Thursday, September 16, 2010


NOTE: Please distribute this information freely - pass on to individuals you know who will take advantage of it, and post it on to personal learning and social networks you are a part of. This goes for kids, teachers, technical staff, administrators, and all members of Maine's school communities

Essential Question: "What one thing should be done in your school community to increase the number of kids who make it to graduation?"

Do you believe that students do their best work when they take on challenges that truly matter in the real world? Have you ever looked for Maine-based projects you could point middle and high school students towards that would make a real difference?  Projects where they could use their technical and communication skills in support of something that really matters? Projects where they could work independently, in teams with their friends and have the chance to be rewarded for the quality of their work with something more than good grades?

WatchMECreate is a collaborative effort between ACTEM and the MLTI. It will consist of a series of serious challenges put out to Maine's grade 7-12 schools, asking students (and perhaps teachers) to collaboratively develop and submit video responses.  While posed as a “student challenge,” it is assumed that some students may come to it independently while others will be directed towards it by their teacher.

The first challenge is called WatchMEGraduate and asks students to create a 2-minute video response to, "What one thing should be done in your school community to increase the number of kids who make it to graduation?" This challenge is made real by the following documents:

Gov. Baldacci's Economic Strategy ([ ] "The most important measure of economic development in Maine is the educational attainment of its people and the opportunities that arise from our people's participation in the economy of tomorrow."

From Maine Dept. of Education Website: "An Act To Increase Maine's High School Graduation Rates (Sec. 1. 20-A MRSA c. 211, sub-c. 1-B) ...The bill also requires the Commissioner of Education and the State Board of Education to establish a stakeholder group to develop recommendations relating to increasing secondary school graduation rates in the State and to report its findings to the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over education matters by January 10, 2011." went live on 9/1/10; First challenge, WatchMEGraduate, went live on 9/7/10; Uploads will begin to be accepted on 9/14/10; September 14 - October 10 - Video uploading window; October 11 - 14: Judging of entries; October 15, 2010: Winners Announced at MainEducation Conference

Here's the process:

1) A team of up to four student members (grades 7-12) will produce a video response to the current challenge
2) Videos must put forward positive solutions that are process-focused
3) The video will be no longer than 2 minutes
4) Teams are responsible for obtaining appropriate permissions for any materials used
5) All videos must carry, in the credits, a Creative Commons license
6) The video will be uploaded (see web site for details), along with contact information, but will not be publicly displayed until all appropriate releases have been received by ACTEM & MLTI
7) That’s it. Now get to work. Oh, and because this is professional grade work, please do be sure to cite your sources...

Judging process: Pains are being taken to make this not “feel like school.” A rubric has been created and posted on the web site.  Judges will be drawn from ACTEM & MLTI as well as other community sources.

Rewards: All teams whose entry is accepted as complete and placed on the WatchMECreate site will be entered into a drawing for team sets of four high quality, limited edition ACTEM / MLTI WatchMECreate T-shirts. Five middle school teams and five high school teams will be chosen at random. The top Middle School and High School teams will each be awarded $500 to be used by the team to help move their solution forward, as well as an iPod nano for each student team member.

Questions or comments: Please send e-mail to

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