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Juice 3.0 Conference Keynote

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Author
Juice 3.0
Published
2011.12.30
Event
Juice 3.0
Link
YouTube Link

Juice 3.0 Conference Keynote: Video

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Letter From Jeff Mao

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Author
Jeff Mao, Maine State Learning Technology Policy Director
Published
2011.11.28
Event
Letter of Recommendation
Link
See Original Letter

Letter of Recommendation from Jeff Mao

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ACTEM Conference

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Author
ACTEM
Published
2011.10.14
Event
ACTEM Conference (Augusta, Maine)
Link
See Original Article

ACTEM Conference Keynote Speaker

Chris Jones is a student at Oak Hill High School, technology enthusiast and a web developer. Thanks to the MLTI Program, in 2007 he was introduced to Apple, which he states is "the greatest technology company in the world". Since that time he has been growing and expanding his knowledge of computers and technology. Starting out with nothing, He slowly began to work his way into the technology world and within just four years, He has already created a name for himself. Not only as the 'tech guy' around town, but also as someone who is doing tech work around the world.

Whether it is creating an iPhone Web App, or helping develop Crystal Mail with Studio 182, these projects are what got him where he is today. A developer, a learner, a teacher, and a leader. He shares his story with others because all the things he has done, can be done by anyone who takes advantage of the opportunities in front of them. Chris, in his spare time, enjoy stepping away from the computer and just relaxing. Being outdoors, working in the community, in scouts, and in his church. Chris states, "I'm active in whatever I do. One day I hope to take the knowledge that I have gained and run a company of my own."

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Institute Keynote (iTunes U)

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Author
MLTI
Published
2011.11.30
Event
MLTI Summer Institute
Link
Open in iTunes

MLTI Summer Institute: Video

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MLTI Summer Institute

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Author
Jeff Mao
Published
2011.07.26
Event
Bowdoin College Conference
Link
See Original Article

MLTI Summer Institute

Over 150 educators gathered for the MLTI Summer Institute at Bowdoin College. Cohort groups began their three-day intensive workshops, and we finished the day with some fantastic keynote speakers, students Hannah Potter, Yarmouth HS and Chris Jones, Oak Hill HS.

In the audience were not only the Institute participants, but senior officials from the Ministries of Education from 12 different Caribbean nations. All were treated to Hannah’s inspiring work connecting Maine teenagers with Iraqi teenagers through her web site, ANewView.

Chris Jones followed up with an engaging presentation about how MLTI inspired and provided him the opportunity to become a software developer, and a part of an international software development team. You can learn more about Chris atMrChrisJones.com and Phireware.com

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Oak Hill High's whiz kid...

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Author
Bonnie Washuk, Staff Writer
Published
2011.07.04
Event
General Information Article
Link
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Oak Hill High's whiz kid: A Web, software developer at 17

WALES — Chris Jones is a computer software guy. He's developing a Web business with five others, and has created software that has attracted attention from the corporate giant Apple.

He's taught students and teachers about computers, recently speaking to an audience of 1,000 at a technology conference at the University of Maine. He's speaking to teachers at Bowdoin College this summer, and at another conference that has to be worked around his class schedule this fall.

Jones is 17, a senior at Oak Hill High School.

His interest in technology began after he got his laptop as a seventh-grader at Litchfield's Carrie Ricker Middle School.

Today his fingers fly across an iPad2 or a laptop, opening and explaining programs and apps. His poise and knowledge seem years ahead of his age.

People, including Maine Education Commissioner Steve Bowen, have noticed.

“During a presentation that blew the crowd away for its polish and professionalism, Jones told us how he touched every button and opened every program on the Maine Learning Technology laptop he was given as a seventh-grader,” Bowen wrote in his June 2 “Updates from the Commissioner.”

Oak Hill Principal Pat Doyle described Jones as “a self-starter, an entrepreneur in the computer world. He's done a lot of work on his own developing software, working with people in other states and other countries.”

Jones of Litchfield said until the seventh grade he had no interest in computers. That changed when he got his own laptop. Curious, he opened up programs and apps, discovering they allowed him to do far more than write and research. He could create art, videos and three-dimensional blueprints.

He learned the laptop programs so well that as a seventh-grader, he started teaching other students and teachers, becoming known as a go-to guy.

Developing that reputation “forced me to learn more so I could stay on top,” Jones said. “You want to be the student who can show off the teacher.”

