Angus S. King Jr.
Angus S. King Jr. (born 1944) served two terms as governor of Maine and established the nation's first one-to-one laptop initiative late in his second term. Rollout began in fall 2002 to equip each seventh-grade student and teacher with laptops, followed by eighth-graders the following fall. The rollout culminated an effort King began in 2000 with the establishment of the Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI). The goal of MLTI is to equipment students with the skills necessary to succeed in the 21st century. King is a distinguished lecturer at Bowdoin College and a Segal Lecturer in American Politics at Bates College.?
editor Matt Bolch interviewed with Angus King Jr. to find out more about his
thoughts on edtech.
MB: How has the reality of the Maine
laptop initiative changed from your vision of it?
AK: The original vision for the project was grades 7-12 in a one-to-one
environment. In the early years of implementation, the state ran into budget
problems and was unable to carry it beyond the eighth grade. For the first six
years, it was only grades seven and eight, which still made it the biggest
technology program in the country. It expanded to high school for the 2009-2010
year and half of the high schools opted in.
In terms of how the reality differed from the original vision, there were
advantages I didn’t anticipate. Almost immediately, schools saw a significant
drop in discipline problems and an increase in attendance. Also, it turned out
to be a great boon to special ed kids. The biggest thing we’ve learned is all
about the teachers. Not surprisingly, success (or lack of it) is based upon
school leadership and the preparation of teachers.
MB: As a college lecturer, how
important is technology there?
AK: Students come with a total familiarity with the use of technology. It’s
sort of assumed. A lot of assignments are online. Never any question about how
to do this. Readings are online. I use YouTube to show speeches by Martin
Luther King Jr., (President) Obama, Hitler, Eleanor Roosevelt. It's really
enhanced the experience.
I have a mid-term a couple of weeks ago, and all but four students took it
on their laptops and hit send. It's easier to read and grade than if they used
a Blue Book.
MB: Are you involved in education
AK: When I left office, I realized there were things the state couldn’t or
didn't have the wherewithal to do, so I set up the nonprofit Maine
International Center for Digital Learning (www.micdl.org). What we do is
provide at no cost home Internet access to all kids in Maine who are in the
free or reduced price lunch program; digital pedagogy about how to integrate
technology in the classroom and how to teach teachers to integrate technology;
and to assemble research on technology in one place to determine best