit more this year and hope you will mark the following dates on your calendar!

  • January 27th, 2020: Session descriptions posted
  • (Time to check in with students)
  • March 2nd, 2020: Registration open (up to 40 students per school)
  • March 30th, 2020: Registration open for schools that want to add additional students (beyond the 40).
    • Larger schools typically have developed a process to select the 40 students who are able to be registered in the first round (student leadership, fundraising, etc.). We encourage you to think about this now!
  • April 10th, 2020: Last day to register
  • April 14th, 2020: Final lists sent to schools for review
  • April 17th, 2020: Last day to make changes to registration
  • April 20th, 2020: File with T-shirt order and nametags sent to UMaine.
    • While you can substitute students after this date, we will ask that they take the nametag and t-shirt of the student they are replacing. Late registration may be possible if there is space, though we can’t guarantee a personalized name tag and t-shirt.

Teacher Leaders

Applications Due Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019

Link to Application: http://bit.ly/MLTI-sc-2020-teacher-app

Teacher Leaders will:

  • select the conference theme,
  • develop/lead UBER Session,
  • select session proposals, a -shirt winner, and student band(s)
  • setup before the conference, lead/facilitate during the day, and clean up after the event

Teacher Leaders will meet virtually ten (10) times and will need to have four (4) days outside of the classroom. Dates are below. Teacher leaders will receive travel reimbursement (mileage and hotel) and meals when they gather in person. They will also be eligible to earn up to 45 contact hours for their participation throughout the year.

  • Virtual Meetings on Wednesdays 3-4:30pm: 10/30, 12/18, 1/8, 1/22, 2/5, 2/26, 3/25, 4/8, 4/29, 5/13
  • All Day Meetings: Friday, December 6th, 2019 and Friday, March 13th, 2020 (location TBD)
  • Conference Setup: Wednesday, May 20th, 2019 (University of Maine in Orono)
  • Conference Leadership: Thursday, May 21st, 2020 (University of Maine in Orono)

Call for Proposals

Sessions will be one-hour long, must involve some form of creating, making, and doing, and should leave participants excited about what they learned and eager to share their experiences with others. Presentations that incorporate students as leaders or co-leaders with educators will be given priority!

Important Dates

  • Monday, November 4th, 2019 – Call for Proposals open and theme announced
  • Tuesday, January 7th, 2020 – Proposals due
  • Monday, January 13th, 2020 – Sessions selected
  • Friday, January 17th, 2020 – Sessions confirmed by presenters
  • Monday, January 27th, 2020 – Sessions posted

Spread the word – if you know of someone doing fantastic work involving technology with making, doing, or storytelling please encourage them to submit a proposal or send an email with suggestions to MLTI.Project@maine.gov!

MLTI T-Shirt Design Competition

We encourage all students to submit designs to the MLTI T-shirt Design Competition. A panel of teacher leaders will narrow the list to five possible options and then will encourage other students to vote to pick the winner. Up to twenty (20) student artists will also win free registration to the conference.

Eligibility requirements, submission guidelines, and judging criteria will be posted on the DOE website in November.

Important Dates

  • Monday, November 4th, 2019 – Competition begins
  • Monday, February 24th, 2020 – T-shirt designs due
  • Monday, March 2nd, 2020 – T-shirt voting begins (with registration)
  • Friday, April 10th, 2020 – T-shirt winner announced

Musical Performance Opportunities

We will be looking for students to perform the National Anthem as well as music during other parts of the day—such as the UBER Session. More information will be available in November!

Important Dates

  • Monday, November 4th, 2019 – Call open and theme announced.
  • Monday, February 24th, 2020 – Applications due
  • Friday, April 10th, 2020—Schools notified of application status.

Transportation

We encourage you to start planning for conference transportation soon and to consider sharing buses with other attending schools. If you need assistance with this, please contact MLTI.Project@maine.gov

For more information or answers to questions, please contact MLTI.Project@maine.gov or visit the MLTI Student Conference website.

MLTI Bridge Year

The Maine Department of Education, through the Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI), has been providing 7th and 8th grade students and teachers access to, and support for, educational technology since 2002. While the goal has remained constant – provide State support for access to technology-enhanced education experiences for all students – the program has changed in many ways and will continue to grow and evolve in the future. The Department remains committed to this goal.  

