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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)

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Obama announces grants to schools to integrate work experiences

eSchool News - Wed, 04/09/2014 - 11:51am

President Obama traveled to a high school in the Washington suburbs on Monday to announce the winners of $107 million in grants intended to update curriculums to better integrate work experiences and real-world learning opportunities, the New York Times reports. “We want to invest in your future,” Mr. Obama told students at Bladensburg High School in Maryland, one of the winners. “Your potential for success is so high as long as you stay focused,” he added. “As long as you’re clear about your goals, you’re going to succeed.” Bladensburg was one of 24 recipients of the awards, which are intended to finance partnerships of local education agencies and employers…

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April: 5 education grants you don’t want to miss

eSchool News - Thu, 04/03/2014 - 11:00pm
School grants offer some 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 editors compile a list of the most current education grants expiring soon—from a focus on professional development for arts educators to funding that helps improve school leadership. You don’t want to miss out on these April school funding opportunities for teachers, students, parents, and administrators.

(Next page: April’s funding opportunities)

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$2M to help improve school leaders

eSchool News - Wed, 04/02/2014 - 8:20pm

The Turnaround School Leaders Program supports projects to develop and implement or enhance and implement a leadership pipeline that selects, prepares, places, supports, and retains school leaders (which may include leadership teams) for School Improvement Grant (SIG) schools (as defined in this notice) and/or SIG-eligible schools (as defined in this notice) in a local educational agency (LEA) or consortium of LEAs. Note: Option deadline for notice of intent to apply is April 25, 2014.

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Prizes for projects about cultural traditions

eSchool News - Wed, 04/02/2014 - 8:16pm

This 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. Participants also have access to Smithsonian professional folklorists.

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Free yearbook technology equipment

eSchool News - Wed, 04/02/2014 - 8:11pm

Digital Wish is running a yearbook photo contest and entries are due May 5, 2014, on Cinco de Mayo. We’ve teamed up with Olympus, Picaboo Yearbooks, and a talented photographer from USA Today to give away three Olympus digital yearbook cameras, as well as an iPad. We are also giving one of the winners a class set of 30 free yearbooks.

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Up to $350K for arts PD

eSchool News - Wed, 04/02/2014 - 8:08pm

The Professional Development for Arts Educators (PDAE) program supports the implementation of high-quality model professional development programs in elementary and secondary education for music, dance, drama, media arts, or visual arts, including folk arts, for educators and other arts instructional staff of kindergarten through grade 12 (K-12) students in high-poverty schools. The purpose of this program is to strengthen standards-based arts education programs and to help ensure that all students meet challenging State academic content standards and challenging State student academic achievement standards in the arts.

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$1,500 for chemistry educators

eSchool News - Wed, 04/02/2014 - 7:44pm

These grants support ideas that enhance classroom learning, foster student development, and reveal the wonders of chemistry.

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5 ways to do ed-tech on a shoestring budget

eSchool News - Wed, 04/02/2014 - 11:43am

If teachers ran the government, we wouldn’t have a national debt, Edudemic reports. Teachers are frugal. Very frugal. I’m not saying I reuse dental floss or anything, but the lengths I’ve gone to save money are amazing. This is because the money I’m saving is often…mine. Still, sometimes a teacher has to spend. I buy tons of pencils, papers, documentaries, resources, and other things each year. What I really want is unlimited access to the types of technologies my students find most engaging. Sometimes I feel this is way outside of my budget. Many schools feel it’s outside theirs, too…

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4 ways to leverage federal funds for ed-tech

eSchool News - Wed, 03/26/2014 - 11:00pm
Federal funding can help support ed-tech goals in a school or district

Education technology is a priority in today’s classrooms, and this includes ensuring that students have access to technology tools and high-speed internet to access digital learning resources.

While school budgets are still burdened, federal funding programs, including formula and competitive grant programs, can funnel funds directly to digital learning opportunities, even if program rules and statutes do not explicitly reference ed-tech.

In an open letter to educators, Richard Culatta, the U.S. Department of Education’s director of the Office of Educational Technology, outlines some ways that federal funds from the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), along with funds from the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), can support ed-tech goals to use technology tools to improve teaching and learning.

These funds might be used to improve ed-tech professional development opportunities for educators, expand access to digital content for students, promote educator collaboration and communication, and give students devices to access digital learning resources.

(Next page: Examples of how federal funds might be used to support ed-tech)

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March: 5 education grants you don’t want to miss

eSchool News - Thu, 03/13/2014 - 11:00pm

School funding difficulties show no sign of abating this March, 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 editors compile a list of the most current education grants expiring soon—from a focus on integrating finance into math projects to corporate funding for school arts programs. You don’t want to miss out on these March school funding opportunities for teachers, students, parents, and administrators.

