ORONO — Maine students are turning their laptop computers into musical instruments and performing an original musical competition as part of an annual student laptop computer conference.

About 1,000 students and 200 teachers are gathering Thursday in Orono for the ninth annual Maine Learning Technology Initiative conference.

The event brings together students to share how the Maine Learning Technology Initiative — which puts laptops in the hands of all seventh- and eighth-graders and most high school students — is being used in schools across Maine.

The musical performance includes 12 live musicians on stage and two New World Symphony members from Miami. Other sessions range from video game design to tips on developing smartphone apps and using Garage Band software.