Christina Dionne: Striving to Make a Difference

Recently, one of UMF’s alumna was featured on the Mt. Blue Regional School District website for her exemplary work in building relationships with students and individualizing instruction. Christina Dionne, a graduate from UMF’s Secondary Education program, is currently teaching math at Mt. Blue Middle School and taking strides everyday to better herself as an educator and her students as learners.

Christina has always liked math, and she was in the advanced math classes in high school. When she first came to UMF she was an art major, but after her freshman year she changed her major so that she could pursue a career in math. The UMF methods courses that Christina took brought about a passion for teaching in her.

After graduating, Christina took a job as a camp counselor. Two years later, she became the arts and crafts specialist at camp. On her fourth year, Christina was promoted to being a unit leader and was responsible for managing the four groups within her unit, communicating with parents, and organizing activities and field trips. Eventually, Christina took on a job in early childhood, where she was able to understand child development more clearly and gain an understanding of how to better implement a curriculum with a holistic approach. Christina then took on her position at Mt. Blue Middle School.

Christina has expressed her commitment to proficiency-based education, which helped her to earn the respect of administration. Christina puts in very long hours at school, staying late to volunteer with After School Study and immerses herself in her work and her students.

One of Christina’s goals is to develop a proficiency-based program in math and show her students how to track their own progress in comparison with the standards. Christina would like to incorporate a more hands on approach that requires students to solve real-life math problems, and to implement the skills they learn both inside and outside of the classroom. She loves to challenge her students’ critical thinking.

Along with increasing student proficiency, Christina also makes it a point to create a student community in her classroom. Students often work together to learn from one another, build peer relationships, and increase their self esteem. This approach allows Christina to individualize instruction for those who need it while others are working together.

When asked about the challenges that she faces, Christina said that student frustration and behavior can be difficult. Christina tries to understand the cause of the behavior and work with the student to help them solve whatever problem they are facing. She aims to build healthy, valuable relationships with students. Christina also works at getting students interested in math. She uses various techniques, approaches, games, and activities to make learning math more fun and applicable.

Christina is one of many amazing teachers to have come from a UMF Teacher Education Program, and Mt. Blue Middle School and her students are lucky to have her! For more information about the amazing schools and opportunities in the Mt. Blue Regional School District, check out their website!

 

World Language Education: Preparing Language Educators for a Diverse World

The University of Maine at Farmington is excited to announce that it has created a new Bachelor of Science in World Language Education program to prepare educators for a career teaching Spanish or French in schools. There is an increasing shortage in the state of Maine and across the country of qualified World Language educators in the K-12 classrooms. This new major is designed to address the need for fully-certified World Language educators in the state of Maine and beyond.

A Maine Department of Education World Language specialist reports that all Maine high schools are now required to offer foreign language classes as a proficiency-based graduation requirement, and many Maine middle schools are expanding their language programs as well. Schools need language educators for a variety of reasons, including preparing students for a continuously evolving diverse world, collaborating with families from diverse backgrounds, and meeting college admission requirements.

This major will be offered beginning in the Fall of 2018. This program will provide an opportunity for students at UMF to become certified to teach in the classroom, with a deeper understanding of language and culture. UMF also teaches courses in Chinese and Japanese languages. For more information about the World Language Education major, visit the UMF media release or the  UMF website.

Sweatt-Winter Awarded New NAEYC Accreditation

“The Sweatt-Winter Child Care and Education Center on the UMF campus is proud to announce it has been awarded a new, five-year term of national accreditation by the National Association for Education of Young Children.

NAEYC Accreditation is a rigorous and transformative quality-improvement system that uses a set of 10 research-based standards to collaborate with early education programs to recognize and drive quality-improvement in high-quality early learning environments.

The Sweatt-Winter Center met 100 percent of the criteria in each of 10 program standards and was commended by the NAEYC for its outstanding efforts in maintaining and renewing its accreditation and for its dedication and commitment to continuous quality improvement.  The center fully-met the required elements within the standard criteria and scored highly on the random elements. Less than 10% of early childhood centers nationally attain NAEYC accreditation.

