Spring Training Begins TODAY 3/7 with an All-Star Lineup of Professional Learning Offerings

Active learning, student engagement, technology integration, digital instructional design, digital citizenship, and online safety are the main topics for an ongoing professional learning series offered by the MLTI Ambassadors starting on March 7. These daily offerings are offered live and open to all interested educators. The sessions will also be available in asynchronous versions on our website.

To attend one of the live sessions via zoom, be sure to register through this March Calendar or through the Maine DOE PD 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.

MondayMonday – Technology Integration with Rob Dominick 

The first series of workshops will focus on effectively integrating technology into the classroom. We will look at surveyed data on technology integration and learn about the common flaws and beliefs with the integration. Then, we will explore a variety of strategies for integrating technology so we can find commonalities and synthesize them towards your own needs. Finally, there will be a chance to evaluate sample lessons and create your own to implement.

The second series will dig into digital portfolios for students. We will cover exactly what they are, their intended purpose and the process of preparing and designing them.

Available every Monday in March! Check here for times and dates.

TuesdayTuesday Tech – Student Engagement with Erik Wade

Every week, we will discuss a broad technology integration idea that could be used to increase student engagement. These workshops will look at the big idea, break it down into easy-to-understand pieces, look at examples, and talk about potential starting points for integration into the classroom.

Available every Tuesday in March! Check here for times and dates.

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.  CSE divides these resources into six areas. After an introductory session about CSE and the role of educators in teaching Digital Citizenship, the next five sessions will follow CSE’s framework:

  • Media Balance and Well-Being (Week 2)
  • Privacy and Security (Week 3)
  • Digital Footprints and Identity (Week 4)
  • Relationships and Communication (Week 5)
  • 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.

Available every Wednesday in March! Check here for times and dates.

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 implement into any unit of study. The workshops in this series will have time built in to try out the strategies we’re exploring, so come ready to dig in!

Available every Thursday in March! Check here for times and dates.

FridayFriday – Active Learning with Holly Graffam

The first series of workshops will focus on integrating Problem-Based Learning in the classroom. It will include an overview of Problem-Based Learning as well as delve into applications across a variety of content areas from literacy to science. Included will be how technology can support this integration.

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.

Available every Friday in March! Check here for times and dates.


MEDIA RELEASE: Maine Department of Education Resources on Helping Young People Safely Navigate the Internet

During his State of the Union address this week, President Biden called for increased measures to ensure young people are protected on the internet and while using social media. The Maine Department of Education offers parents, educators, and students a number of free resources, by grade level, to help young people safely navigate the internet and avoid dangers that can impact their physical and mental health.

The Maine Department of Education’s comprehensive web-based social emotional learning resource SEL4ME embeds specific lessons in interest safety at every grade level. For example, the second grade module Be Fine Online helps students learn ways to stay safe when online, including the importance of never revealing their personal information; sixth graders have lesson like Be Aware What You Share in which they gain a deeper understanding of internet safety and social media and on cyberbullying; the eighth grade lesson User Beware: The Scary Side of the Internet helps students understand that not everything on the internet is safe, including how to spot online predators and the dangers of sexting; and in 11th grade, students have access to Cyber Bullying and Digital Citizenship which goes into the effects of online bullying and the virtual footprint that can follow them into the work place.

SEL4ME is free to all Maine schools, families, and community partners and offers more than 450 PreK-12th grade learning modules. Each grade level hosts lessons within the five key elements of social emotional learning (SEL): self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationships, and responsible decision making. Educators, families, and students can learn more and sign up here.

The Maine Department of Education’s Digital Learning Specialists, in partnership with the MLTI Ambassadors, also provide professional learning, resources, and support for digital citizenship, social media use, online safety, and cyber security. MLTI also partners with Common Sense Education to share digital citizenship and online safety resources with educators. Educators can also reach out to specialists directly to explore ways to integrate these skillsets into their instruction to help students stay safe online.

“The internet is a tremendous resource for students to explore and activate their passions, develop skills and knowledge, build connections, and expand their digital literacy, and Maine educators and schools are constantly integrating technology into teaching and learning in innovative ways,” said Education Commissioner Pender Makin. “We’re also committed to making sure students have the tools and resources they need to navigate the internet safely and avoid the very real dangers that President Biden outlined in his State of the Union speech that pose a threat to the physical and mental health of our young people. We encourage educators and families to take advantage of our free resources.”

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.