As many school administrative units (SAUs) are aware, the final contracts for the existing MLTI program are set to expire on June 30, 2020. During the 2020-2021 academic year, the Department has designed a “bridge year,” to provide support for devices, infrastructure, and professional learning while we continue to work with stakeholders to design what is the next phase of the MLTI program. With the support of the 129th legislature, the Department has designed the bridge year to mitigate and minimize disruption to SAUs. The details of the bridge year are the following: 

  • The Department will purchase all of the MLTI devices at the end of the lease. 
  • The Department will transfer ownership to SAUs in cohort 4 (lease begun in 2016) for 7th & 8th grade and staff devices in July 2020. JAMF licenses on these devices will continue at no charge to SAUs through June 30, 2021. Systems Engineering will continue to support the WiFi infrastructure of 7th and 8th grade classrooms during the bridge year. 
  • SAUs who are currently leasing additional devices (elementary or high school student and staff devices) from the Department will have the option to buy out their devices from the Department at the 2015 rates, $28/ iPad and $48/ laptop in July 2020. JAMF licenses will be available on these devices for the cost of $6/ iOS device and $12/MacOS.
  • No new grants will be awarded during the 2020-2021 academic year. 
  • The Department will provide statewide and regional professional learning,  
  • The Department will host the MLTI student conference in May 2021.  

Over the past several months, the Department has hosted Think Tank conversations regionally around the state to reflect on the past 17 years of the MLTI program and envision innovative ideas about the possibilities for the next 20 years of the program. We will continue to use the additional time afforded by the “bridge year” to meet with stakeholders throughout the state. Discussions will include topics such as portable computer devices, device management and deployment, software, wireless networking, technical support, and professional development, as well as financial models to support these efforts. The Department will also convene a workgroup to synthesize this information and help to create a plan for the state. 

Below is the estimated timeline for MLTI through 2021. 

  • June 2019 – August 2020: The Department holds meetings with stakeholders regarding the future of MLTI (post SY 2020-2021) and convenes a workgroup to develop a State plan 
  • July 2020 – June 30, 2021: Bridge Year 
  • October 2020: The Department announces plan for MLTI post SY 2020-2021 (including the release of any necessary RFPs) 
  • July 2021: launch of MLTI 2.0 

For more information about the Maine Learning Technology Initiative, contact Beth Lambert, beth.lambert@maine.gov, 207-624-6642. 

Next Think Tank Scheduled for September 30!

In the ongoing effort to engage with all stakeholders, the Department of Education will hold its next Think Tank at the Schoodic Institute in Winter Harbor on September 30.  Participants can choose  from four topics, and can attend morning or afternoon sessions only on one topic, or attend both sessions and discuss two topics! Topics include special education, defining school success, educator excellence (recruiting and retaining) and MLTI.  Lunch will be provided, and the think tank is FREE, however we do ask for participants to register, for planning purposes.  Please see the Registration Link for more information and to register. We look forward to hearing from you!

Educators Invited to Write Maine’s Computer Science Plan. Application Due Monday, July 29th!

The Maine Department of Education is hosting a Computer Science Summit, where educators will create a statewide plan for Pre-K to 12 Computer Science. This plan will help coordinate and guide the efforts of many stakeholders, and serve as a set of recommendations in a report to the Legislature in January 2020. The two-day event will be held on Monday, August 5th and Tuesday, August 6th, 2019 at the RiSE Center at the University of Maine in Orono.

In order to make sure we have a diverse set of perspectives and all the needed knowledge, the Department will be limiting the participation to 40 educators, who will be selected based on a short application process. The goal is to have representation from various geographic areas, content areas, and grade-levels to shape this plan over the course of the two-day Summit. Additionally, the Department hopes to have representation from district and school leadership.

The application to participate can be located using this link or by copying and pasting this link into your browser: https://forms.gle/3EGengsXFyMNtgLt7

The application is due by close of business Monday, July 29th and invites will be sent on Tuesday, July 30th, 2019. 

Reimbursement for mileage, overnight accommodations, and meal costs are available for eligible participants.

The Department will also be inviting a variety of stakeholders to participate in specific ways in this process before, during, and after the Summit, however, this two-day gathering is primarily designed for educators to create the statewide plan.

Who: Maine Pre-K to 12 Classroom Teachers and Administrators (limited by application process)

What: Creating a Statewide Computer Science Plan

Where: RiSE Center in Estabrooke Hall at the University of Maine in Orono

When: Monday 8/5 from 10am – 8pm AND Tuesday 8/6 from 9am – 5pm

Application (https://forms.gle/3EGengsXFyMNtgLt7) due Monday, July 29th, 2019.

If you are unable to participate in the two-day event, but would like to share input, please review the digital workspace educators will use during the planning process. There are links to share your questions, ideas, feedback, and notes at the top of most pages. Click here for the link to the Computer Science 2019 State Planning Digital Workspace or copy and paste this link into your browser: https://sites.google.com/view/mainedoecsplanning2019/home

For answers to questions or more information, please reach out to Beth Lambert, Coordinator of Secondary Education and Integrated Instruction at Beth.Lambert@maine.gov or 207-624-6642.