Start a Student Leadership Ambassadors of Maine (SLAM) Club

Are you looking for a way to engage with your students? And for ways for your students to engage safely with other students throughout the state?

Checkout this free, interactive, student leadership opportunity that requires no prior experience for students and staff.

Weekly chances for students to win prizes and opportunities to earn tech tools (mics, webcams, 3D printers) for your school!

The newly imagined MLTI 2.0 (Maine Learning Technology Initiative) invites interested educators and students to join others from around the state and start a SLAM, Student Leadership Ambassadors of Maine, club in their school. This initiative will be guided by Kern Kelley, who, along with his trailblazing Tech Sherpas, has been a national leader in student agency. Once a week, each SLAM group will virtually join other SLAMmers from across the state. During these meet-ups, students will learn presentation and tech skills and will produce a livestream tech help show on our youtube channel.

MLTI 2.0 hopes to have SLAM clubs in every school in Maine. To help you get started, MLTI will provide your club with either a live-stream webcam or recording microphone. There will be more opportunities to earn additional equipment for continued participation.

We hope you will consider starting a SLAM club at your school or that you will forward this to someone in your school who might be interested. To register your SLAM club please complete this form.

To check out our weekly SLAM show, visit our youtube channel, or watch our introductory video here.

To learn more about MLTI 2.0 SLAM visit our webpage.

For more information on SLAM or other MLTI 2.0 initiatives, contact Beth Lambert, Director of Innovative Teaching and Learning at beth.lambert@maine.gov.

Maine DOE MLTI Team Presents at ACTEM 21 Annual Conference

The 34th annual ACTEM Conference was a virtual event for the second year in a row and offered over fifty sessions from a variety of Maine educators, educational consultants, and edtech vendors. The Maine Department of Education’s MLTI team offered eleven sessions that showcased their diversity of knowledge and experience.

On Thursday afternoon, Digital Learning Specialists, Jon Graham and Emma Banks, led a “Meet the MLTI Ambassadors” session, which provided an overview of professional learning under MLTI 2.0. The Ambassadors (Rob Dominick, Holly Graffam, Kate Meyer, Erik Wade and Jonathan R. Werner) were able to introduce themselves, discuss what drew them to the position, and each shared some aspects of their role within MLTI. The recording of the session has been made publicly available by ACTEM and is available here for viewing:

The ten sessions hosted by the Ambassadors were largely developed from their classroom experiences and several drew heavily from the realities of the past two school years. Kate Meyer’s, “Let’s Talk: Using Parlay Ideas to Practice Civil Discourse,” and Holly Graffam’s, “EdPuzzle, FlipGrid & HyperDocs to Build a Video/Audio Library,” spoke to apps that they used regularly in both in-person and hybrid education settings. Holly also tapped a Technology Engineering teacher, Scott Daigle, to co-present, “Add a Little Fruit to Your Tech Diet with Pear Deck.” Erik Wade, the only Minecraft certified Educator in the state of Maine, brought his expertise to his offering, “Engage, Explore, and Create with Minecraft Education Edition.” Rob Dominick, a Google certified educator and trainer, presented sessions on two popular Google tools in, “Making G Sheets FUNCTIONal,” and, “Powering Up Google Slides.” Aside from the exploration of specific tools, Erik Wade blended science and outdoor education in his sessions, “Engaging Students through Citizen Science” and, “Authentic Integration of Technology and the Outdoors.”

Two additional sessions, facilitated by Jonathan R. Werner, arose from his experience with a pair of concepts that have proven highly successful in shaping educators’ practice both during the pandemic and going forward. The first, “Ready to LAUNCH: Bringing Design Thinking to Your Classroom,” offered educators a glimpse of how Jon Spencer and A.J. Juliani’s, LAUNCH Cycle, with its reliance on iterative thinking and prototyping practices, might apply to a range of classrooms and disciplines. His second session, “Irresistible: Fighting Back Against Addictive Tech,” focused on ways educators can help address the tensions that emerge when our reliance on tech to facilitate teaching and learning bumps up against the tech industry’s aggressive efforts to distract and entertain its consumers.

