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Literacy Now!

FCC takes key step toward modernizing eRate

eSchool News - Fri, 07/11/2014 - 2:34pm
Voting along party lines, the FCC approves more funding for Wi-Fi connectivity—but doesn’t raise the funding cap

The FCC’s vote marks an ‘important early victory’ for students, CoSN said.

In a split decision along party lines, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has voted to move ahead with a plan to modernize the eRate by increasing the amount of money available for high-speed internet access in schools.

The agency on July 11 approved a proposal by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to retool the eRate to focus on expanding Wi-Fi connectivity within schools, without raising the program’s annual funding cap—which currently stands at $2.4 billion and is adjusted each year for inflation.

Under the new plan, the FCC will make available $2 billion in additional eRate funding over the next two years through “improved financial practices” that will free up excess funding reserves. This additional money will be designated for Wi-Fi equipment and distributed using a modified discount matrix of up to 85 percent, with a cap on requests.

For the following three years after that, the eRate will target $1 billion each year for Wi-Fi requests, while continuing to support the broadband connections that bring internet access into each building. To do this, the eRate will phase out support for non-broadband services, such as pagers and cell phones.

All told, the plan will mean $5 billion in funding targeted toward expanding Wi-Fi connectivity inside the nation’s schools and libraries over the next five years.

“While [the] eRate over its 18-year life has succeeded in connecting virtually all schools and libraries to the internet, it is not currently geared for today’s world of interactive, individualized digital learning,” the FCC said in a statement.

“By continuing to support broadband connectivity to the building while significantly expanding support for robust Wi-Fi networks within classrooms and libraries, [these] reforms can deliver the benefits of customized learning to students over tablets and laptops.”

(Next page: Other eRate changes—and reaction to the new FCC plan)

Categories: Literacy Now!

July: 4 education grants you don’t want to miss

eSchool News - Thu, 07/10/2014 - 11:00pm
School grants offer much-needed financial help for schools

School funding difficulties show no sign of abating, and school budgets are stretched to the limit. Many educators and administrators rely on school grants to fund important projects and opportunities for students.

Each month, eSchool News compiles a list of the most current education grants expiring soon—from a focus on STEM learning to funding for financial education programs. You don’t want to miss out on these July school funding opportunities for teachers, students, parents, and administrators.

(Next page: July’s funding opportunities)

Categories: Literacy Now!

$4K grants for senior high math teachers

eSchool News - Tue, 07/08/2014 - 12:41pm
Connecting Mathematics to Other Subject Areas Grants for Grades 9–12 Teachers

The purpose of this grant is to create senior high classroom materials or lessons connecting mathematics to other fields. For 2015–2016, grants with a maximum of $4,000 each will be awarded to persons currently teaching mathematics in grades 9–12. Materials may be in the form of books, visual displays, computer programs or displays, slide shows, videotapes, or other appropriate medium. The focus of these materials should be on showing the connectivity of mathematics to other fields or to the world around us. Any acquisition of equipment or payment of personal stipends must be critical to the grant proposal and may not be a major portion of the proposed budget. Any published sources must be documented. Proposals must address the following: the plan for developing and evaluating materials, the connectivity to other fields or disciplines, and anticipated impact on students’ learning.

Deadline: Nov. 7, 2014

Categories: Literacy Now!

$1.2-$2M federal STEM grants

eSchool News - Tue, 07/08/2014 - 12:38pm
Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST)

The Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) program through research and model-building activities seeks to build understandings of best practice factors, contexts and processes contributing to K-12 students’ motivation and participation in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) core domains along with other STEM cognate domains (e.g.,information and communications technology (ICT), computing, computer sciences, data analytics, among others) that inform education programs and workforce domains. The ITEST program funds foundational and applied research projects addressing the development, implementation, and dissemination of innovative strategies, tools, and models for engaging students to be aware of STEM and cognate careers, and to pursue formal school-based and informal out-of-school educational experiences to prepare for such careers.

Deadline: Nov. 6, 2014

Categories: Literacy Now!

Four $5K grants for financial literacy programs

eSchool News - Tue, 07/08/2014 - 12:34pm

The Financially Literate Youth Grant Program, from CompareCards, provides funding for financial literacy programs in K-12 schools. Four $5,000 grants will be awarded to schools implementing or planning to implement a financial education program. To be eligible, schools must be a public, private, or charter K-12 school located in the United States. The school must have already implemented or is looking to implement a financial education program and must share overall results with CompareCards upon the program’s completion.

Deadline: Aug. 8, 2014

Categories: Literacy Now!

