As part of the 2016 MLTI Apple Refresh, Apple brought back the opportunity for schools to name a teacher leader — someone who could help facilitate greater integration of technology with learning at their school and who would benefit from joining a community of other teachers who are working to do the same. These teacher leaders, who have become known as “MARTLs” gather regionally twice a year, and then come together as a whole group once in the summer. In addition, Apple offered support for principals through a two-day summer experience, which was merged with the MARTL summer event. MARTLs were also invited to bring another colleague, or “buddy” with them.
MARTL teams from 39 different schools gathered at Bowdoin College for the two-day summit. They first engaged in a few shared learning experiences, such as sessions on challenge-based learning, formative assessment, or coding, and learned from Apple resources from Maine and from other schools across the country. One participant said:
“We are so excited to bring these ideas back to the students and see what they create! I plan to focus on coding this year, but also am excited to use Seesaw to showcase their work! However my brain is also full of iMovie, Garage Band, iBooks and so many other valuable resources to share with my students!”
The rest of the MARTLs’ time was spent planning and preparing ways that they and others from their schools could use their access to 1:1 Apple technology to help gain better student learning outcomes. Another participant said:
“I love that students were at the heart of our thinking and that I have been challenged by presenters and fellow MARTLs to include students and think about their learning experience. A frequent thought/phrase I heard: “I/We can have students do this…:”
Throughout the two days, MARTLs had access to “experts” both from afar and within the group who could offer just-in-time information and feedback – and the gift of time to think deeply about the outcomes they want to see and how they could make those become a reality. Another participant noted:
“I loved the “open-ended-ness” of the 2 days. Finding out what each person needed and then building the agenda on people’s needs! Beyond helpful!”
By the end of the two days, each team developed a plan to work on over the summer and had the opportunity to view and give feedback on the plans of other schools. Everyone left with resources and enthusiasm for next steps. We are looking forward to seeing this group again in late-September!