“We are so proud of this national accreditation and what it says about the quality of our programs,” said Julie Farmer, director of the Sweatt-Winter Center. “High-quality early education and childcare have huge benefits for children, their families and the entire community.”

The Sweatt-Winter program has provided full-time care and education to children in Franklin County and the surrounding areas for more than 30 years. The curriculum is based on the interests of the children, and is carried out through the use of age appropriate activities. It offers a safe, nurturing and stimulating environment for children ages 3-8. A preschool program for ages 3-5 and a before-and-after school program for ages 5-8 are available.

The Sweatt-Winter program is located in University of Maine at Farmington’s Ricker Addition. In addition to its value as a top quality child care program, Sweatt-Winter also serves as lab school for UMF education majors where best teaching practices are taught and demonstrated by onsite UMF faculty instructors.

Hours of operation are from 7 a.m.–5:15 p.m. The program currently has openings in its before and after-school child care program. For more information please contact  Julie Farmer, director of UMF’s children’s programs at 207-778-7480.”

Click here to view the complete article.

Makerspace: Creating Spaces to Innovate

Makerspace is an upcoming movement in the field of education. The goal of makerspace is to design a place for kids and students to create, play, and innovate. Johanna Prince, Director of Graduate Programs at UMF, has been involved in helping to educate the public about makerspace and potentially design a makerspace on campus. Johanna oversees the Masters in Technology program at UMF and has an interest in educational technology.

Makerspaces can be implemented and used in various ways. “I have seen makerspaces in kindergarten classes, art classrooms, high schools using high end, high-tech equipment,” said Johanna, “there’s a wide range in who can make use of them.” Makerspaces can consist of a fixed location to work in, mobile spaces in which items are transported to different locations on a cart, or even just a few shelves in a classroom with tools and resources designated for student innovation and creativity. Common tools and materials used are craft supplies, glue guns, small power tools, laser cutters, circuitry equipment, and much more!

3D printers are becoming increasingly popular as well, as people from various fields of study make use of them to design and create various tools. 3D printers can be used to create small or large items, math manipulatives, three-dimensional maps to study geography and landforms, and some assistive technology tools as well, such as a device to help turn a door handle or turn on a light switch. There is a 3D printer on campus at UMF, but it is not easily accessible to the public. If you are interested in making use of the 3D printer for educational and professional purposes, please contact Johanna Prince at johanna.prince@mane.edu

While there is not yet a dedicated Makerspace location on campus, there are various resources in the area that students and faculty can make use of. Everyone’s Resource Depot (located in the Education Center basement) has an abundance of craft materials and miscellaneous supplies at a very affordable price. The Spenciner Curriculum Materials Center (located on the first floor of the Education Center) has a variety of materials as well, including new Sphero Robots (pictured left), which can be controlled by tilting, tapping, or swiping your smartphone. Interested in learning more about Sphero Robots? Come to an interactive session using Sphero robotics and block based coding to play and learn, no prior knowledge or experience needed! This workshop will take place on Saturday, October 21st from 9:00-12:00 in Education Center 012. Spaces are limited to 20 participants, so fill out the registration form soon to ensure your spot!

Are you interested in makerspace, and want to learn more about it what you can do with it? There will be two more makerspace workshops and discussions after the Sphero robotics coding one workshop:

Low Tech and High Tech Making: Saturday October 28th 9:00-12:00 in Education Center 012

Join us for a hands on session to explore high tech and low tech making. You’ll get a chance to play with 3D modeling software,  use a 3D printer,  and create using low-tech repurposed materials. Limited to 20 participants, so fill out the registration form before it’s too late! 

What space is needed for a makerspace?: Wednesday December 6th 11:45-1:00 in Education Center 012

In this conversation we will continue to explore the ideal of making, creating and innovating.  We’ll discuss the ways we already have these spaces in our community and places, as well as how we can leverage them to develop spaces and opportunities for more making.  

At the last workshop, What is a makerspace?, there was an open conversation about makerspaces, what the goal of a makerspace is, and creativity! There was also a discussion about high school students who use high-tech materials in school coming to UMF, which has less tech integration and innovative technology faculty than their high school experience. It was an interesting and interactive discussion, and some small materials were provided to build and manipulate with. Check out these creations!