$20K grants for middle, high school STEM projects

eSchool News - Tue, 07/08/2014 - 12:26pm
Verizon Innovative App Challenge

The Verizon Innovative App Challenge provides the opportunity for middle school and high school students, working with a faculty adviser, to apply their STEM knowledge, ingenuity, and creativity to develop an original mobile app concept that incorporates STEM and addresses a need or problem in their school or community. The goal of the Challenge is to increase student interest and knowledge in STEM subjects and mobile technology through an engaging and empowering learning experience.
Deadline: Nov. 24, 2014

Categories: Literacy Now!

June: 4 education grants you don’t want to miss

eSchool News - Thu, 06/05/2014 - 11:00pm
School grants offer much-needed financial help for schools

School funding difficulties show no sign of abating, and school budgets are stretched to the limit. Many educators and administrators rely on school grants to fund important projects and opportunities for students.

Each month, eSchool News compiles a list of the most current education grants expiring soon—from a focus on cultural traditions to prizes for deserving educators. You don’t want to miss out on these June school funding opportunities for teachers, students, parents, and administrators.

(Next page: June’s funding opportunities)

Categories: Literacy Now!

$10K and national recognition for school superintendents

eSchool News - Thu, 06/05/2014 - 10:22am

Now in its 28th year, the AASA National Superintendent of the Year Program pays tribute to the talent and vision of the men and women who lead our nation’s public schools. This program is sponsored by Aramark, VALIC and AASA.

Categories: Literacy Now!

Gift cards for prize-winning student essays

eSchool News - Thu, 06/05/2014 - 10:09am

Students entering 5th and 6th grades in the fall of 2014 are eligible. Essays, focused on a single book, should be one page in length and must be submitted with an entry form, in person, at participating public library locations.

Categories: Literacy Now!

$100K in projector technologies

eSchool News - Thu, 06/05/2014 - 10:03am

Administrators and faculty of public or private schools in the United States can enter Casio’s LampFree® Projector Education Grant for a chance to win one Casio Ultra Short Throw projector (model: XJ-UT310WN) for their school worth $2,000. One winner will be selected in each state for a total donation of approximately $100,000 in projector technology throughout the duration of the program.

Categories: Literacy Now!

Reading Rainbow aims to improve literacy once more

eSchool News - Wed, 06/04/2014 - 10:30pm
For three decades, Reading Rainbow helped inspire joy in reading and books for generations of children. A new app aims to reboot the popular children’s program.

From 1983 to 2009, the nonprofit PBS television program Reading Rainbow helped improve children’s literacy with fun and interactive skits led by actor LeVar Burton.

“But you don’t have to take my word for it.”

If you remember Burton’s famous catchphrase, you might get sentimental watching his new Kickstarter campaign to help teach children how to read.

The Kickstarter campaign pledge was $1 million. At the time this article was written, over $3.2 million had been raised.

(Next page: How your donations will impact children’s literacy)

Categories: Literacy Now!

$8K for K’NEX experts

eSchool News - Tue, 06/03/2014 - 11:22am

Children can enter using the online entry form found on the K’NEX website, www.knexperts.com. Submissions must include up to 3 photos of the creation, and a short video or one-page summary describing how the child came up with the idea, how long the design took to build, and how many K’NEX pieces were used.

Categories: Literacy Now!

2 ways to support eRate modernization

eSchool News - Sun, 05/18/2014 - 10:30pm
How can the federal eRate program be upgraded and modernized?

Last month, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) closed its comment period for its most recent Public Notice, soliciting responses for proposed changes to the eRate program. As a former school superintendent, in my current role with the American Association of School Administrators (AASA), and as a member of the USAC board, the entity that administers the eRate program, I have strongly supported the eRate program for the critical role it has played in the rapid and dramatic expansion of school and library connectivity, forever changing the face of students’ classroom experiences.

The current eRate policy environment is an unprecedented confluence of events: an FCC Chairman committed to modernizing the program, an FCC commissioner deeply passionate about eRate, the momentum of President Obama’s ConnectED proposal, the announcement of $2 billion in found funding for the eRate program, and the ever-increasing demand for connectivity in the nation’s schools and libraries. Program policy isn’t made in a silo, though, and there are external pressures that stand to shape the final eRate changes as much as the voice of program beneficiaries.

(Next page: A two-pronged approach to eRate modernization)

Categories: Literacy Now!

