Archive for May 24th, 2012


Media Release

May 24, 2012

1,000 students with laptops make music, learn

ORONO – What do you get when you put 1,000 students with laptops in the Collins Center for the Arts at the University of Maine in Orono? Music, literally.

At this year’s Maine Learning Technology Initiative Student Conference at the University of Maine on Thursday, students learned about innovative ways they can use their state-issued laptops.

During the afternoon “uber session,” students turned their laptop keyboards into musical keyboards and performed a world premiere musical composition, along with 12 live musicians on stage, and two members of the New World Symphony playing live from Miami. Some of the students had used software available on their MLTI devices to pre-program their machines to create their own recording of a full octave of notes – using anything from the sounds of birds to objects around the house or digital sounds of their own making. All – including those with no musical experience at all – contributed to the performance.

“We’ve done some pretty cool stuff at the uber session in years past,” said Jeff Mao, director of learning technology for the Maine Department of Education, which organized the event with Apple, the University and other partners. “The student energy and engagement this time topped them all.”

The New England School of Communications greatly enhanced the event by providing wall-to-wall video and audio coverage, some of it projected live on a large screen, all of it to be available for posting online and in future promotion.

The annual conference, now in its ninth year, is a way to generate energy and excitement about using technology to enhance learning. It’s also a way to give middle school (and some high school) students a glimpse into college life: students navigate themselves to breakout sessions around campus and eat in one of the school’s dining halls.

Helping students use technology to develop their own learning plans and to enhance their learning experiences is a cornerstone of the Maine DOE’s strategic plan, unveiled by Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen in February.

“We need to put students more in charge of their own learning,” Bowen said. “Technology is one way to do that.”

Students started the day with three student keynote speakers who addressed the entire gathering. Tim Walsh, a freshman at Kennebunk High School, shared how he leveraged his access to his MLTI MacBook to become a design professional along with a team at Middle School of the Kennebunks. Emily & Katie Morse, juniors at Machias High School, talked about their experience studying Japanese through an online course via their MLTI MacBooks to meet their world language graduation requirement.

Students then spread out across campus for more than 20 breakout sessions on everything from video game design with Scratch (software) to tips on using GarageBand music-making software to developing smartphone apps and searching for planets.

And it was all live-tweeted by students from Auburn Middle school using the Twitter hashtag #mlti2012.

All Maine Department of Education news releases can be found online at:


In Today’s News

May 24, 2012

Buckfield Jr/Sr High School art exhibit

The first annual art and music night was held on Wednesday night and the Lewiston-Auburn Sun Journal was there covering the story. You can read about it  which you can read what staff writer Eileen M. Adams wrote about it by clicking here. Included in the article are several photographs of the event. Music teacher Ethan Wright led the band and Joe McLaughlin is the schools art teacher.


Hampden Academy Bronco

May 24, 2012

Galloping bronze

On Friday, May 18, 2012, the Bangor Daily published an article on the new Hampden Academy Bronco that is being created for the high school scheduled to open for students in September. Artist and Hampden Academy graduate, Forest Hart has created a wonderful opportunity and gift for the students and community.

Thank you to Art teacher (and arts assessment teacher leader) Leah Olson for sending this post that includes the experience that students and staff had throughout the process of creating the bronco.

“A great teacher never strives to explain his vision. He simply invites you to stand beside him and see for yourself.” (Raymond Inmon)
It was with mixed emotions that we completed our last visit to work on the New Academy Bronco sculpture on Saturday, May 12. It has been a wonderful experience for faculty and students. I organized and carried through many scheduled trips which were attended by various faculty and administration. As a first year Hampden Academy Art teacher, I see very clearly that the loyalty of alumni is strong. I feel very fortunate to be a part of Hampden Academy’s past, present and future! It is an experience that will always bring a sense of pride in what our mascot is about! My interpretation:

Freedom of expression – Freedom to be lifelong learners – Freedom to take education that is offered and go for it!

May 5

The work we did on Saturday, May 5th, consisted of placing shims (pieces of metal) along the seams of the sculpture that are used to separate parts of the plaster mold. We also worked on making “birds nests” from hemp that is like hay to hold the plaster mold.

The Master Mold – Getting ready for bronze –  A mold is a container used to shape material. The clay bronco was divided into multiple sections by inserting thin flat metal strips (shims), on end, into the surface of the soft clay. Next a rubber material was brushed onto each side of the dividers. The rubber flows and forms into every detail of the sculpture. Several coats are applied, being careful not to completely cover the metal shims. The shims keep the rubber sides from sticking together. After the rubber has dried, wet plaster (with the hemp “nests” we just made) will be put on top of the rubber. The plaster will  harden to form a casing around the flexible rubber to maintain its shape once the clay is removed. When the plaster has hardened, the mold is opened at the shims dividing the sculpture. The clay bronco is removed. It will leave two halves which when joined back together form a container/cavity in the shape of the bronco that will be used to pour liquid bronze in.  

May 12

When we arrived at the studio, the Bronco was completely encased with a white rubber coating.  Quite a shock as I was used to seeing the gray clay.  The goal of the 24 hour day was to get the sculpture completely covered with plaster.  The studio was set up for beginning the process of adding the plaster. Officer Stewart, James and I worked outside making “birds nests” from hemp that is used to create a strong plaster mold. Jacob worked with the other men adding the plaster to the Bronco. My son had the fortunate job of unwrapping the small bronze sculptures from the foundry that are sold in gallery spaces. He was also busy taking pictures with his IPad so he could document his experience. I think he took about a hundred pictures and then he learned about “editing”.

Once the Bronco is sent to the foundry in Colorado, it will take up to two months before it is returned. Not sure if the sculpture will be in place when school opens in the fall. So many factors in the final steps make it difficult to predict when the unveiling event will take place.


I have learned a great deal about sculpture and the importance of the arts in communities. Mr. and Mrs. Hart welcomed us into their studio space to be a part of something great. They understand that the sculpture experience is important to promote as education, advocacy for the arts, respect for nature and pride of community.  
From the bottom of our “H(e)arts” – THANK YOU!

Links below to other information about the sculpture and Mr. Hart.

Here is a link to the Hart’s website.

This link will take you to an impressive article written about him.

Hampden Academy Students Build a New Bronco –

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