All of the MLTI Ambassadors’ sessions, as well as dozens of other sessions from ACTEM `21, (plus over a hundred sessions from previous conferences) are available through the ACTEM website for members.

ACTEM’s Vendor Expo Hall provided another opportunity for the MLTI team to connect with some educators from across the state. The MLTI “table” featured a Bitmoji classroom inspired space that offered links to some of the key programs tied to the team. During the afternoon expo time, a rotating group of Ambassadors joined in-person. Some educators joined and made introductions in the chat, while others came right in with their cameras on for some face-to-face discussion. It was a relaxed and welcoming environment. This proved to be another vital step in making contact to educators, especially those at the MLTI Ambassadors’ respective schools, as the MLTI 2.0 professional learning program comes together.

The MLTI Ambassadors are available to provide professional learning to all MLTI schools.  If you are not sure which Ambassador has been assigned your school, check out our interactive map.  If you are interested in connecting with an MLTI Ambassador, contact information is here.  If you are looking to learn more about MLTI 2.0, please check out our website.

Woodland Consolidated School Awarded Technology Grant 

Woodland Consolidated School, a kindergarten through 8th grade school in Northern Maine, is about to be the beneficiary of a major technology upgrade in its classrooms!

Technology Director Lisa Milliard applied for a Rural Utilities Services grant to acquire much needed technology for her school. The Rural Utilities Service is part of the Rural Development division of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). Through the Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant that Ms. Millard applied for, Woodlands Consolidated School will be receiving 65-inch interactive displays for every classroom at the school. 

Principal Gillian Laird-Sleeper said that the driving force for the upgrade came from Milliard because she “felt that the school needed some updated technology both in implementation and delivery of lessons, as well as student use of technology.” 

Sixth-grade teacher Sandy Swan, and 7th-grade teacher Cody Tompkins, will be just two of the many beneficiaries of this technology upgrade. They are both thrilled about what the interactive displays will do for their classrooms.

Swan mentioned that she’s hoping the tools that come with the new displays will allow for more creativity for her and her students. While her current board allows her to write, save, and erase, she said, “I cannot manipulate what I put on the board whatsoever.” She hopes this new technology will allow her “to complete lessons more effectively.”  

Tompkins agrees and described the impact of the interactive display as a “true game changer” for his classroom. “A smart board would allow for home to school access for the students who are remote either due to quarantine or exposure to COVID-19,” he says. He also noted that the interactive features would allow more manipulation of materials like graphing in math, diagramming sentence structure in English, and highlighting vocabulary in reading.  

The application of the interactive displays will certainly serve the Woodland Consolidated School staff and students well. As Swan put it, “I cannot wait to see what the tools, gallery and multi-touch options hold in store for us.” 

For more information (requirements, terms, application process) about USDA Rural Utilities Service grants visit: https://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/telecommunications-programs/distance-learning-telemedicine-grants. Grant applications are accepted through grants.gov.

MEDIA RELEASE: Maine Launches MLTI 2.0 by Welcoming 5 Regional MLTI Ambassadors to Support Professional Learning Plan

As part of the official launch of the Maine Department of Education’s (DOE) Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI) 2.0, a team of distinguished educators – “MLTI Ambassadors” – have joined the DOE to help bring technology integration in Maine schools to the next level through comprehensive professional learning and consistent, ongoing support for educators.

Distinguished educators are Maine educators hired as DOE staff, on loan from Maine schools for a period of two years, to bring their expertise and experience as a resource and partner in initiatives of the Maine Department of Education.

With a long history of technology integration in education in Maine schools, MLTI is now in its 19th year and has evolved into a 2.0 version designed by an MLTI Advisory Board comprised of local educators and experts with experience working in schools. The board worked diligently this past year, along-side Department staff, to develop MLTI 2.0 with the goal of increasing Maine’s digital learning by supporting the acquisition of the latest equipment and software, providing rigorous professional learning resources, delivering state-level technology support, and enhancing local management efforts through systematic monitoring and support grounded in continuous process improvement.

