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New Year’s Learning Resolution – Great Way to Engage Teachers

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One of the things that has weighed on me with the new Tech Director position in Bethel is trying to figure out how to support all our staff (K-12) with coaching, professional learning, and support for learning through technology.

Moving a District Towards More Verbs

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New journeys are both exciting and full of detours, breakdowns, and bumps in the road! Bethel is wonderful small town nestled in a beautiful section of Western Maine. The White Mountains raise all around us here. There is a beautiful downtown with a well stocked, but relatively small, grocery, and an old fashioned hardware store across the street (Ironically named Brooks Brothers!).

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Are We Taking On Too Much Too Fast?

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I had an epiphany the other afternoon: I think we may be trying to do too much, too quickly. We (the Tech Team) have plenty going on: updating the Central Office servers and getting them working efficiently (and without fail!);

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So, Apparently, There are No Verbs Without Nouns

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As I mentioned in my previous post , I finally have the opportunity to help shape an entire district toward More Verbs, Fewer Nouns. We were, with the Superintendent’s direction and blessing, going from a previous Tech Director who focused on techie things (Nouns) to my becoming Tech Director focused on learning and teaching (Verbs). But that’s easier said than done!

SplashLearn Makes Learning Fun and Creates Fearless Learners

Loved by more than 30 million kids, SplashLearn is a game-based learning program that creates engaging learning experiences to nurture a generation of fearless learners. SplashLearn is the fastest growing elementary school math program in the US, used by more than 440,000 teachers in about 77,000 schools across the United States.

Education Technology Duality: Nouns, Verbs, and “Everything Just Works”

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I write a lot about a learning-focused approach to education technology, including a Learning Technology Framework , an exploration of whether we are talking learning or talking technology , or imploring education technology leaders to focus on learning.

Are We Talking Technology or Are We Talking Learning

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More and more, educators are recognizing that the true value of technology isn’t learning how to use the tools and devices, but rather using the tools and devices to learn (see here , here , here , and here ). Even a recent meta analysis of the research on 1to1 learning environments shows that when the studies focused simply on the presence of technology, there was no real improvement in learning.

MLTI is not a Tech Buy or Commodity. It’s a Learning Initiative.

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The Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI) has been around since 2001, providing 7th & 8th Grade students and teachers with devices and more. Recently a new piece of “Concept Draft” legislation popped up: LD 137: An Act To Make the Maine Learning Technology Initiative More Cost-effective. In so many ways it represents what people don’t understand about MLTI.

In Support of Teachers: First State Micro-credential Initiative

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The iLearnMaine Educator Micro-credential Program was announced Thursday, Oct. 15, by ACTEM and the Maine’s Learning Through Technology Team. What if schools and teachers had support for professional learning that met their needs and was on their own terms? This is the kind of support iLearnMaine Educator Micro-credential Program is designed to provide. ILearnMaine was announced at the ACTEM Conference (Maine’s education technology conference) on Thursday, October 15.

Maine Learning Technology Framework

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The Maine Learning Technology Framework describes the key elements and components needed to achieve the greatest learning benefit from a district’s technology investment. The Framework is intended to support teachers, tech leads, librarians and other school leaders in their efforts to leverage technology to improve student learning experiences related to learning targets and outcomes.

5 Costly Inventory Management Mistakes Schools Should Avoid

If your school is like most, inventory and/or asset management plays a critical role in daily operations.

Maine Announces Learning Technology Framework

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The true value of laptops and tablets in schools is not learning to use the technology, but rather using the technology to learn. The Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI ) have been in place since 2002 and has certainly helped close the Digital Access Divide in Maine.

The Need to Refocus (Vigorously!) on Learning

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The Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI) was not designed to be primarily an equity of access to technology program (although that was part of it). And it wasn’t designed to be primarily a program by which students could develop technology skills (although that was part of it). MLTI was designed to be primarily a learning initiative.

Let’s Focus on the Learning

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As I have moved through the state and talked with educators about learning through technology, including while working with MLTI (the Maine Learning Technology Initiative), too often the conversations focused on laptops and tablets and folks wondering if we could find devices that were less expensive. Is it possible that in their thinking, all laptops and devices were created equal, in such a way that the only variable is cost? Possibly it is the wrong conversation completely.

Join Maine’s Learning Through Technology Team!

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The Learning Through Technology Team at the Maine Department of Education is looking for a high energy, entrepreneurial-thinking, collaborative educator who would like to work with us. Are you making great things happen in your classroom, school, district, or region? Consider joining us and make great things happen across Maine! We currently have one opening for a Regional Education Representative: Digital Learning Specialist (and anticipate two more in the coming months).

7 Benefits of Lesson Plans in the Cloud

What if teachers didn’t have to lug tons of paperwork with them to and from work? Having lesson plans available anywhere is just one of the advantages.

What is an Adequate Learning Device?

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We have seen it happen too often. Too many schools are selecting a device for their students based mostly on either the ease of management by the tech lead or the one-time purchase price or both. We don’t believe that ease of management or one-time cost are the right prime criteria for selecting a device in schools, especially if your goal shifts from ensuring that every child has access to a device to ensuring that every child has quality learning experiences. But should those criteria be?

