LEWISTON — Former Gov. Angus King, whose legacy in office includes getting laptops into Maine classrooms, announced Wednesday that local K-12 students will benefit from his nonprofit organization moving to Lewiston.
The Maine International Center for Digital Learning, founded by King to promote technology teaching, moved Wednesday from the University of Southern Maine in Portland to the University of Southern Maine’s Lewiston-Auburn College.
The Center for Digital Learning is funded by private donations to support parts of the state laptop program not covered by taxpayers. It provides money for low-income students to afford Internet access at home and has offered teacher training.
Now the center wants to work with Lewiston-Auburn-area teachers to provide free training on better uses of technology in teaching. Simply handing out laptops doesn’t work, King said. Teachers must be fully prepared and trained.
Center representatives have met with teachers and principals in Androscoggin County and plan to develop a training program here. As more teachers become more comfortable teaching with technology, more students will experience a richer education, King said.
Center staffers will train teachers at K-12 schools and teachers will receive training at the center, housed at USM-LAC.
“Hopefully, we’ll be able to take what we learn here and export it to Aroostook or Cumberland counties,” King said. The program could be anywhere in Maine, “but this community wanted it,” he said. “Working in a defined area where people are excited about it makes all kinds of sense.”
Speaking to dignitaries Wednesday at a digital ribbon-cutting — the push of a button on a laptop — King said his center would achieve success by using the “four Ps:” planning, partnership, perseverance and passion.
David Theriault, who teaches technology to other teachers at Lewiston High School, said schools could use help. The Lewiston School Department has invested heavily in recent years and has done a lot of teacher training through grants.
“But technology is constantly changing,” Theriault said. “Any time we can have some assistance to train teachers, it benefits the kids.” High-tech teaching engages more students, he said.