 

 

 

 

If you have any additional questions about makerspace, contact Johanna Prince (johanna.prince@maine.edu), Kathryn Will-Dubyak (kathryn.willdubyak@maine.edu), or Bryce Cundick (bryce.cundick@maine.edu). Stay up to date with the Ed360 blog to learn more about makerspace opportunities!

National Bullying Prevention Month

Did you know that October is National Bullying Prevention Month? National Bullying Prevention Month is a nationwide campaign founded in 2006 by PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center. Educators and communities across the nation raise awareness about bullying and promote bullying prevention.

The Maine Education for Association reported these facts and finding about bullying in their newsletter:

  • Bullying occurs once every seven minutes in schools across America. In fact, one in every three students reports being bullied weekly, in person, via email, or through social media.
  • When NEA surveyed members a few years ago, nearly 100 percent of respondents said it was their job to intervene when they saw bullying occur.
  • Research by GLSEN (the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) shows that vulnerable students, who often are targeted for bullying because of their race, ethnicity, or LGBTQ status, can generally name at least one supportive adult in their schools, but it takes six or more supportive adults to make a difference when it comes to bullying.
  • GLSEN’s Ally Week, September 25-29, is a student-driven program in which students and educators who are LGBTQ lead conversations about what kind of support, understanding, and encouragement they need from their allies.

So, what can you do to stop bullying and promote acceptance in your classroom? PACER’s NBPC provides these and other various ways to get involved in promoting bullying prevention:

  1. Join the cause- Historically, bullying has been viewed as “a rite of passage,” but National Bullying Prevention Month is now a nationwide call to action — providing schools, parents and students with the educational resources and support to better respond to bullying behavior.
  2. Provide resources and reminders to students- PACER offers various resources for students and teachers, including FREE “Kids Against Bullying” bookmarks that can be printed or ordered (plus shipping and handling). A daily reminder of the cause will help children remember the importance of preventing bullying.
  3. Make it a known campaign- Tell everyone that your school and community are participating in National Bullying Prevention Month by alerting news media, sharing on social media, campaigning around town, etc. Get the word out there!
  4. Let victims know that they are not alone-  Make it a priority to promote empathy and compassion for those being bullied. Encourage them to talk about it, address it, and let children know that there are people who are there for them no matter what. Children always need a hero.
  5. Create a communal art project- Allow students to be artistic and work together on a banner, poster, sculpture, video, or anything else that relays the anti-bullying message. Allowing kids to work together on one project will form a sense of community and belonging within all children, as well as allow them to have their ideas and voices be put into the initiative.
  6. Wear orange- NBPC has dedicated orange as the color of National Bullying Prevention Month, and PACER will soon be coming out with a line of t-shirts and other orange items promoting the cause.

 

By working together as a community and nation, we can end bullying among children and teens and promote a more accepting and welcoming environment for all. While teaching and/or interacting with students and children, especially during the month of October, remember the importance of promoting a bully-free environment and incorporate these tools and lessons with everyday experiences. For more resources and to learn more about PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center, visit their website.

Meet the New Faculty of Special Education

The Special Education department at UMF is proud to welcome some new, bright, exciting members to the professional team. Kate MacLeod, Dominique Tetzlaff, and Kevin Good are the newest professors in special education at UMF.

Kate MacLeod is joining the the special education faculty in the Secondary and Special Education Division here at UMF. She is completing her doctorate in Special Education at Syracuse University and holds a Certificate of Advanced Study in Disability Studies from Syracuse and a Masters of Science in Special Education from Long Island University. Kate was a high school special education teacher and inclusion facilitator in New York City, and has expertise working with urban adolescents with disabilities. Her research and writing has been published in academic journals such as Educational Leadership, Disability & Society, Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities, and International Journal of Whole Schooling, educational magazines such as Rethinking Schools and TASH Connections, and book anthologies focused on inclusive and special education. Her current research agenda is focused on best practices for the inclusion of students with complex support needs; understanding the culture of inclusive schools; and the development of teacher networks to support inclusive education. Kate is also an educational consultant who works with administrators, teachers, and families in the northeast and across the country to support their work to create and improve inclusive practice and culture for all students. She is a new resident of Unity, Maine and when she is not teaching, researching, or working with schools and families, she loves to play music with her husband and friends, and spend time outside with her dog Amelia. Kate is absolutely thrilled to join the UMF community!

