2022 Winners - Alice Barr, Cheryl Oakes, and Dennis Crowe
John Lunt Friend of Technology Award
The John Lunt Friend of Technology award was established by ACTEM in 2006 as a way to recognize individuals that have made a significant contribution to education and technology in Maine. The award is named after John Lunt - one of the founding members of ACTEM. John served as president of ACTEM for six years and also chaired our formerly name MAINEducation conference for over ten years. John Lunt and former Governor Angus King were the first recipients of the Friend of Technology award in 2006.
ACTEM recognized three distinguished Maine educators with the John Lunt Friend of Technology award at our fall 2022 conference.
“Alice Barr came to Yarmouth High School in 1999 and her work will leave an incredible legacy for years to come in the Yarmouth Schools and well beyond Yarmouth’s borders. I was privileged to be her colleague for twenty years of supporting technology, learning and professional development.” - Cathy Wolinsky
Alice became a Google Certified Innovator as part of the 2008 New York City cohort with friends Cheryl Oakes and Bob Sprankle. This was a major honor as Google only opened applications for this award occasionally and accepted just 50 educators from around the world for each cohort. The three friends hosted the SEEDlings Podcast for many years, bringing some of the top names in Educational Technology to a broad audience.
Many people think of Alice as a great technologist. What really made her great at integrating technology into the classroom was the fact that she is truly an amazing teacher who has taught and traveled on five different continents, including positions in Colombia, Mogadishu, and Bangladesh. Among her many honors, she received the ACTEM ACHIEVE Award in 2017 and was a finalist in 2011 for the state of Maine Teacher of the Year. She often reminded me of something that Jim Moulton used to say about technology. We often consider hardware and software when we plan for technology. We often forget the warmware, the people, when making decisions. Alice always thought about how a change would impact students and staff. The culture of the building was always at the forefront of her decision-making process.
You may not be aware of the reach Alice has around the state of Maine and indeed the world. Alice has served on the ACTEM conference committee and was a co-organizer for EdCampME for many years. She has over 5000 followers on Twitter and if you’ve ever walked through a regional or national conference with Alice you’d think you were with Justin Beiber.
Alice has meant so many things to all of us, and to many educators around the globe. Her reach has impacted student learning and the use of technology in ways none of us can quantify. Congratulations Alice on your retirement and now the John Lunt Award!
Dennis Crowe is an educator with 40+ years of experience in Maine schools. He started his career as a math teacher in the Arundel schools. In 1986 Dennis was hired as a Computer Education Teacher at Bonny Eagle Junior High School. In 1999 Dennis became the Director of Computer Technology for MSAD 6 and in February 2008 Dennis moved to his hometown (Gorham) and became the Director of Technology. He recently retired from that position this past June 2022.
Dennis has been involved with technology in Maine and New England for years. He has served as president of both the New England ISTE and ACTEM. Dennis always tells the story of leaving a NEISTE meeting to go to the men’s room and he returned to be elected as the new President. Dennis never left an ACTEM meeting for any reason, especially during his presidency.
Dennis also has the unique distinction of attending over 20 NECC/ISTE national conferences. He generally worked his budget magic to also get staff in his district to attend these conferences as well. During his attendance at ISTE and other conferences, Dennis was always looking for quality keynotes speaker to bring to Maine at our annual fall ACTEM Conferences.
In 2017 Dennis earned the national CETL (Certified Education Technology Leader) recognition from CoSN. Dennis was the first technology leader in Maine to achieve the CETL National Certification. Keith Krueger, the Chief Executive Officer of CoSN states; "Earning the Certified Education Technology Leader certification demonstrates a commitment to bringing 21st-century learning to our nation’s schools.”
During the Dennis Crowe ACTEM Presidency, he instituted practices and policies to better reach all the sub-groups of ACTEM members. He instituted a “Pizza Lunch” meeting for Technology staff, the Spring Leadership Conference with a focus on Technology Leaders in Maine and the “Bring your Administrator” to the ACTEM conference for FREE as part of district’s institutional membership. Dennis understood the importance of administrative support of technology initiatives in districts across the state and he saw this as a way to bring more administrators to our fall conference.