Selecting a Learning Device: Maine’s Recommendation

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As states or districts look at device options, please don’t stop with looking at the cost of the device. I have talked to a couple districts recently who made a device choice within the last year or two, based on device cost only, who are now running into challenges that they wouldn’t necessarily be having now if they had made the considerations we recommend below. Remember: our goal is to promote learning through technology , not simply to provide technology.

Ed Tech Research is Clear: Owning a Device Does Not Improve Learning

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Scanning the media on education technology could easily lead one to believe we are wasting our money when putting devices into the hands of students.

Ed Tech Research is Clear: Owning a Device Does Not Improve Learning

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Scanning the media on education technology could easily lead one to believe we are wasting our money when putting devices into the hands of students.

Why Families Leave Schools

Do you know three of the biggest reasons families leave schools? Here they are – and what you can do about it.

Are We Talking Technology or Are We Talking Learning

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More and more, educators are recognizing that the true value of technology isn’t learning how to use the tools and devices, but rather using the tools and devices to learn (see here , here , and here ). Even a recent meta analysis of the research on 1to1 learning environments shows that when the studies focused simply on the presence of technology, there was no real improvement in learning.

Please Stop Calling It “Digital Content”!

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As they should, educators are searching for online courses, apps, programs and software that will help them teach their students. But educators and vendors alike too often refer to these as “digital curriculum” or “digital content.” ” But content or curriculum is the “what” of what you want students to learn. They are the learning targets. To me, digital content is a PDF of the Common Core, the Maine Learning Results, or your state’s standards.

A Plain English Instructional Model

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We’ve been working hard to help Maine’s schools adopt a “More Verbs, Fewer Nouns” stance when thinking about the technology in our schools. We want schools to be sure they are focused more on what they want to do with the devices than with the devices themselves.

Tricks for Teaching Tech Quickly

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There is an old quote that the true value to learning isn’t learning to use the technology, but rather using the technology to learn. To leverage the power of learning through technology, for focusing more on “verbs” than on “nouns,” the technology needs to be treated as a tool, and most of the instructional time needs to be allocated for the learning activity. But students need to know how to use the technology for that activity.

How Online Admissions Affect Enrollment Rates

Discover the top five reasons your school’s admissions should be online.

Shared Leadership Teams – The Series

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The multiple perspectives, the buy-in from diverse stakeholders, shared leadership teams are a powerful tool in your arsenal for making large-scale school change stick. Shared leadership teams focus on the strategic work of the school. They focus on school change and improvement. They are not simply an advisory group. They are the decision making body. Shared Leadership Teams: The Power of Diverse Perspectives. Shared Leadership Teams: What They Are and Aren’t.

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Moving Beyond Word Processing, Presenting, and Online Research

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Maine is lucky in that we have both the Maine Learning Technology Initiative ( MLTI ) and NetworkMaine. Both have helped close the Digital Access Divide for Maine’s schools.

Moving Beyond Word Processing, Presenting, and Online Research

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Maine is lucky in that we have both the Maine Learning Technology Initiative ( MLTI ) and NetworkMaine. Both have helped close the Digital Access Divide for Maine’s schools.

Is MLTI Impacting Student Learning?

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When a district (or a state) expends large sums of money on education technology, it is fair to expect that there would be a return on the investment, especially in improved student learning. There are those that think, for example, that Maine should stop paying for the Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI) since, after 15 years, there has been no improvement in test scores. There is , however, evidence that MLTI is positively impacting learning. In some places. Under certain circumstances.

K-12 Private School Student Information System Buying Guide

Too many private schools are still using clunky, outdated systems, causing unnecessary stress and wasted time. That’s why it’s vital for them to invest in modern products and services purposefully designed for private K-12 education.

The Advantages of a Plain English Instructional Model

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Recently we have started to promote a Plain English Instructional Model to help promote pedagogical conversations in school and to help contextualize our conversations about education technology around learning. The primary advantage of having a plain English instructional model is that it is often more easily adapted by our staff who are strong “Joe” and “Jane Average” instructors.

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Motivating Students: Focus on 6 Strategies

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There are many children who seem undermotivated, disengaged, and underachieving. Many educators are frustrated by such students; some educators as they struggle with finding ways to engage those students, and some because they believe it is up to those students to be motivated or not.

Would This Help With Proficiency-based Learning and Teacher Effectiveness?

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Would it help your school with your proficiency-based diploma work and your PEPG/teacher effectiveness work if you could bring in professional development in any or all of these six areas? If so, we may be able to help you. This is the Plain English Instructional Model that MLTI is leveraging to help emphasize our focus on learning and is shaping the professional development we are providing schools. We hope it equally applies to proficiency-based diploma and teacher effectiveness work.

MLTI Fall 2016 Update Notes

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Here are notes and useful links related to the DOE MLTI Update for Fall 2016. New Staff Members. We are excited to have added Amanda Nguyen and Sean Malone to the Learning Through Technology Team. Each is a Maine native, a veteran educator, and a leader in learning technology. As Digital Learning Specialists Amanda and Sean will be involved with designing and implementing our programs, with tech support to schools, and with professional development.

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Inspiring K12 : Creating the Joy of Reading and Self-Directed Learning in the Digital Era

Personalized teaching of reading at the K-12 level can help imbue pleasure and interest in reading and the development of a reading habit, even among digital natives. A personalized approach works better than the systematic teaching of the entire class.