Digital divide, lack of certified librarians ‘a national crisis’

eSchool News - Wed, 05/07/2014 - 11:00pm
Educators, librarians discuss how schools and libraries can respond to the ‘second wave of the digital divide’

Washington, D.C. — Barbara Stripling, president of the American Library Association, said students, teachers, and librarians are facing “a silent dilemma.”

Imagine, she said, you’re one of two students sitting next to each other in the same classroom, receiving the same assignment. The homework requires some online research. One student, who has had a computer as long as she can remember, goes home that night and gets to work.

You, the other student, are from a lower-income family and have never had access to a computer. You eventually are able to sneak in an hour or two at the public library, but as you stare at the empty web browser, you don’t even know where to begin.

“You’ve never had that kind of access,” Stripling said. “No one has ever explained  to you what good or bad information is online. You turn in your assignment, and that other student gets a good grade, and you don’t.”

Stripling was one of three panelists who spoke at the National Press Club on May 6 about the “second wave of the digital divide.” The first wave is the lack of equal access to computers and the internet.

The second wave comes when the students who lack access grow up without ever learning necessary technology skills.

(Next page: ‘A national crisis’)

Categories: Literacy Now!

May: 4 education grants you don’t want to miss

eSchool News - Thu, 05/01/2014 - 10:30pm
School grants offer much-needed financial help for schools

School funding difficulties show no sign of abating, and school budgets are stretched to the limit. Many educators and administrators rely on school grants to fund important projects and opportunities for students.

Each month, eSchool News compiles a list of the most current education grants expiring soon—from a focus on cultural traditions to prizes for deserving educators. You don’t want to miss out on these May school funding opportunities for teachers, students, parents, and administrators.

(Next page: May’s funding opportunities)

Categories: Literacy Now!

$500 prizes for deserving teachers

eSchool News - Tue, 04/29/2014 - 12:59pm

Nominate a deserving educator on the contest’s Facebook page and that educator could win prizes from places like Amazon, The Container Store, The Limited, Pottery Barn, DonorsChoose.org, TeachersPayTeachers.com, and more.

Categories: Literacy Now!

Challenge students with this digital citizenship contest

eSchool News - Tue, 04/29/2014 - 12:57pm

This past fall, Common Sense Media debuted its first music video, Pause & Think Online, an animated song for kids to learn about digital citizenship. We love our colorful characters but think your students would be even better sharing the message – and we want to see them! Have students create a video, in which they sing, dance, act and/or animate their own characters. The video must:

  • Incorporate the Pause & Think Online song
  • Include Pause & Think Online in your video title
  • Feature elementary students, from grades K-5
  • Feature participants who have parent-signed Release Forms
  • Be no longer than 3 ½ minutes
  • Contain no copyrighted material (unless you have permission)
  • Include end credits (but no full names of students)
  • Be posted as a public video on YouTube
Categories: Literacy Now!

Students: Describe your goals, win an iPad Mini

eSchool News - Tue, 04/29/2014 - 12:54pm

This year’s contest asks students to answer the following question: What is a goal you want to accomplish and why? Students can answer the question in the form of a video or an essay, and they can also elaborate by explaining what motivates them, who has encouraged them, how they plan to accomplish this goal, and how will their education help them. Four students will win a new iPad Mini. Additionally, the four winners’ teachers will receive a $100 gift card.

Categories: Literacy Now!

Prizes for student projects on community traditions

eSchool News - Tue, 04/29/2014 - 12:52pm

The challenge asks participants to examine a local or regional tradition through the eyes of a community tradition bearer and create a video, podcast or slide show to share the story. Cultural traditions students might explore range from dance, games and handicrafts to cooking, storytelling, customs, distinctive jobs, and more. Comprehensive supporting materials reinforce real world folklorist skills by defining terms, providing examples, tips, and organizational tools, and walking students through professional interview and story-shaping processes.

Categories: Literacy Now!

Got funding? State’s laptop plan at risk

eSchool News - Wed, 04/16/2014 - 10:00pm
Hawaii’s laptop program may not reach full-scale implementation

The future of a pilot program eyed as a model to eventually put laptops in the hands of all Hawaii public school students and teachers is uncertain now that lawmakers have zeroed out funds to continue supporting the initiative.

Eight schools were selected last summer to pilot what’s known as a one-to-one digital device initiative, which provided MacBook Air laptops to some 6,700 students and teachers for the current school year.

The program dubbed Access Learning was scaled down to a pilot after legislators last year funded less than a third of the costs the state Department of Education had requested to implement a program statewide.

(Next page: The laptop program’s funding challenges)

Categories: Literacy Now!
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