Media Release: Governor Mills Announces New Initiative to Bring Mobile Computer Science Labs to All Maine Schools

Governor Janet Mills today announced the launch of a new Maine Department of Education (DOE) initiative that will provide every Maine public school with a free mobile computer science lab. The effort, funded through the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund, will enable all Maine students to access high-quality learning experiences that provide real-word training in robotics, programming, augmented and virtual reality, coding, and hardware.

In July, Governor Mills joined governors from across the country in signing a bipartisan national compact on computer science education. As part of the agreement unveiled at the National Governors Association’s Summer Meeting in Portland, all 50 governors pledged to work to expand K-12 computer science education options in their states. The DOE has a comprehensive computer science education plan guided by seven key principles.

“Our economy increasingly depends on workers with training in computer science. This initiative will ensure that students across our state are prepared to succeed in the jobs of the future,” said Governor Janet Mills. “My administration will continue to make sure that all Maine students have a chance to acquire digital literacy skills.”

“Maine is leading the nation by providing equipment to our schools statewide to ensure that every student has a meaningful computer science education with real-world applications,” said Pender Makin, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Education. “These mobile computer science labs will provide every student in Maine, across all grade levels and subject areas, with learning experiences that prepare them for future success.”

“This opportunity from the Mills administration and the Maine Department of Education is a game-changer for the students of Maine. For the first time, all Maine kids will have equal access to a high-quality computer science curriculum and tools in their schools. I am incredibly happy to see that equity is the centerpiece of this new initiative and cannot wait to see what happens next,” said Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) Maine Chapter President and 8th Grade Computer Science Teacher Sean Wasson.

Schools will be able to order one of three mobile lab options: Robotics and Programming, Augmented and Virtual Reality, and Coding and Hardware. Each lab contains computer science equipment valued at $5,000 and is designed to be integrated into any content area and skill level. Additionally, the initiative will make available professional learning opportunities for educators tailored to each computer science topic area.

The Maine Department of Education is reaching out to Maine superintendents with detailed information about how to secure mobile labs for schools in their district. More information about each program area can be found on the Maine Department of Education website.

Commissioner Makin, Senator King, Students Participate in a Robotics Competition to Launch 19th Annual MLTI Student Conference

Maine Department of Education Commissioner Pender Makin and Senator Angus King kicked off the 19th annual MLTI (Maine Learning Technology Initiative) Student Conference today by participating in a live robotics competition with students at Nokomis Regional Middle High School.

Makin participated in person while King entered the competition remotely from his office in Washington, D.C. Student teams from schools across the state also competed to see who could get their robot to complete the skills tests the fastest, including nationally-ranked basketball phenom and Nokomis freshman, Copper Flagg. The morning launch session also included a welcome video from Governor Mills and a high-altitude balloon launch into space.

This year’s MLTI student conference was the highest attended in MLTI’s 19-year history with 55 schools, 5,672 students, and 696 educators participating. The theme of this year’s conference was MLTI Launches Space2Connect and included interpretations of space and connection as they relate to Maine students and their use of technology. The new virtual, classroom-based session style allowed students to attend in a classroom setting where they could learn, practice, and create.

Following the morning launch event, workshop leaders taught the conference participants new skills, provided time for students to practice these new skills, and then supported them as they created something new with what they learned. This new design allowed students to work together as they explored new resources and applications, created with new digital mediums, and collaborated to complete tasks.

Every school also received shirts for all participants that were designed by an MLTI student, and a 3-D printed medallion that traveled to space and back.

Spring Training Continues in April – Check Out This Lineup of MLTI Professional Learning Offerings

Active learning, student engagement, technology integration, digital instructional design, and digital citizenship and online safety are the main topics for an ongoing professional learning series offered by the MLTI Ambassadors. This series features daily offerings that can be attended live via Zoom and are open to all interested educators. The sessions are now available as asynchronous versions through our website. To attend one of the live sessions via Zoom, be sure to register through this April calendar. Please note that the times of these offerings vary from day to day. Asynchronous versions of these sessions will be available through MLTI Professional Learning as well as the MLTI Youtube channel. 

Some topical offerings:  

MondayMonday – Technology Integration with Rob Dominick 

The Technology Integration series has dug into some data describing the effect of technology in the classroom, discussed the foundational integration strategies of TPACK and SAMR, and introduced three other useful strategies of TIM, PICRAT, and Triple E.  

Coming up in April, we will continue to discuss those strategies by analyzing each one and looking into what they actually look like in practice in the classroom. The series will culminate in the last week of April by evaluating some example lesson plans which integrate technology so that participants can apply that skill to their own planning. 

To find the previous professional development sessions in this series, and receive contact hours for them, please visit our YouTube playlist. 

TuesdayTuesday Tech – Student Engagement with Erik Wade 

The student engagement series has been engaging audiences far and wide with professional development about integrating graphic design, inquiry, citizen science, and 3D design and printing. If you would like to view these past professional development opportunities, you can find them by clicking this link 

Coming up in April, we will explore engaging students through virtual reality, math and science simulations, and the use of technology in outdoor education and agriculture.    

