AUBURN — The School Department will host its third annual, three-day conference about iPads in classrooms on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at the Hilton Garden Inn.

The Leveraging Learning Institute is attracting 130 educators who want to learn more about using iPad tablet computers to boost student learning. The limit on registrations is 150.

The conference will cost Auburn taxpayers “nothing, other than the time organizers put into the planning” and facilitating, said Mike Muir, multiple pathways leader for the School Department. The conference generates about $15,000 for the department, Superintendent Katy Grondin said.

The conference also brings people to Auburn.

“I tried to get a room Tuesday night at the Hilton, but there were no rooms available,” Muir said.

The conference will focus on the department’s experience of elementary students using iPads and offer expert speakers on the best ways to use the technology. The conference will also allow educators to brainstorm on what techniques and apps work best.


The 130 people registered are mostly from Maine but also from North Carolina, New York, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.

Interest in the conference is twofold, Muir said. Auburn is the first district in the country to go one-to-one with iPads in the primary grades and educators are interested in how Auburn is doing.

In 2011, Auburn schools gave each kindergarten student an iPad. In 2012, iPads went to all first-graders and this year to each second-grader.

The program has been controversial with some taxpayers. Teachers said the iPads are improving student learning.

Another reason for interest in the conference is that iPads are beginning to replace laptop computers in classrooms.

“iPads are different, they have a different work flow,” Muir said. “Even if educators are familiar using laptops, they are wondering how do we get the most out of these.”


On Wednesday, the conference will include seeing students use iPads.

“It will be live. We’ll have film crews at several schools,” Muir said.

The opening keynote speaker will be Yellow Light Breen on “From Pockets of Excellence to a Rising Tide: Technology and the Good to Great Challenge in Public Education.”

Breen is chief strategic officer at Bangor Savings Bank and was part of Gov. Angus King’s administration when it launched statewide laptops for seventh-graders.

On Thursday, current and former Auburn teachers, including Rebecca Monks, Jessica Ritz, Michelle Hill, Mauri Dufour and Kelly McCarthy, as well as Walton Elementary School Principal Mike Davis will talk about how they use technology. In another session, educators will talk about how to use iPads in classrooms where the device must be shared.

On Friday, sessions will offer how to use social media to enhance learning, how educators can better individualize lessons and how iPads can strengthen home-to-school connections.

During the conference student reporters from Auburn Middle School will attend sessions and tweet reports using the hashtag #adv2014. Last month, the “AMS Tweeters” program won a Maine Association for Middle Level Education Exemplary Practice Award.

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