 

 

Dominique Tetzlaff has been in the field of education for almost ten years. She started her career as a special education teacher in a middle school serving at-risk students in a high poverty community. Dominique recently completed her doctorate in Special Education at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and she specializes in high incidence disabilities, using technology for students with disabilities, and methods for teaching English Language Learners. Her dissertation study Using Mobile Technology to Increase the Math Achievement and Engagement of Students with Disabilities focused on the critical design features and implementation of mobile devices to support teacher-directed instruction. Dominique hopes to further expand this research line to develop guidelines for using digital lessons in the core content areas for students with disabilities. Dominique is very excited to be part of the UMF faculty and is looking forward to enjoying the community with her family!

 

 

Kevin Good is an instructor in Special Education.  He holds two master’s degrees and is preparing to finish his Ph.D. His focus in special education has resulted in various experiences including teaching, research, advocacy, and assistive technology consulting.  Kevin is interested in all areas of special education, but his primary teaching and research is on assistive technology, inclusive education, teacher education, literacy, academic and behavioral instructional approaches, and best practices in instruction and technology use.  His primary goal is to develop and mentor future teachers as they prepare to meet the needs of all learners.  He is also excited to work with community members with their assistive technology needs be it related to pk-12 education, higher education, or life.  As the Maine CITE coordinator at UMF, Kevin seeks to help all individuals at UMF learn more about the roles of assistive technology in the classroom and in life. Kevin is excited to be joining the UMF community because of its longstanding reputation in teacher education and its location in one of the most beautiful places in the country!

UMF is very excited to welcome Kate, Dominique, and Kevin to our faculty. If you see them around campus be sure to say hello and welcome them to Farmington. From all of here at UMF, we want to give a warm welcome to our new professors in Special Education!

Live and Work in Maine

Maine is facing a demographic dilemma- the population is growing older, and workers are retiring at rates higher than new employees are entering the field. Maine needs to develop a strong workforce to help ensure that employers can continue to thrive. Live and Work in Maine is an initiative to recruit hard working individuals from across the country and the world to live in the beautiful state of Maine.

With Live and Work in Maine, you can search for places to live or places to work, and the other will follow. If you care more about living in the mountains than anything else, they can help you find the perfect location and then a job to follow. If you are willing to live on the beach, in the woods, or in the city- wherever it takes to get you your dream job- then Live and Work in Maine can help you find that job and then a place to live from there. “Our mission is to show the world that in Maine, you can have it all when it comes to quality of life AND quality of career.”

So, how do you go about finding the perfect place to live? You can search for a location based on three different categories:

Region– the various regions of Maine that are listed include: Aroostook County, Downeast & Acadia, Maine Lakes & Mountains, Kennebec Valley, Maine Highlands, Midcoast, Greater Portland & Casco Bay, and Maine Beaches

Lifestyle– if there are certain hobbies, sceneries, structures, or population density that you prefer, you can filter for them! Various lifestyle choices listed include (but are not limited to): lakes & ponds, bricks and cobblestone, “trees, trees, & more trees”, camping, fishing, golf, hunting, ski/snow sports, historic, live music, shopping, theatre/arts, always active, peace & quiet, etc. It is easy to find something for everyone!

Career– You can also search for regions/areas that have available jobs that meet specific filters, such as job industry, region, employer size, internships, seasonal jobs, and entry level jobs.

 

 

How do you go about finding your dream job in Maine? Jobs and internships can also be searched for and explored in a couple of ways:

Job Board–  on the Job Board page you can search for jobs by keyword, job title or specific location. Jobs can be filtered by type, geographic region, and industry. The Job Board also lists job postings with job title, employer name and location, description of job, and links to apply, view the employer profile, and save the job posting. See a job that your friend would be perfect for? There is also an option to share the job info with a friend! What better way to find your dream job and move to Vacationland than to do it with a friend?

