Monthly Archives: May 2013

Hold the Date for Auburn’s 3rd iPads in Primary Grades Conference!

Did you miss out on the first two, or were you one of the educators that was able to impact your own iPad initiative by participating in this conference? According to Will Burrows, Special Education Director in RSU 4, “We were able to take what we had heard in sessions and look at our practices from a new perspective. We are now more confident that we have a plan to move forward in a more efficient and effective manner.”

From the Instiute website:

In their Leveraging Learning institutes, the Auburn School Department helps participants learn how to successfully design and implement an iPad initiative to customize learning for students. The institute’s local and national experts will present their progress to date along with their strategies for success. The institute will provide participants with opportunities to network and learn from others. While Auburn’s Advantage 2014 will be a kindergarten, Grade 1, and Grade 2 implementation in the 2013-14 school year, the Institute is designed to support all elementary iPad implementations.

So, plan on joining us this year for Auburn's 3rd Annual Leveraging Learning Institute: iPads in Primary Grades.

The conference will be held November 13-15, 2013, at the Hilton Garden Inn in Auburn, Maine. Registration will open on Thursday, August 22, 2013 at 12:00 noon EST.

 

Auburn on Bloomberg EDU: Tablets in K-12 Education

The May 17th episode of the Bloomberg EDU radio focused on tablets in K-12 education. I shared Auburn's experience. Here is the description of the episode:

Educators Discuss the Use of Tablets in K-12 Education (Audio)

Sara Schapiro, director of the League of Innovative Schools at Washington, D.C.-based Digital Promise, Mark Sullivan, principal of Burlington High School in Massachusetts, Michael Muir, leader of Multiple Pathways for Maine's Auburn School Department and Linda Clark, superintendent of Idaho's Meridian Joint Schools District No. 2 discuss the use of iPads and other tablets in K-12 education. They talk with Jane Williams on Bloomberg Radio's “Bloomberg EDU.”]

Listen to the podcast here.

 

The Series on the New MLTI: Choice, Auburn, and Learning

Maine has long had the first (and, unfortunately, only) 1to1 learning with technology initiative: MLTI.

The MLTI contract was up for renewal this year, and, for the first time, Maine is allowing each district to choose from 5 finalist proposals, producing a lot of conversation about the choices and how to choose.

Below is the series of blog posts I have written about the MLTI renewal, Auburn's choice and choice process, and my interest that MLTI selection focus on learning:

 

Strengths of the Early MLTI Program – Let’s Keep Them Going

Maine's learning with technology initiative (MLTI) is going through changes this year:

  • The contract renewal framed it not as a Maine contract, but as a multi-state contract, in hopes of making it easier for other states to do their own statewide initiatives.
  • When our governor announced the new contract award, it wasn't for our 12-year partner, Apple, but rather for HP.
  • The governor is allowing districts to select from any of the 5 finalist (Apple is included).

I'm not sure how all these changes will play out. My hope is that Maine's educators will rise to he occasion and take MLTI to the next level. My fear is that this will eventually kill what has been an internationally recognized learning program.

But it has made me think back on MLTI and what we identified that made the early MLTI such a powerful initiative. I found a couple old articles that address that question:

What we identified then as the strengths of this initiative include:

  • Access to technology
  • A focus on learning
  • A focus on leadership
  • Context-embedded professional development
  • Technology as a tool, not a curriculum area
  • Thinking how technology can change/improve teaching and learning

I hope Maine's educators, including the DOE and MLTI staff, continue to place an emphasis on these areas, and, despite the changes to program, MLTI continues to be the strong impactful initiative we had 8-10 years ago.

 

Is the iPad a Viable Solution for the High School?

As districts are deciding which MLTI solution they would like to choose, there have been a lot of questions asked about if the iPad is a viable solution for high schools.

Note 1: I'm not trying to convince folks to choose iPads, but there have not been the same kinds of questions about viability for the HP laptop or the MacBook Air, so I am simply trying to address the question at hand.

Note 2: For folks outside of Maine, MLTI is primarily focused on 7th & 8th grade (the State pays for those two grades), but districts can buy into MLTI for other grade levels at their own cost, most commonly at the high school level.

Two high schools, recognized for their 1to1 iPad initiatives, would seem to be evidence the iPad is a viable device for high school:

 

What We Want from Technology – MLTI, Customized Learning, and School Vision

There have been many discussions around Maine since the Governor announced schools would have choice over which solution they select for MLTI for the next four years. But most of those conversations have focused on the device, or its capabilities, or why it is “my preferred device,” or why people are worried that the device they aren't that familiar with will not be sufficient for the task at hand…

I wish so much more of those conversations had instead been about school visions for learning, and what we hope to get from technology for learning. What role can technology play in learning? What is your school's or district's vision (ours is here), and what is the role of technology in fulfilling that vision?

And for Auburn, as I would guess for other districts in the Maine Cohort for Customized Learning, we are concerned about technology's role in helping us succeed with implementing Customized Learning (such a critical part of our vision).

Here is what we think the roles for technology are for learning, especially for Customized Learning:

  • Instructional Resources for Building Foundational Knowledge
  • Instructional Resources for Using Knowledge, Creating, Complex Reasoning, and Projects
  • Learning Progress Management
  • Supporting Independent Learning
  • Assessment
  • Home School Connection
  • Student Motivation

How are you currently using technology for each of these? What are teachers doing (maybe in your district, but maybe in another) that shows you exciting ways technology could be used for each of these? What is best technology practice for each of these roles?

But much more importantly, as Maine's districts think about selecting a solution for MLTI, how does each proposed solution measure up against each of these roles for technology?

You don't have to be interested in Customized Learning to be interested in these roles. But I don't beleive a school can make a satisfactory decision about which solution to select if they are only thinking about the device or the operating system…

 

What Did Auburn Choose for MLTI and Why?

Auburn chose the Apple Primary Solution (iPads for students; MacBook Airs and iPad Minis for teachers) for MLTI.

Here is a two-page FAQ document we prepared for our teachers and community. Among other things, it explains our rationale for making this choice.

(Again, we aren't asking anyone to choose what we choose, but rather we're trying to share about our process and how we chose.)