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The Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI) seeks to provide professional development and 21st Century tools to middle and and high schools to support the attainment of the Maine state standards, the Maine Learning Results.
The MLTI has at its core 5 operational goals:
2) Integration with Maine’s Learning Results,
3) Sustainability/Avoiding Obsolescence,
4) Teacher Preparation and Professional Development, and
5) Economic Development.
The Maine Learning Technology Initiative made Maine the first state to seize the potential of technology to transform teaching and learning in classrooms statewide; first with a plan to equip all students and teachers in grades 7 to 12 with personal learning technology statewide; first to equip every 7th and 8th grade student and 7th through 12th grade teacher statewide with personal access to learning technology; first to empower every 7th through 12th grade teacher in every school statewide with professional development and support to fully tap the potential of computers and the Internet; and first to provide the option of home Internet access to every 7th and 8th grade student in every school statewide.
The concept of the Maine Learning Technology Initiative began with a vision of former Governor Angus King to prepare Maine's students for a rapidly changing world.
In speaking with other governors, Governor King realized that all states were undertaking very similar investments in areas like education and economic development and if Maine wanted to jump ahead of these other states it would require a sharp departure from what Maine had done in the past. Immediately, everyone recognized that education represented the most crucial area for this major change and Gov. King recalled a conversation he had had with Seymour Papert a year or two previous where the idea of how to transform education was discussed. During their conversation, Papert convinced King that a major transformation would happen only when student and teachers worked with technology on a 1 to 1 basis and that any other ratio would not produce the transformation everyone sought.
In late 1999 and early 2000 a one-time state surplus enabled Maine to make the dramatic step of announcing a plan to equip all of its middle school students and teachers with a personal learning device. After the initial public reaction to the plan it became clear that more discussion and examination of this concept was needed and thus in the summer of 2000 the Legislature and Governor convened a Joint Task Force on the Maine Learning Technology Endowment which had the task to look in-depth at the issues around this proposal and recommend the best course for Maine to follow.
In early 2001 the Task Force issued its report with the recommendation that Maine pursue a plan to deploy learning technology to all of Maine's students and teachers in 7th and 8th grade and then to look at continuing the program to other grade levels. The Task Force report also included several guiding principles which have been embedded into the work of MLTI. During that spring legislation was authorized to begin the program for the school year beginning in September, 2002.
In late September 2001, the Department of Education issued the RFP for MLTI and after scoring all of the proposals selected Apple Computer, Inc. as the award winner. In late December 2001 the Department and Apple formally began to implement the Maine Learning Technology Initiative.
In January of 2006, the Department of Education issued a second RFP for MLTI after four successful years of the program to refresh and update the program.
In 2009, MLTI expanded into Maine High Schools. The expansion was part of an agreement the state Department of Education negotiated with Apple Inc. for a reduced rate on the laptops, allowing the state to lease 100,000 machines within existing funds dedicated to educational technology. Under the agreement, the state provided new laptops to all high schoolers and replaced older machines at the middle school level. School districts were not required to participate in the program, though superintendents have indicated overwhelming support for the laptop expansion.
The expansion led to an order placed for largest education technology program of its kind. The Maine Department of Education announced in June 2009 that it placed an order for more than 64,000 MacBooks for students and faculty in grades 7 through 12, and would be placing an additional order for up to 7,000 more laptops in the coming weeks.
In January of 2010, it was noted the following numbers were participating in the 1:1 MLTI Program:
1:1 MLTI Schools