Blogging live from University of Maine at Farmington, conference by Mike Shannon (Regional Integration Mentor, Auburn Middle School) on the Maine Learning Technology Initiative:

– all students connected (all part of The Seventh Grade of Maine, a community).
– variables: students, teachers, laptops, technology infrastructure, support and training.
– shift in teaching/learning process: student-centered instruction, supported by teacher-centered instruction, concent-centered instruction, through technology integration.
– Use in the classroom: tools available for all: television, still camera, movie camera, firewire drive, projectors, wireless connectivity, software.
– Demo year: Team wanted to be first with laptops: highly motivated, innovative teacher group, willing to change teaching processes, eager to locate ressources, willing participants in training, lived in a fishbowl. Project could not fail. Lots of attention from outsiders.
– Teacher training: Initial: two days, lots of beginners. Too fast. Can’t learn in two days. Must be little by little by little. Now: Content area leaders. Best practices conference.
– Implementation year: use by teachers: white box plus (laptops and peripheral): 50%. white box only (laptops): 35%. Approaching (not fully involved): 10%. Resistant: 5%.
– Student orientation: students need to know how to use the software (grammar checker, writing assesment), serendipity of the laptops. Rules of the school, acceptable use policies.
– Next year: 500 laptops in the building, new people, new issues, continued growth, greater impact on teaching and learning, more and more complex mistakes, more and more training opportunities, greater use of extended capabilities. Mistakes are fun = Learning Opportunities.
– Denver Airport: 7 abandonned laptops every day, kids take better care than adult.

Presentation by Melanie Masson, 8th grade teacher and Cathy, 6th grade teacher, small school, multi age class, only 7th graders have laptops! Local community provided extra computers on mobile cart for 6th and 8th graders.

– Team teaching, mentor.
– QuickShop: monthly demonstration by the tech integrator.
– All teachers have laptops also.
– Shareware and freeware use.
– Bernard Lord came.

Presentation by Laura Richter, Tech Integrator, Skowhegan Area Middle Schoo, plus questions:

Ressources for teachers
– 36000 students on a FirstClass System = meltdown. Been there!
– Writing skills? Yes, difference, changing, context.
– School must buy park bench for student accessing the network in the schoolyard after hours or on the weekend.
– Students know then can learn faster, learn more, get more information with the laptops. But books are sometimes more adapted for their level.