WednesdayWednesdays with Werner – Digital Citizenship & Online Safety with Jonathan R. Werner 

This six-part series on Digital Citizenship and Online Safety will draw on the incredible resources Common Sense Education (CSE) has curated to provide educators with a framework for and tools to teach students about Digital Citizenship. April will include the last two offerings: Relationships and Communication (Week 5) and Cyberbullying, Digital Drama, and Hate Speech (Week 6).

Please note, educators can choose any or all of these sessions and do not need to be able to attend all six. After April Break, we will tackle the sixth CSE focus area, News and Media Literacy, in a multi-week series focusing on issues such as Finding Credible News, the Four Factors of Fair Use, and Creator’s Rights and Responsibilities. 

ThursdayThursday – Digital Instructional Design with Kate Meyer 

This series of workshops will explore the creation and implementation of high-quality, engaging, interactive digital learning experiences for your students. Each week we will explore a new digital strategy that you can easily implement into any unit of study. This month we will be exploring Digital Poetry, Design Thinking Infographics, and Podcasting. 

If you missed March’s workshops on Hexagonal Thinking, Silent Discussions, or Curation Projects, you can view them asynchronously on MLTI’s YouTube channel on the Digital Instructional Design playlist. 

FridayFriday – Active Learning with Holly Graffam 

The first series of workshops focused on integrating Problem-Based Learning in the classroom, including an overview of Problem-Based Learning as well explored applications across a variety of content areas from literacy to science.  

Beginning in April, Computer Science across the curriculum will be the subject of the second series of workshops. Sessions will discuss the critical need for computer science in our classrooms and examine engaging, creative ways to integrate computer science into your existing curriculums. 


MLTI Student Conference Sessions Announced!

The 19th Annual MLTI Student Conference will be held virtually on Thursday, May 26, 2022, from 8:30am-2:00pm, and will be open to all MLTI 7th and 8th grade students. MLTI is excited to share the conference sessions for this exciting and innovative day!

Registration for the 2022 MLTI virtual student conference is now open until April 8, 2022. Please select a lead teacher from your MLTI school to fill out the online registration form. We will be asking for lead teacher contact information, school information, as well as a physical shipping address so we can deliver or ship conference materials directly to the attending school. We will also need the total number of students attending in each grade, and the totals for shirt sizes. We ask that schools complete the registration form by April 8, 2022. For questions regarding registration please reach out to Brandi Cota at Brandi.M.Cota@Maine.Gov.

Session Information Now Available
For a list of the sessions available to MLTI students, please visit our website! Once you have registered for the conference, we will send you a link to sign up for the sessions of your school’s choice the week of April 11th. If you have questions about sessions, please join us on Wednesday, April 6, at 3:30pm for a session Q&A. Sign up here!

Session Style
We have redesigned the conference to be classroom-based. Workshop leaders will teach your class new skills, provide time for students to practice these new skills, and then support them as they create something new with what they have learned. This new design will allow students to work together as they explore new resources and applications, create with new digital mediums, and collaborate to complete tasks. For more information on our new conference model please watch our video!

This virtual conference, as with past years, will be hosted on Zoom. The sessions will be 90 minutes, with the morning session running from 9:30am-11:00am, and the afternoon session running from 12:00pm-1:30pm. All necessary materials will be provided to schools before the conference so students will have them to create with during the conference.

Important Dates

  • March 10th Registration Opened
  • April 1st Sessions Announced
  • April 6th Session Q&A with MLTI
  • April 8th Registration Closes
  • April 11th Session Sign Up Opens-Form will be sent to registered schools
  • April 28th Session Sign Up Closes
  • May 12th Session Assignments Finalized

Further Information
For more information, please visit the MLTI Student Conference page or contact Brandi Cota at Brandi.M.Cota@Maine.Gov.

Registration is Now Open for the 2022 MLTI Virtual Student Conference

Registration is now open for the 2022 MLTI Virtual Student Conference! MLTI wants all 7 & 8th grade students to join this innovative conference! This year’s virtual conference will have a brand-new, classroom-centered approach in an effort to make it more collaborative for students and teachers to join sessions together as a class during the school day.

Session Style

Sessions will be delivered directly into your classroom where the workshop leader will act as a type of guest teacher. Workshop leaders will teach the class new skills, provide time for students to practice these new skills, and then support them as they create something new with what they have learned. Check out our video with different scenarios to help you plan!

Teacher Role

Teachers can sign up the entire 7th and 8th grade from their school.  Then MLTI will send registered schools the sessions to choose from. Next, you can divide students up so that one classroom is participating in a session. All the teachers need to do is share the session live in the classroom and support students as they learn, practice, and create!

Session Times & Materials

The sessions will be 90 minutes with the morning session running from 9:30am-11:00am, and the afternoon session running from 12:00pm-1:30pm. All necessary materials will be provided to schools before the conference so students will have them to create with during the conference.

The 19th Annual MLTI Student Conference will be held virtually on Thursday, May 26, 2022 from 8:30am-2:00pm, and will be open to all MLTI 7th and 8th grade students

For questions, please reach out to Brandi Cota-MLTI Project Manager