The conference is partnering with the United Nations’ World Food Programme to host the students and teachers on a specially-developed version of FreeRice.com, a web site where users make donations of rice to feed hungry people by answering core curriculum questions around vocabulary, mathematics, geography, science and more.
Maine’s laptop program is the first to work with FreeRice.com to create a localized effort to raise food for the hungry. A customized version of the site will be available to challenge Maine students, along with invitees from around the world, to raise as much food as they can.
The project showcases how technology can help make learning relevant and engaging for students by allowing them to address a real world problem via a social network while learning.
There is also a local hunger connection – students have been encouraged to bring canned foods to donate to the Good Shepherd Food Bank, Maine’s largest food bank.
The project also presented a technological challenge for network technicians at the University of Maine System, who are busy finalizing a wireless network that will host more than 1,000 wireless laptops simultaneously in the 1400 seat Hutchins Concert Hall in the Collins Center for the Arts.
A representative of FreeRice.com from the World Food Programme will address students via video conference to kick off the event.
There will also be student-led workshops all day, such as:
- “I came, I saw, iPod!” (Mary C. McCarthy & Students from Middle School of the Kennebunks)
- News is Now, News is Complex, News is Us, News is Important! (Nicole Poulin & Students from Messalonskee Middle School)
- Get Your Geek On! Starting a High School Tech Team (Shana Goodall & Students from Orono High School)