In the eighth grade the basketball team asked him to film games. Jones used his laptop to make a DVD of the season's highlights. He also made a DVD highlighting a class trip to Washington, D.C.

Then “I went beyond the laptop and started exploring Internet coding and creating a Web site,” Jones said,  teaching himself to code and script Web pages and apps.

By the time he was in high school, he created his own Web site, Phireware, to host his work. “In high school is when I started working with people around the world.”

At 16, he created the MobileCube, an add-on to RoundCube, an Apple Web-based email client. His MobileCube is a cleaner, easier-to-use version of RoundCube that can be downloaded free, Jones said. "It makes it look like Apple's MobileMe service. Within 10 months it was downloaded 23,000 times all over the world,” Jones said.

Apple noticed, and asked if he'd license it to the company. He said yes. “It was meant to clone their own system,” he said. “In a sense they recognized me.”

In March he became part of “Studio 182,” a team of mostly teens who create Web and mobile software called Crystal Mail. He's the lead interface designer. “I code and design the look of the program,” Jones said. “We're all young except for one. We disclose our age because of age discrimination online.” Some don't want software created by teens. “What we're trying to show is, 'Look, we can do awesome work and we don't have to be old.'”

He started being asked to speak publicly after he helped organize a computer-based conference for Carrie Ricker students and faculty last spring. An Apple representative was at Carrie Ricker. Jones told him about the work he'd done, which led to Jones being invited to speak.

His lectures aren't about teaching, but to inspire deeper use of laptops, he said. He tells students and teachers who he is, what he's done, how others can get more out of their laptop.

“The Internet is bigger than Facebook,” he said.

He tells students that getting a laptop in the seventh grade “equals endless opportunity. I tell them, 'You've been given a huge head start. Maine is the only state in the country to do this. Take advantage of that, and go with it.'”

Jones, who works at Sam's in Lisbon Falls making pizzas, hasn't decided which college he'll attend after high school. Maybe he'll become a project leader for a tech company. “I'd love to own my own business.”

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MLTI and next-level...

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Author
Commissioner Stephen Bowen
Published
2011.06.02
Event
MLTI Student Conference
Link
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MLTI and next-level learning

I had the opportunity last week to drop in at the eighth annual Maine Learning Technology Initiative Student Conference on the University of Maine campus. What I saw made the experience well worth the trip.

It wasn’t just that if you looked down an aisle in the Collins Center for the Arts auditorium, it was laptops as far as the eye could see. And it wasn’t just that a specially designed high-density wireless network allowed more than 1,000 students in the same room to log onto the Internet simultaneously without delay.

Rather, it was the evidence on display of how students have used their MLTI laptops to take their learning to the next level. Those laptops have allowed students choice in how they complete assignments, and they’ve opened doors that allow students to discover and pursue their passions.

During a presentation that blew the crowd away for its polish and professionalism, Oak Hill High School junior Chris Jones told us how he touched every button and opened every program on the MLTI laptop he was given as a seventh grader. His penchant for exploration only grew, and today he’s collaborating with computer programmers from across the planet on what could become the next big software innovation.>

Did I mention he’s a high school junior?

Telstar Regional Middle School eighth grader Mike Rodway proved that, with the help of his MLTI laptop, he’s become a master filmmaker. He electrified the crowd during a presentation that involved him interacting with a filmed version of himself on stage.

Joe Lien demonstrated his penchant for playing the guitar, and told us he probably wouldn’t have had the confidence to play before a large crowd until he used his MLTI laptop to create a multimedia presentation of his life story.

And Yarmouth High School junior Hannah Potter eloquently explained and showed during a multimedia presentation how she’s used MLTI to connect her classmates with Iraqi teenagers as a way to introduce them to the Iraq beyond the headlines.

I’m commonly asked about the future of MLTI — most frequently about the program’s future technological foundation. Will the next iteration of MLTI involve more laptops, iPads or some other technology that doesn’t yet exist?

It’s too early to know the answer to that question, especially given how fast technology changes.

What we do know, though, is that we don’t want to return to the days when technology wasn’t an integral part of a student’s learning. To the days when Chris Jones wouldn’t have had a chance to make a mark in the programming world as a high school student. To the days when Mike Rodway wouldn’t have otherwise discovered he’s an immensely talented filmmaker. To the days when Joe Lien wouldn’t have overcome his nerves to perform in front of a large crowd. Or to the days when Hannah Potter wouldn’t have had the tools to connect her classmates with teenagers from another part of the world.