As part of MLTI 2.0, the Ambassadors have joined the initiative to provide instructional coaching and deliver professional learning experiences to MLTI-participating schools and are now a part of the Maine DOE Team! They each have a list of schools in an MLTI Ambassador Region where they have begun working directly with teachers to provide instructional coaching and professional learning.

Meet the MLTI Ambassadors!

Rob Dominick
Contact: robert.dominick@maine.gov

Rob Dominick comes to the MLTI Team from Brewer Community School, where he served as a seventh-grade math teacher.  He has been teaching for more than fifteen years, starting his career at Sebasticook Middle School and later Nokomis High School in RSU19.  While he has primarily taught mathematics at the middle level, Rob has taught multiple subjects and taught at grades ranging from fifth to twelfth.  His interest in technology integration lead him to pursue a Masters in Learning & Technology from Western Governor’s University as well as Google certifications as an educator and a trainer.  He is also a member of Kappa Delta Pi, the International Honors Society in Education, and has shown a dedication to innovating the landscape of education in Maine through his involvement in MEVLC (Maine Virtual Learning Consortium), Introduction to Experiential Teaching through Technology and MOOSE (Maine Online Opportunities for Sustained Education) in addition to presenting at conferences both in Maine and Illinois.  Rob also has extensive basketball and baseball coaching experience at Nokomis, Hampden Academy and Brewer High School.  He lives in Brewer with his wife, Sarah, who is a high school math teacher, and their two young sons.

Holly Graffam
Contact: holly.graffam@maine.gov

Holly Graffam comes to the MLTI Team from Scarborough Middle School, where she served as a technology instructional coach.  She has fourteen years of experience at the middle level and has taught every core subject.  Holly has taught digital literacy and is a Common Sense Media educator.  She also has extensive training and experience in computer science and served on the Maine Department of Education’s Computer Science Work Group which developed a statewide plan in 2019.  Holly received her Masters in Teaching Methodology from the University of New England and a Certificate of Advanced Study in Educational Leadership from the University of Southern Maine.  She has participated in Educate Maine’s Education Leadership Experience and completed a Curriculum Director internship.  She lives in Falmouth.

Kathryn Meyer
Contact: kathryn.meyer@maine.gov

Kate Meyer comes to the MLTI Team from Mt. Desert High School, where she served as an English Language Arts and Design Thinking teacher.  She has been teaching for more than twenty years.  She was named the 2020 Hancock County Teacher of the Year.  Kate has earned Masters in both Educational Leadership and Literacy Education from the University of Maine at Orono and she is a National Board Certified teacher.  Kate has extensive training and experience in design thinking, adventure education and student-centered coaching. During her time at MDI, Kate served as an advisor for Operation Breaking Stereotypes, spearheaded the innovative Island Pathways alternative education program and has been the co-teacher of the Eastern Maine Skippers Program.  She lives in Ellsworth.

Erik Wade
Contact: erik.wade@maine.gov

Erik Wade comes to the MLTI Team from Warsaw Middle School, where he served as a seventh and eighth grade science teacher.  He has been teaching for twenty years and has taught math and science at Hope Elementary, Windsor Elementary and Spurwink prior to coming to MSAD53.  He has worked with fifth grade through eighth grade.  He holds a Masters in Instructional Technology from the University of Maine at Orono and is a Apple Certified Teacher.  Erik has always looked to be part of innovative technology cohorts like the MARTLs (MLTI Apple Refresh Teacher Leader) and the Introduction to Experiential Teaching through Technology.  He has collaborated with a number of organizations such as Maine Math & Science Alliance, the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, Maine Lakes Conservancy and Institute and Sebasticook Valley Health.  His other educational passion is agriculture education and he has won the National Excellence in Teaching about Agriculture Award, Knox County Soil and Water Teacher of the Year and the Maine State Agriculture Teacher of the Year.  Erik has also served as a baseball, basketball and soccer coach in the past.  He lives in Troy with his wife, Kimberly, who is a teacher at Nokomis Middle School.