Explore Employers– The Explore Employers page allows for you to search for employers based on employer name, career, and lifestyle. Each employer profile includes brief description, location information, and contact info to get in touch with the employer.

 

Live and Work in Maine strives to help individuals relocate to an area they will love, and work in a position that will allow them to thrive. The Live and Work in Maine Instagram page (@liveworkmaine) includes an abundance of pictures exhibiting the various lifestyles and hobbies that can be lived in Maine.

Foodies, hikers, adventurers, writers, artists, entrepreneurs, and everyone else is sure to find somewhere and something they love in Maine. Find what you love, and find it in Maine.

  

Meet the Editor: Brittany Jerome

Staff retirements, students teaching abroad, tips for applying to grad school- have you ever wondered who writes the blog posts for ED360? Brittany Jerome, an upcoming senior at the University of Maine at Farmington, has been our “chief journalist” these past few months!

Brittany is from Plymouth, Massachusetts where she was born and raised. She is an early childhood special education major with a minor in rehabilitation services in the Addiction Certification program. After she graduates from UMF in 2018, Brittany plans on moving back home to Massachusetts and going to grad school to get her Master’s degree in Applied Behavioral Analysis. “I want to work with young children with severe behavior problems,” said Brittany. “After my first practicum experience, I realized how important it is for children to receive intervention for behavior-related issues early on, in order to prevent suspension or even expulsion before they reach first grade. They usually just need assistance communicating their needs, they shouldn’t be labeled as a ‘bad kid.'”

Along with being our ED360 editor, Brittany also works as a Behavioral Health Professional (BHP) for Maine Behavioral Health Organization. As a BHP, Brittany provides one-on-one support to teens and adolescents with developmental delays and mental health diagnoses. “It’s a very rewarding job, and it has taught me a lot about patience, empathy, and working with families,” she said. The job definitely keeps her busy!

While on campus, Brittany tries to be as involved as she can! She is a member of Alpha Phi Omega, a co-ed fraternity that focuses on community service and organizes and participates in various service projects on campus and in the community. Brittany has served as treasurer, Membership Vice President, and President of APO during her past three years in the club, and she is looking forward to taking a break from e-board for the next year and just being an active member. Brittany and her friends also participate in some of the Mainely Outdoors day trips, including snowshoeing and cross country skiing.

Brittany has also participated in various trips offered at UMF. In 2016, Brittany traveled to New Orleans, Louisiana with the Intervarsity Club during spring break to aid in Hurricane relief and volunteer fixing up damaged houses. Brittany also recently returned from the travel course to Peru, where she spent two and a half weeks studying anthropology all over the country with peers. Brittany loves traveling and exploring new places!

This summer, Brittany has been working, spending time outside, and exploring all that Farmington has to offer in the summertime. If you see her around town or on campus feel free to say hello! Be sure to stay up to date with the ED360 blog posts to learn more about UMF, our students and faculty, and the various opportunities offered in the Farmington community!

Peru Travel Course: Something for Everyone

The University of Maine at Farmington is proud to offer many various travel courses to students throughout the year. Travel courses are offered in January during winter break and in May/June once school is out. Each course is about two to three weeks and can be taken for 2 or 4 credits.

Recent travel courses have gone to the Virgin Islands, Cypress, Ireland, Japan and have studied topics such as business, anthropology, economy, and more! UMF travel courses are designed for all students, not just those in the field of study of the course! Brittany Jerome, an upcoming senior at UMF, is an early childhood special education major and just participated in the anthropology course to Peru. Ed360 caught up with Brittany after the trip to learn more about the experience she shared with peers.

