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:
- The Power of One to One (Learning and Leading with Technology, November 2004)
- Special Topic: Learning with Laptops (Educational Leadership, Summer 2005)
- School Tech: 6 Important Lessons From Maine's Student Laptop Program (Mashable, Jan 2011)
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.