(Next page: March’s funding opportunities)

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Up to $3K for math projects

eSchool News - Thu, 03/13/2014 - 10:29am

This is a new educational program that asks teachers to turn the idea of $1 billion into a math assignment for a chance to win a $3,000 grant. H&R Block is awarding a $50 gift card to the first 50 qualified entries.

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$500 grants for Sherlock Holmes education

eSchool News - Thu, 03/13/2014 - 9:44am

These grants support and recognize exemplary educational experiences that introduce young people to the Sherlock Holmes stories, in the form of grants of up to $500 to fund the development of such programs.

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$2K awards for school arts and culture

eSchool News - Thu, 03/13/2014 - 9:39am

Target funds in-school arts programs that enhance students’ classroom curricula by bringing the arts and cultural experiences to schools, such as in-school performances, artist-in-residency programs and workshops in schools.

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$5K for innovative STEM teachers

eSchool News - Thu, 03/13/2014 - 9:34am

Wanted: Classroom Innovators! Toshiba America Foundation accepts applications from teachers who are passionate about making science and mathematics more engaging for their students.

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Up to $400K for school counseling services

eSchool News - Thu, 03/13/2014 - 9:31am

The purpose of the Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Programs (ESSC) is to support efforts by local educational agencies (LEAs) to establish or expand elementary school and secondary school counseling programs.

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Ed-tech, equity in FY 2015 budget spotlight

eSchool News - Wed, 03/05/2014 - 7:09am
Proposed budget aims for equal education access for all children

Education technology will receive a renewed focus in President Obama’s proposed FY 2015 budget, which suggests creating a “fresh framework for delivering STEM education, supporting what works, and reducing fragmentation.”

Through the Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative, 100,000 teachers in 500 districts will have access to professional development to help them effectively use broadband connectivity via the ConnectEDucators program.

Having a dedicated resource to work with teachers as they have consistent and reliable access to tech can be a “game-changer,” said U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, noting that blended learning has huge potential in education.

(Next page: Budget details)

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Utah lawmakers back millions more for STEM education

eSchool News - Mon, 03/03/2014 - 12:44pm

The House Education Committee on Friday endorsed a bill giving millions more dollars to the STEM Action Center, the Salt Lake Tribune reports. The center, which is in the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, works with schools and businesses to improve science, technology, engineering and math education in Utah. HB150, proposed by Rep. Val Peterson, R-Orem, would put $23.5 million more into the center this year. However, Peterson and lawmakers who back the plan acknowledged legislative leaders may pencil in the center for much less new money…

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For cash-strapped schools, smart ways to spend limited tech dollars

eSchool News - Tue, 02/25/2014 - 1:36pm

For schools looking to spend limited dollars allocated for technology in smart and efficient ways, lessons learned over years of making tough decisions can be helpful, Mind/Shift reports. Mark Samberg, who has worked in education for 13 years, first as a K-12 tech director and later as a district level technology director, has some sage advice. Samberg is a research associate for the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation, a center at North Carolina State University dedicated to helping figure out what tech solutions work in classrooms and to sharing what its researchers learn with educators. “Schools are making the best decisions they can given the information they have,” Samberg said. “It’s very difficult to stay on top of what’s new and cutting edge when you’ve got a billion other things going on.”

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The real problem with school internet

eSchool News - Thu, 02/20/2014 - 10:00pm
Federal funding only goes so far for internet and infrastructure; here’s how states and communities are helping

For schools across the country, mobile device management and online testing concerns start at the basic level: “How do we get the internet and infrastructure needed?” As it turns out, even the eRate stops short, and schools just can’t find the funding they need. That’s why many districts are turning to their states and local districts for help.

“It’s very important to plan ahead, you can’t stress that enough,” said John Harrington, CEO of Funds for Learning, which provides consulting and support services for the needs of eRate program participants. “Knowing how much broadband you have can be done with multiple speed tests that are available online, but that’s the snapshot of where you are today; it doesn’t answer where you want to be—in terms of internet and infrastructure—in the future.”

Planning ahead can help districts determine how many devices they want to support, the number of students they plan to support over the next few years, and the activities they’d like to have involving online and mobile learning in the future, said Harrington.

“Sometimes if the need isn’t that great, or if a district is already secure in their infrastructure and internet, it’s as simple as a call to the phone company. But if new infrastructure is needed, well, that’s where the real problems begin,” he said.

(Next page: The real school internet problem)

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