Craig Dickinson, former ACTEM business manage states; “Many in ACTEM may not realize that among the numerous other talents, Dennis has officiated hundreds of high school and college soccer, basketball and softball games throughout the years.”
Congratulations to Dennis Crowe on your outstanding career in Maine education and here is hoping you enjoy many rounds of golf in your retirement years.
Alice Barr states; “I first met Cheryl when we were part of the statewide professional development team known as SEED - Spreading Educator to Educator Development. As tech coaches, we worked with teachers on how to integrate technology into their practice using a model of HQTLT and Adopt and Adapt. One of the great things was that as a regional team we met a few times a year. We shared ideas and tech tools. I found that Cheryl and I shared common thoughts on technology integration, student voice and purpose.”
Cheryl is the definition of a lifelong learner. She found a group of international learners called Webheads who were working with learning and technology integration but doing it online through wikis and blogs. She met a team Carla Arena and Samira Brito from Brazil (who we later actually got to go work with in Sao Paulo!) and Graham Stanley from Abu Dhabi. She then moved on to EdTechTalk where Jeff Lebow and Dave Cormier, International University Educators were providing online ways for teachers to exchange ideas. This was podcasting before podcasting was cool! Here was Cheryl at the forefront of cutting edge. Ever intrepid, Cheryl helped form an international group of podcasters called Women of the Web. At the same time Twitter became a thing. Cheryl and I were attending ISTE where we heard about how Twitter could to revolutionize how we could do professional development by connecting with other people on the internet and. Women of the Web was very successful and they even had a meet up at ISTE where many people attended (the call was put out on Twitter) to see what this new technology was all about.
Alice states; “What I love about Cheryl is she is so enthusiastic about learning new tools and figuring out their purpose in the classroom. Her enthusiasm is infectious so somebody like me went right along with trying to learn this new stuff. When SEED ended, Cheryl, Bob Sprankle and I believed so strongly in the mission of spreading and sharing great ways of technology integration, we decided that given Cheryl's and Bob’s expertise in podcasting that we would do a biweekly podcast called Seedlings 2.0. Using Twitter, we would ask certain people that we had connected with if they would like to come on our podcast and talk to us and unbelievably, they did! We also ended each show with Geek of the Week which showcased one new tool from each of us. Cheryl’s tool was often in the assistive technology realm and she always kept us focused on what was best for student’s learning styles.”
Alice continues: “Somewhere in the middle of all this Cheryl challenged me to apply to become a Google Certified innovator. After hearing about the program from Kern Kelley, we decided if we did it together it would be a great experience. We are proud graduates of the third class - Class of 2008 in New Your City. What I learned from Cheryl is that it’s OK to take a risk because it can really change the trajectory of your life. For Cheryl it meant that Google came to her because of her work leveraging Google tools to support student learning and making sure that they were accessible. They asked her to do a story on You Tube with her student Morgan. That video has more than 3.6 million views and is such a compelling Student Success story.”
Michael Richards, Tech Director of the Wells Ogunquit Schools states; “Here is something that many of you don’t know about Cheryl, she wanted to be in the classroom. She emailed me over Memorial Day Weekend 2010 stating that she wanted to be back in the classroom and not just coaching or managing technology. She went back to her Special Education roots and became a Special Education teacher at Wells High School. Morgan’s story is just one of the many ways Cheryl made an impact. She moved teachers to incorporate technology with a purpose. She showed students how technology tools can truly show the potential these students had in the classroom. Cheryl changed the climate and culture that is still ongoing right now despite the fact that Cheryl's newest goals are 100 days on the slopes”.
Even in retirement Cheryl is still a champion of Education technology. Cheryl has inspired many people over the years and she is still at it today. She is a past ACTEM conference co-chair and is here helping to organize this year’s conference. She's a believer that the best learning occurs when teachers have good professional development, and students have the right tools that are purposeful and relevant. Many colleagues have grown significantly in their thinking and actions by Cheryl’s impact. And that is why she is one of this year’s recipient of the John Lunt Friend of Technology Award.