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

ACTEM Honors Amanda Nguyen with ACHIEVE Award

Amanda Nguyen, the Program Director for the Centers of Innovation at Thomas College has been recognized by the Association of Computer Technology Educators of Maine (ACTEM) with their ACHIEVE award.

ACTEM’s ACHIEVE Award recognizes professionals who effectively apply available technology now. They move forward utilizing current best practices and cutting edge approaches. They see students as real people by activating student voice and choice in education. They teach through relationships- inspiring, encouraging, and nurturing. These professionals also recognize that further change is necessary, but understand that it is a process for all stakeholders. They realize that teacher and student empowerment is the key element to technology integration. ACHIEVE Educators expect success and motivate through awareness and access to information.

At Thomas College, Amanda has the opportunity to connect with students and educators across the state through various programs (such as the college’s virtual Thomas Cup) — but has also embraced a new opportunity to lead innovative projects designed to increase the employability of Thomas students, as well as the career aspirations of future students. One colleague said, “Amanda has reimagined our whole professional and career development experience. Students have opportunities to tackle real world problems, work with employers, and build strong resumes for the future. She is doing this by working with colleagues across departments and with employer partners across the State. Her work really exemplifies what is possible at Thomas College.”

Additionally, Amanda has served on the ACTEM Conference Committee and is excited to co-chair the committee in the coming year. She also serves as an ISTE Community Leader, and enjoys the opportunity to collaborate with educators across Maine (and the globe) to support learning and teaching with technology.

At a small gathering at Thomas College in early November, the ACHIEVE Award Committee Co-chairs, Jamie Ela and Deb White, along with Executive Director Gary Lanoie and ACTEM President Will Backman, presented Amanda with the award. Bette Manchester and Jim Moulton, along with several of Amanda’s colleagues from Thomas, were able to join the celebration as well.

At the event, Thomas College President Laurie Lachance, said: “We’re so proud of the work that you do. You’ve worked with everyone in this room, and you’ve set a new standard for us, and are taking us to a level that we’ve only dreamed of. Thank you for your work – very well deserved.”

ACTEM Award - Thomas College group shot

ACTEM’s ACHIEVE winners receive a personal cash award of $2,000 along with a $1,000 gift certificate to be used by their school for technology related purchases. They are also awarded the Making IT Happen award from ISTE. The Making IT Happen award honors outstanding educators and leaders who demonstrate extraordinary commitment, leadership, courage and persistence in improving digital learning opportunities for students.

Celebrating the Voices of Computer Science Education in Maine 

In celebration of CSEd week and another successful year championing computer science education in Maine, we asked teachers and students to share their experiences with us. Click on the video to hear what they had to say! #MaineTeachesCS 

Interested in learning more about computer science education in Maine? Want to get involved? Check out our website to explore ways that Maine is expanding access to and participation in computer science education. For more information, contact Emma-Marie Banks, Computer Science Specialist at emma-marie.banks@maine.gov. 

 

 

ME, VT, and NH Consortia Saves Maine Schools over $73,000 on Seesaw Licensing

The Association of Computer Technology Educators of Maine (ACTEM) joined a 3-state-consortia this spring to offer lower pricing on Seesaw for Schools licensing for Maine districts, which has saved over $73,000 in Seesaw licensing costs for participating Maine schools.

A popular software system used by many districts throughout Maine, Seesaw offers a simple way for teachers and students to record and share what’s happening in the classroom and gives students a place to document their learning, be creative, and learn how to use technology.

The Seesaw consortia started with former Maine Department of Education staff member Jeff Mao, who is now the Executive Director of Vita-Learn, a Vermont based organization similar to ACTEM. Mao approached both ACTEM and representatives from New Hampshire with the idea of offering combined licensing in all three states. The consortia’s shared goal is to obtaining greater numbers of licenses by combining orders, which offers better pricing on Seesaw licensing for all.

For further questions about the 3-state consortia, contact ACTEM.