Jonathan R. Werner
Contact: jonathan.werner@maine.gov

Jonathan R. Werner comes to the MLTI Team from Cape Elizabeth Middle School, where he served as the technology integrator.  He has fifteen years of experience in education and worked as a technology integrator and a Library and Instructional Technology Specialist at Cape Elizabeth Middle and High School.  Prior to that he taught English and Social Studies at Gorham High School and at Conestoga High School in Berwyn, PA.  Jonathan holds a master’s in social studies and English Language Education from the University of Pennsylvania.  Prior to working in schools, Jonathan received a J.D. from Columbia Law School and practiced for five years, focusing on education law.  He has also served as the ISTE Librarians Network President-Elect and President from 2016 to 2018.  Jonathan has presented at both large-scale events like ISTE, MassCue, NEISTE and EdTechTeacher events as well as events around Maine.  He is both passionate and has extensive experience in areas such as rethinking professional learning, reimaging libraries and learning commons, digital footprints, screen addiction, MakerSpaces and MakerEd.  He lives in Portland with his wife, Rebecca, and three children.

The Maine DOE MLTI team works hand-in-hand with the MLTI Ambassadors to support the MLTI professional learning plan in addition to the many other components MLTI 2.0. For more information about MLTI 2.0 and its evolution visit the Maine DOE Website or contact Beth Lambert, Director of Innovative Teaching and Learning.

MEDIA RELEASE: Maine DOE Hosts Students Statewide for Virtual MLTI Student Conference

Maine students and teachers came together yesterday for a day of learning, collaboration, and innovative thinking at the 18th Annual Maine Learning Through Technology (MLTI) Student Conference.

Student Project: Maine Moose
Student Project: Maine Moose

Hosted by the Maine Department of Education (DOE) in partnership with CATES, the Conference was one of the largest synchronous student learning tech conference in the history of the world, with students from across Maine tuning in virtually to gain insights into the challenges facing Mainers during remote learning, how to develop innovations through peer collaboration to solve complex problems, and begin to develop the mindset of the social entrepreneur.

Student Project: You are important
Student Project: You are important

In addition to participating in a number of innovative synchronous Block Sessions and asynchronous activities using Gathertown as a virtual conference platform to learn new skills and deepen knowledge, conference participants also had the opportunity to work in teams to develop a product or innovation that addresses their chosen challenge (Mental Health Support; Equity in Education; Peer Collaboration; New Ways to Learn).

“Get ready to be REALLY creative today! Be bold with your ideas and be guided by your wildest imagination,” said Education Commissioner Pender Makin in her opening remarks. “Design and innovate as if the future depends upon in. Because in so many ways, it truly does.”

“[The pandemic] has given you a front row seat that will inform your experience with this year’s innovation challenge,” added Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah in his remarks during the conference.

Students’ groups “pitched” their product to conference participants, who voted for their favorite in each challenge category – 38 hours of innovative pitches were created on flipgrid!

“Your pitches demonstrate what amazing thinkers, problem solvers, designers, and engineers, you all are,” said Maine DOE Director of Innovative Teaching and Learning Beth Lambert. “Your work today and in the innovation challenge will lead the way for our state and the entire nation when it comes to redesigning remote learning and the shape of our public education system!”

Pre-Conference students got the opportunity to learn about the different challenges related to remote learning during the pandemic and their implications for Maine DECD’s 2030 Vision + Goals so they could research interesting reports, design frameworks, innovation protocols, videos, and other information related to their challenge.

After the Conference each team of students that wishes to continue on to Part II of the $10,000 Challenge is matched with a mentor to further develop their innovation or venture and submit “a demo”, “pitch deck”, and/or executive summary for their product. Challenge Grand Prize winners will be announced at special online awards ceremony featuring UMaine innovation leaders, and invited to continue developing their innovation through the CATES Center for Social Innovation Summer Incubator program in prep for a fall launch.

For more information about the conference and the Innovation Challenge visit the MLTI website: https://mlticonference.com/