ACTEM and MLTI
If there was any doubt remaining about ACTEM’s clout and reputation, it was erased in the summer of 2000, when Governor Angus King invited ACTEM to be represented on the Maine Learning Technology Endowment Task Force. ACTEM’s participation at the state level has continued through representation during the contract negotiations with Apple and with an appointment to the Maine Learning Technology Advisory Board. Not only have these provided an opportunity for more to be aware of our association; it has allowed the concerns of those who will have a significant role to play in the implementation of the laptop plan to be heard. The result? The revolutionary MLTI project that is still providing technology to all 7th-8th graders in Maine, many high school students, and teachers in grades 7-12, a program that draws attention from all over the world.
ACTEM continues to play a vital role in the MLTI program at all levels. From the DOE to the individual techs and integrators in the schools, the ACTEM Listserve and other levels of communication enable people from all over the state to act as a single, tight-knit community looking for best practice and solutions to problems.
President Gary Lanoie
2002 also brought change to ACTEM itself. After six years at the helm, John Lunt stepped down as ACTEM President. He continued to co-chair the MAINEd Conference along with Business Manager Betsy Caswell. Gary Lanoie (Cape Elizabeth) became President of the organization.
As MLTI laptops started arriving at Maine schools, ACTEM started using the ATM remote video system to allow more people from all over the state to attend ACTEM quarterly meetings.
As technology proliferated throughout the state, there was also a call to find less expensive software solutions for schools. ACTEM was an early supporter of the FOSSed (Free and Open Source Software in Education) Conference as a partial sponsor for several years, and by providing professional development reimbursement for attendees. Founded by David Trask (Vassalboro), FOSSed celebrated their 10th anniversary conference at Gould Academy in July 2012.
In 2003-2004, ACTEM found itself offering support and advice and always promoting the success of education in Maine. It also found itself in the State House making its position known.
ACTEM President Gary Lanoie and Larry Frazier (Yarmouth) testified before a legislative committee against LD 29, an “Act to Eliminate the Telephone Service Tax Dedicated to Libraries and Schools.” If passed, MSLN would have been in jeopardy, losing much of its funding.
MLTI in High Schools
In 2004, the MLTI program made its first attempt to expand into the high schools, and ACTEM was there to lend support and advice. While it was a struggle to reach a consensus, eventually one was reached and a letter was sent to the legislature. 2004 also brought a change to the MAINEd Conference. For the first time, a second day was added but not in the form currently used. That year Saturday was added to the program for students in grades 6-12.
ACTEM then entered a phase of internal contemplation and many changes, most of which have led to the strong, vibrant, and energetic organization we enjoy today. Behind the scenes, a group led by President Gary Lanoie drafted a strategic plan for the future of the organization. The plan focused on three areas: Communication systems, professional development, and organizational structure. In addition, ACTEM further defined its mission “To enhance and influence education in Maine through the use of technology.”
The face of the organization changed greatly as well. John Lunt and Betsy Caswell retired as co-chairs after the 2005 MAINEd Conference and Caswell stepped down as Business Manager as well in January 2006. In addition, Gary Lanoie finished his four-year stint as ACTEM President.