The Need to Refocus (Vigorously!) on Learning

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).

iPad ConfMLTI was designed to be primarily a learning initiative. It was designed so that teachers could design lessons for their own content area that created powerful learning experiences for learners and leveraged the technology at their fingertips.

At this time, we must renew (vigorously!) our emphasis on the learning and make learning the “main thing” about MLTI, for 3 reasons:

Reason 1: Focus Drifted Away From Learning

Over the years, MLTI has drifted to emphasizing the equity of access to technology. Yet most students have some sort of device of their own now. Without moving the needle on teaching and learning with the technology it is hard to justify the investment in a statewide 1to1 initiative. The goal needs to be the quality of learning experiences we create for every student in every classroom.

Reason 2: We Integrate Technology at a Low Level

Despite having the technology for almost 15 years, our data show that it is used primarily for word processing, presenting, and online research. These are certainly important skills and strategies, but fall far from the mark of creating a “learning technology” initiative.

Reason 3: We Have Several High Pressure State Initiatives That Would Benefit from Learning Through Technology

Maine districts are working hard to implement new Proficiency-based Diploma requirements and teacher effectiveness programs. In fact, nearly 100% of schools’ professional development time is being used to figure these two initiatives out, leaving little time for work around technology. But both initiatives have a heavy focus on instruction and could benefit from learning how technology might be leveraged for instruction in support of learning.