Why the World Flocks to Maine to Learn About Tech Literacy

Maine is at the forefront of one-to-one laptop and iPad programs in the classroom, and they're sharing their best practices.

If the rest of the world is looking for a model of teaching kids tech literacy, they should look to Auburn, Maine—population 23,055. Auburn made headlines this year when the school system launched Advantage 2014, an initiative to buy an iPad for every kindergarten student. And since 2001, when former governor Angus King used state funds to buy laptops for every seventh-grader, the state has been at the forefront of the tech literacy movement. Now every Maine middle schooler—and the majority of high school students—has their own laptop.

The investment in technology has boosted student achievement in reading, math, and writing, so Maine schools are used to hosting educators from around the globe seeking to replicate the state’s success. To make sharing best practices easier, Advantage 2014 hosted a three-day workshop earlier this week to teach teachers, principals, superintendents, and other education policymakers how to "learn, plan, network, and share" ways to use technology to support student learning.

Maine schools officials emphasized that their success wasn't as easy as handing students a laptop or iPad—educators had a clear, holistic plan for how best to incorporate technology in the classroom. In Auburn, for example, school administrators knew they wanted to use iPads specifically for reading and math lessons, which enabled them to focus their efforts.

And Maine recognized that teachers are a key component to any education technology plan. If educators don’t receive ongoing professional development and support for using iPads—or any other kind of technology—they’re not going to see results with students. And because the devices represent a significant financial investment for budget-crunched schools, it'd be a serious misstep not to maximize their potential.

So will Maine’s pioneering effort spark high-quality one-to-one laptop and iPad programs across the country? Let's hope so. Tech literacy is an essential 21st-century skill, and the state has used the tools as an integral part of student achievement rather than just shiny toys. Now they need to share their secrets with the rest of the world.

Photo via (cc) Flickr user flickingerbrad

via The Howard Stern Show / YouTube

Former Secretary of State, first lady, and winner of the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton, sat own for an epic, two-and-a--half hour interview with Howard Stern on his SiriusXM show Wednesday.

She was there to promote "The Book of Gutsy Women," a book about heroic women co-written with her daughter, Chelsea Clinton.

In the far-reaching conversation, Clinton and the self-proclaimed "King of All Media" and, without a doubt, the best interviewer in America discussed everything from Donald Trump's inauguration to her sexuality.

Keep Reading Show less

Offering parental leave for new fathers could help close the gender gap, removing the unfair "motherhood penalty" women receive for taking time off after giving birth. However, a new study finds that parental leave also has a pay gap. Men are less likely to take time off, however, when they do, they're more likely to get paid for it.

A survey of 2,966 men and women conducted by New America found that men are more likely to receive paid parental leave. Over half (52%) of fathers had fully paid parental leave, and 14% of fathers had partially paid parental leave. In comparison, 33% of mothers had fully paid parental leave and 19% had partially paid parental leave.

Keep Reading Show less

Bans on plastic bags and straws can only go so far. Using disposable products, like grabbing a plastic fork when you're on the go, can be incredibly convenient. But these items also contribute to our growing plastic problem.

Fortunately, you can cut down on the amount of waste you produce by cutting down on disposable products. And even more fortunately, there are sustainable (and cute) replacements that won't damage the environment.

Coconut bowls


Who says sustainable can't also be stylish? These cute coconut bowls were handmade using reclaimed coconuts, making each piece one of a kind. Not only are they organic and biodegradable, but they're also durable, in case your dinner parties tend to get out of hand. The matching ebony wood spoons were polished with the same coconut oil as the bowls.

Cocostation Set of 2 Vietnamese Coconut Bowls and Spoons, $14.99; at Amazon

Solar powered phone charger


Why spend time looking around for an outlet when you can just harness the power of the sun? This solar powered phone charger will make sure your phone never dies as long as you can bask in the sun's rays. As an added bonus, this charger was made using eco-friendly silicone rubber. It's win-win all around.

Dizaul Solar Charger, 5000mAh Portable Solar Power Bank, $19.95; at Amazon, $19.95; at Amazon

Herb garden kit

Planter Pro

Put some green in your life with this herb planter. The kit comes with everything you need to get a garden growing, including a moisture meter that helps you determine if your herbs are getting the right amount of food to flourish. All the seeds included are certified to be non-GMO and non-hybrids, meaning you can have fresh, organic herbs right at your fingertips.

Planter Pro's Herb Garden Cedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazonedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazon

Reusable Keurig cups

K & J

Keurig cups are convenient, but they also create a ton of plastic waste. These Keurig-compatible plastic cups are an easy way to cut down on the amount of trash you create without cutting down on your caffeine. Additionally, you won't have to keep on buying K Cups, which means you'll be saving money and the environment.

K&J Reusable Filter Cups, $8.95 for a set of 4,; at Amazon

Low-flow shower head


Low-flow water fixtures can cut down your water consumption, which saves you money while also saving one of the Earth's resources. This shower head was designed with a lighter flow in mind, which means you'll be able to cut down on water usage without feeling like you're cutting down on your shower.

Speakman Low Flow Shower Head, $14.58; at Amazon

Bamboo safety razor


Instead of throwing away a disposable razor every time you shave, invest in an eco-friendly, reusable one. This unisex shaver isn't just sustainable, it's also sharp-looking, which means it would make a great gift for the holidays.

Zomchi Safety Razor, $16.99; at Amazon

The Planet