Experts to discuss online learning for Maine


Today, in South Portland, national education experts and Maine Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen will join The Maine Heritage Policy Center for an all-day conference focusing on technology in education, entitled “Developing Student Success Through Online Learning: Inform, Inspire, and Connect.”

The event will focus on how educators can leverage technology to maximize results, how schools convert learning from traditional textbooks to digital devices like iPads and laptops, and how technology can be used to improve individualized learning in Maine.

The conference, which runs from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Portland Marriott at Sable Oaks in South Portland, features speakers including Rick Ogston, the founder and CEO of Carpe Diem Schools, a tuition-free, Arizona public school serving grades 6-12. the Carpe Diem Schools advertises that their, “academic program is a “hybrid” program consisting of on-site teacher-facilitators (coaches) and computer-assisted instruction (CAI) utilizing a computer-based learning and management system.”

Also speaking at the conference will be Jeff Hanjian of Emantras, Inc, a company that converts traditional paperback curriculum into software or applications that are compatible with Ipads and other computer devices.

Dr. Reza Namin, who has been named one of five finalists for its 2011 National Superintendent of the Year by the National Association of School Superintendents, will be another featured speaker at the vent. Namin is currently superintendent of the Spencer East Brookfield Regional School District in Spencer, Massachusetts. Prior to his current position, Dr. Namin had served as the Superintendent of Schools for Westbrook School District in Westbrook, Maine.

Other speakers include Julie Young, the Chief Executive Officer of Florida Virtual Schools which was founded in 1997 and was the country’s first, state-wide Internet-based public high school, and Kim Quinn Hutchinson, the vice president at K12, Inc., which, as its name suggest, is an online learning provider for grades K through 12.

The final speaker of the day will be Maine’s own Commissioner of Education, Stephen Bowen. Prior to being named the Commissioner of Education, Bowen was the Director of the Center for Education Excellence at the Maine Heritage Policy Center, and was also a classroom teacher before that. Bowen served as a legislator as well prior to joining MHPC, spending a great deal of time working on education issues.

Bowen will discuss “Education 2.0 and Individualized Learning In Maine.” The Commissioner has recently championed the passage of landmark charter school legislation that has opened the doors to new charter schools here in Maine.