That would be a disservice to the students we’re trying to educate to be innovative, resourceful, entrepreneurial and prepared for the 21st century.

Maine is already ahead of the pack when it comes to putting laptops in the hands of its students. Let’s stay ahead, keeping focused on how technology can transform our students’ learning.

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From MLTI student to...

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Author
Matthew Stone
Published
2011.06.01
Event
MLTI Student Conference
Link
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From MLTI student to International Programmer

When it comes to computer programming, Chris Jones has become a global citizen.

A junior at Oak Hill High School in Wales, Jones has collaborated with programmers from Egypt, Brazil and elsewhere on a variety of ventures.

His latest project involves working with a team of developers to perfect a web-based e-mail application called Crystal Mail, which builds upon Mobile Cube, a mail client Jones developed on his own.

Jones’ interest in computers didn’t start until he received his first Maine Learning Technology Initiative laptop in seventh grade.

“I started using it more and more,” he said May 26 during a presentation at the 2011 MLTI Student Conference. “I wasn’t afraid to touch a button.”

That fearless exploration helped Jones become an expert in how those laptops worked. By the end of seventh grade, Jones was teaching eighth graders how to use the machines. In eighth grade, he started producing DVDs with highlight reels from school basketball games.

“Everything you see on one of those laptops, I have used,” Jones said.

Soon enough, those highlight reels led to websites, podcasts and the formation of a student team to provide technical support.

“We were exploring everything we could imagine,” Jones said.

The website Jones started in eighth grade is what he eventually used to launch his programming career – a career that’s generated attention from Apple and made a name for himself in the world of open-source software development.

In the process, Jones has learned some important lessons.

“It is only you who will decide how much you want to do,” he said. “You can do anything with these machines. There’s nothing stopping you. There are no limits to the web, or technology.”

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1,100-plus celebrate...

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Author
Matthew Stone
Published
2011.06.01
Event
MLTI Student Conference
Link
See Original Article

1,100-plus celebrate MLTI at UMaine

ORONO – When Hannah Potter returned from a summer camp that joined American teenagers with their Iraqi counterparts, she wanted her classmates at Yarmouth High School to share in the experience.

Chris Jones began middle school as someone not all that interested in technology. By the time he moved onto Oak Hill High School, he was a one-stop source of technical support for his classmates and teachers, and was getting started on collaborative ventures with computer programmers from around the world.

Mike Rodway began middle school without ever having made a movie. That changed when his response to a class assignment in sixth grade at Telstar Regional Middle School was, “Why not make a movie?” Rodway’s filmmaking passion and skill have taken off ever since.

And Joe Lien wouldn’t have thought to ask for the chance to play the guitar at his Poland Regional High School graduation until he started telling his life story in the form of words, pictures and videos.

What do these students have in common?

They’ve used the resources of the Maine Learning Technology Initiative, or MLTI, to realize their passions and deliver on their goals ever since they were given Apple laptops in middle school.

They also delivered presentations styled after those featured on the website TED Talks to more than 1,000 students and teachers on May 26, the day of the 2011 MLTI student conference, held on the campus of the University of Maine.

The student presenters kicked off a day dedicated to celebrating MLTI, the nearly decade-old initiative that’s put laptops in the hands of all Maine seventh and eighth graders and a majority of high-school students, and made technology an integral part of their learning.

The student conference offered a full day of learning that involved students and their MLTI laptops:

The conference featured a number of breakout sessions that offered students tutorials on music production, movie production, book publication, online privacy and an array of other topics.

The culminating afternoon “Über Session” involved all 1,100 students in the auditorium collaborating — through a specially set-up, high-density network — on a word cloud that described artistic images that came across their laptop screens. The session was led by Anthony Shostak, education curator at the Bates College Museum of Art and developer of the Thousand Words Project, an initiative aimed at improving students’ writing skills through art.

The day was designed not only to celebrate MLTI, but to train the student attendees’ focus on college. Students attended sessions located throughout the University of Maine campus and ate lunch at campus dining halls. Raffle prizes included scholarships to the University of Maine’s colleges of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Education and Human Development.

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1,100 students converge...

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Author
Christopher Cousins, BDN Staff
Published
2011.05.26
Event
MLTI Student Conference
Link
See Original Article

1,100 students converge on UMaine for laptop conference

ORONO, Maine — When it comes to technology, Chris Jones of Litchfield is one of those kids who outshines everyone around him, but he wasn’t always that way.