When asked why she chose Peru, Brittany had one simple answer- why not?! “I love to travel, and Peru is such an interesting country filled with so much culture. I was taking an introduction course to anthropology with Nicole Kellett in the fall of 2016 and she told our class about the trip. I went to the first informational meeting and left knowing I had to go. Two and a half weeks in another country, getting credits for it, and learning from two professors who have spent a significant part of their lives in Peru and who have an enormous amount of love for the country and the people- how could I say no? I would never get an opportunity like this again, so I had to take advantage of it.”

Dr. Nicole Kellett and Dr. Lucas Kellett are both anthropology professors at UMF. They both lived in Peru during their graduate studies and have been back to visit many times on their own, with their children, and multiple times as leaders of the UMF travel course. The knowledge they both share about the culture, environment, economy, and the history of Peru makes them perfect leaders for such a trip.

The Peru 2017 travel course accommodated both of the Kelletts and fifteen students. Those students come from various majors and fields of study, such as anthropology, education, international global studies, psychology, community health, and more! “Anyone is able to make a connection to such a course and use the experience to grow both personally and professionally,” said Brittany.

The students that traveled to Peru were busy, that is for sure! Over a course of eighteen days they stayed in six locations, hiked two mountains, visited many archeological sights, and learned more than they ever would in a classroom. Brittany gave the following summary of their time abroad:

“We arrived in Lima, the capital of Peru, late on a Tuesday night. Over the next few days we ventured out into Lima. We got to visit an archeological sights, including Pachacamac [pictured right], which was on of my favorites! We also got to visit a cathedral and a few museums. A couple of days later we departed from Lima and flew into the Andes into a community called Andahuaylas.

In Andahuaylas, we stayed in this cute camp-like place called Munay Wasi. We spent our first full day visiting the archeological sight of Sondor and hiking Achanchi, a peak that was part of the Andes Mountain Range! We had lunch on a lake and got to meet some of the Kelletts’ family friends. The next day we went to Sacclaya, a beautiful community that is tucked away in the mountains. Luke and Nicole lived in Sacclaya for a year at one point, so they knew some of the locals. We got to tour the schools, play with the children, eat a traditional Peruvian dish of cuy (fried guinea pig- don’t knock until you try it!) and play soccer with some of the women in the community. It was such a fun day! The next day, Sunday, we got to walk around the regional market in Andahuaylas, which is the second largest market in Peru. People were selling food and fresh juice, jewelry, textiles, clothes, toys, and even some animals. It was really cool to see how the economy in such a rural community works on such an important and busy day to the locals.

The next day we took a long bus ride to Cuzco, where we got to explore some interesting archeological sights surrounding the city. We also took a tour of the Sacred Valley, including sights such as the the Pisac market and ruins and Ollantaytambo. We then took the train to Aguas Calientes, where we spent the night before visiting Machu Picchu. Machu Picchu was incredible. You see pictures of it online and in books, but nothing is as breathtaking as seeing it in person. We walked around the sight and then hiked Hyuana Picchu, the big peak that sits right behind Machu Picchu. On our way back to Cuzco we were able to visit some salt mines and Inca terraces. The next day, we traveled to the Amazon Rainforest.

The rainforest was amazing. We first got to visit a community and a school, where the children put on a dance performance for us and played various games with all of us. Then, we rode a motor boat up an Amazon tributary called the Mother of God, where we were able to jump off of a rock into the tributary and ride the current down to the beach. We then ventured into the heart of the jungle where we spent two nights. The guides that we had were so kind and knowledgable- they could just look at a plant or a butterfly or a bird and know the exact species and how they live and survive. One guide took some of us on a night walk where we crept through the dark in search of anything interesting (we mostly just saw a ton of spiders). They also taught us about the resources in the jungle, such as medicinal plants and various foods. One of our guides even used his personal experience to tell us how to survive if we are to ever get lost in the jungle. I was amazed by the rainforest.

We had one final day in Cuzco before departing, where some of us shopped, some went to a few museums, and others just enjoyed exploring the city to it’s fullest. While in Peru we spent time in rural highlands, the lush rainforest, and bustling cities. There was something for everyone to enjoy.”