Before Jones’ seventh-grade year, his parents bought him a Dell Windows-based laptop computer.

“That didn’t last very long,” said Jeff Jones, his father. When Jones entered the seventh grade, he was given an Apple iBook, just like tens of thousands of other students in Maine as part of the Maine Learning Technology Initiative spearheaded by former Gov. Angus King. With an Apple in his hands, Jones’ love for technology exploded.

“Suddenly, I just wanted to explore,” said Jones to the Bangor Daily News. Today Jones is one of the go-to guys at his school for tech support — even for the people who make careers out of fixing computers. He’s also a computer programmer working with a team of people from around the world on a new mobile email software application called CrystalMail. It might just be the next big thing in the ever-expanding world of people who access the Internet through their hand-held devices.

“When we’re talking with investors, we don’t advertise the fact that half of us are still in high school,” Jones said to some 1,100 students at the eighth annual MLTI conference at the University of Maine on Thursday.

There are more than 72,000 Apple computers deployed in the MLTI program. Every middle school and about 55 percent of Maine high schools are part of the program, which according to Jeff Mao, the Department of Education’s learning technology policy director, costs the state around $17 million per year. That works out to $242 per student per year, he said, which includes technical support and educational programming for teachers.

“For $242 a year look at what we’re doing for our students,” said Mao. “By comparison, we spent about $90 million on diesel fuel every year to transport students.”

Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen, who attended the first part of the conference, said Maine’s one-of-a-kind laptop program is the envy of education officials from other states.

“We get calls all the time from people wondering how it’s working,” said Bowen. “Maine’s out in front on this and a lot of other states are watching what we’re doing.”

Asked if he and Gov. Paul LePage would continue to support the program past the 2012-13 budget proposal — which includes funding for MLTI — Bowen said the subject hasn’t yet been broached.

“I don’t know what the governor’s vision is for this program,” said Bowen. “I haven’t had a chance yet to sit with him and talk about it.”

Calls and an email to the governor’s office Thursday were not returned.

Though not every student uses his or her MLTI laptop to delve into technology like Jones did, participants in the conference insisted that they’re invaluable for lessons in the classroom and crucial when it comes to the elusive task of accomplishing computer literacy for Maine’s graduates.

Kat Murphy, an eighth-grader at Tremont School on Mount Desert Island, said her laptop has given her a powerful tool with which to pursue her passion for photography — mainly portraits and plant still-lifes.

“They make our schoolwork more fun,” she said. “Class isn’t just pen and paper anymore.”

Despite the success stories, the MLTI program isn’t without its critics, people who think it’s a waste of money or that the students don’t take care of the machines. A commenter identified as “jersey” on an earlier version of this story at www.bangordailynews.com summed it up this way:

“Those laptops are a nuisance and a waste of education dollars,” wrote jersey. “A computer lab would be just as efficient and much less expensive. In our school a quick look was done and it was determined that, at any given time, over half the students on their laptops were on Facebook, music, video, etc (not related to education).”

Indeed, many students at Thursday’s conference were on Facebook or playing video games, but that doesn’t diminish their value, said Angela Roy, a career education, accounting and computer sciences teacher at Oak Hill High School.

“I think situations like that are far fewer than all the good things that are happening,” said Roy. “When you do something as huge as giving laptops to everyone, there will be a few kids who give the program a bad name. The truth is they’re a wonderful tool.”

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About Me

Introduction

Hello, I'm Chris Jones. I'm a technology enthusiast & a web developer.

Thanks to the MLTI Program, in 2007 I was introduced to Apple, the greatest technology company in the world. Since that time I have been growing and expanding my knowledge on computers and technology.

Starting out with nothing, I slowly began to work my way into the technology world and within just 4 years, I had already created a name for myself. Not only was I the 'tech guy' around town, I was also doing tech work around the world.

Whether it was creating an iPhone Web App, or helping develop Crystal Mail with Studio 182, these projects are what got me to where I am today. A developer, a learner, a teacher, and a leader. I share my story with others because all of the things I have done, can be done by anyone who takes the opportunities in front of them.

In my spare time I enjoy stepping away from the computer and just relaxing. Being outdoors, working in the community, in scouts, and in my church. I'm active in whatever I do. One day I hope to take the knowledge that I have gained and run a company of my own.

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