Sounds like there was a lot to do, and everyone, despite their field of study, was able to make a connection somehow. “While the course was titled ‘Andean Exploration: Past and Present’ and we focused mostly on the Incas and the development of Peru over the years,” said Brittany, “when you spend as much time in another country as we did you learn and take in so much more information that what is academically provided. As an education major, it is important to be culturally competent and understand that other cultures may do things that you do not understand, but you need to respect them. Really, being culturally competent is important in any field where you will be working with people. I think anyone can really make a professional connection when traveling and use their experiences to build on their professional development.”

When asked about her favorite part of the trip, Brittany warmly said, “Out of all of the amazing things we saw and did, my favorite aspect of the trip is the family we became by the end of it. Most of us did not even know half of the people on the trip when we started, but even by the third day we had all made connections, learned from and supported each other, and made some awesome friendships. Other than that, I really enjoyed visiting Sacclaya and playing with the children there. Even though there were some language barriers, I was able to interact with the children and have fun!”

Museums, archeological sights, hiking, cities, this trip offers something for everyone! You do not need to be a world traveler, a trained mountain hiker, or an anthropology student to enjoy a trip like this, you just need to be open minded and have the desire to learn and explore! “If you have the opportunity to go on a travel course, do it!” said Brittany. “You will not regret it. You’ll be learning from experts and sharing this experience with other UMF students who have similar interests. I wish I had known about these courses sooner, I would do one every year if possible!” For more information about the travel courses offered here at UMF and other UMaine System schools, visit the Travel Course and International Exchange Programs page.

MooseTech Conference: UMF’s EDU 221 Students and their Participation

During their time at UMF, students are encouraged to attend and engage in various professional development conferences in order to further educate themselves and expand on their knowledge and skills. Some students, however, go even farther as to present at these conferences. Dr. Theresa Overall and her EDU 221 class attended MooseTech, an event created by and for teachers in the MooseHead Region of schools.

This year, MooseTech was held at the Piscataquis Community Secondary School in Guilford, Maine on March 10th. Conference attendees were able to attend various classes and seminars that were split into three different sections and taught by professionals who volunteered to teach others about subjects that they are passionate about.  Trevor Benson, a student in Dr. Overall’s class who also had a chance to present at the conference, caught up with ED360 to tell us more about the MooseTech conference from a student’s point of view.

“[During] the first two sections of the day, I attended classes with teachers from all over the Guilford area,” said Trevor. “I spent my first class period learning the basics of American Sign Language (ASL) through internet sites, and tips on how to teach one’s self sign language. I found this class to be super informative and helpful. The second class I attended was held by a representative from Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Like the first class I attended, I found it extremely informative. She showed us different programs compatible with students’ laptops and iPads. These programs contained interactive simulations and experiments for science subjects.”

During the third section of the day, Trevor and two of his peers, Jordan McMullen and Mitchell Walston,
had a chance to present and educate others about science-based iPad apps. “We each created our own separate iBook presentations about a single app that could be used in a middle school/ high school class room,” Trevor said. “The three of us took turns presenting our apps on the projector in the front of the class. I personally presented on an app called EarthViewer. It is an interactive app that allows you to see how the world has evolved over it 4.6 billion years of existence.”  What a great way to get students engaged and interested in their learning!

Trevor said that while it was not an extreme amount of work, presenting at the conference was definitely something he had to prepare for, as most pre-service educators do not have this experience yet. “I worked on my iBook alone inside and outside of class. The three of us met two times outside of class to decide in what order we would present and what we would cover during the presentation.”

MooseTech is a great opportunity for pre-service, new, and veteran educators to make meaningful connections and build on their professional development. “I really liked MooseTech,” said Trevor. “Everyone that I met there was extremely nice and excited to be there. The people that volunteered their time to teach the sessions were super informative and great teachers. It was well organized and there was not an extreme amount of people that attended, so the classes I went to were not crowded and presented opportunities to have a conversation with the person that was leading the session. Overall, I thought it was an awesome time. I would definitely go again.”

For more information about the MooseTech Region Technology Conference contact Dr. Theresa Overall at theresa.overall@maine.edu or visit the website. Thank you Trevor, Dr. Overall, and the rest of the EDU 221 class for taking the time to educate others about these helpful resources!