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Technology Integration Resources:
Grants, Other Funding, Grant Writing, and Free Resources

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Technology Integration is a four part series on essential questions, technology integration resources, web page design, and multimedia in projects.  Sections contain relevant opening essays and resources.

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Grants, Other Funding, Grant Writing, Free Resources

 

HOT: Get the scoop...

E-Rate and Internet Access

Paper on fire for hot newsRead the 2010 FCC National Broadband Plan: Connecting America for its impact on education and the E-rate.  The FCC's plan recommends "changes to the E-rate program—which offers schools and libraries discounted telecommunications services, Internet access and internal connections to improve the broadband infrastructure available to schools" (p. 236). See the FCC Broadband Progress reports.

The FCC continues to monitor the E-rate program and broadband progress and elaborated on the program in its consumer guide, E-Rate: Universal Service Program for Schools and Libraries, updated 2021.  Per the guide, the FCC's E-Rate program makes telecommunications and information services more affordable for schools and libraries.  With funding from the Universal Service Fund E-Rate provides discounts for telecommunications, Internet access, and internal connections to eligible schools and libraries.

E-Rate Central provides e-rate consulting, compliance, and forms processing services for e-rate applicants.  You'll also find information pertaining to CIPA (Children's Internet Protection Act).

Connect K-12 is "a free tool that aggregates, analyzes, and visualizes E-rate data."  It helps school districts find the best local pricing for internet access.

The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is a federal benefit for eligible households that helps pay for internet service and devices.  This program benefits students who do not currently have internet access at home, which has become a necessary feature for them for homework and to access relevant resources for their success.

American Rescue Plan Act of 2021

In The American Rescue Plan Includes $122 Billion for Education: How Can It Be Used? Susan Gentz (2021, March 12) provided a summary answering this question.  Key information includes, but is not limited to the following: "At least 20% of funds must be used to address learning loss through evidence-based interventions that respond to students' academic, social and emotional needs.  The remaining funds can be used for any allowable use under he Elementary and Secondary Education Act, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, and Adult Education and Family Literacy Act."  Among other uses is that funds can used to purchase educational technology (e.g., hardware, software, connectivity).  States have strict requirements on how funds are spent.

See the Alliance for Excellent Education's Summary of K-12 Education Provisions included in this act and the full text of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021: A guide for K-12 educators is an ebook from RingCentral.  It begins with a summary of the provisions for K-12 education, then explains how funds are delivered at the state level, how you can access funds at the district level, and how you can use the funds.

Digital Equity for All

In September 2022, the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Education Technology released Advancing Digital Equity for All: Community-Based Recommendations for Developing Effective Digital Equity Plans to Close the Digital Divide and Enable Technology-Empowered Learning.  The document provides "guidance on equitable broadband access, with particular emphasis on adoption, to support leaders in building their digital equity plans" (p. 19).  The report elaborates on three components of access: availability, affordability, and adoption and addresses barriers and strategies within the following questions:

  • Availability: Is there sufficient infrastructure and coverage to deliver reliable, high-speed wired or wireless broadband service and technology tools for learning?
  • Affordability: Can learners and families/caregivers pay for the total cost of maintaining reliable, high-speed broadband service and technology tools for learning?
  • Adoption: Do learners and families/caregivers have the information, support, and skills to obtain regular, adequate access to reliable, high-speed broadband service and technology tools for learning? (p. 19)

 

 

Do you need help writing your grant?

School Dollars GifTech & Learning has a compehensive grant guide for preparing, writing, and applying for education funding.

Most questions about additional funding are best answered by contacting your state education agency. The U.S. Department of Education provides grant information.  There's also a section for Funding Digital Learning.  However, the following resources might benefit you.

 

AdoptAClassroom offers funding for classrooms and schools through its fundraising platform.  Per the site, "Educators create a fundraising page or apply for a grant.  Donors give to a specific classroom, school, or fund.  Educators can immediately order the items they need.  Donors receive updates about the impact they made."

American Association of School Administrators includes a list of resources for grants and funding.

American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Foundation Classroom Grant Program awards grants each year up to $500 for projects that have a clear connection to STEM and an emphasis on Aerospace.  K-12 classroom teachers who are also current AIAA Educator Associate members before receiving a grant are eligible to apply.  Schools can receive up to two grants per calendar year.

Association of American Educators Foundation (AAEF) Classroom Grant Application can be completed by full-time educators who have not received a grant from the AAEF in the past two years.  Up to $500 can be awarded and used for a variety of projects and materials (e.g., books, calculators, math manipulatives, software, AV equipment, lab materials, etc.).  Application deadlines are noted for Spring and Autumn.

DonorsChoose.org is an online charity to help students in need.  "[P]ublic school teachers from every corner of America post classroom project requests on DonorsChoose.org. Requests range from pencils for a poetry writing unit, to violins for a school recital, to microscope slides for a biology class" (About section).  Project requests have included for technology products.

Fund for Teachers offers grants for preK-12th grade educators to support learning experiences locally or world-wide.  Applicants can design their own fellowships to "develop skills, knowledge and confidence that impact student achievement" (About Us section).  Individuals may be awarded up to $5000 and teams up to $10,000.  To be eligible, an applicant must also have at least three years teaching experience, be employed full-time with "at least 50% of their work week in direct instruction with students in a classroom or classroom-like setting" and intend to continue teaching in the consecutive school year.

Funds for Learning is an educational technology consulting firm specializing in the federal E-rate program. FFL helps K-12 schools, libraries and businesses benefit from this and other ed-tech funding opportunities designed to get them connected to the Internet. There is also a blog to boost understanding of the E-rate program.

FreeGetEdFunding.com is a free service for registered users.  It is a database with details on current grants available for preK-12 and higher education.  You can search by state, focus (e.g., assessment, mathematics, technology, STEM), content area, 21st century themes and skills, grade level, and institution eligibility.  Grants details are then provided, including deadlines for application.  You can also save grants to your wish list.  The site is sponsored by CDW-G.

Grants.gov helps to find and apply for Federal government grants.

Grant Gopher is a searchable database for grants for non-profits, school, and municipalities in your area.  Free and paid options are available.

Grants for Teachers is a free resource for K-12 teachers.  Search for grants by category, location, or grade.

Mathematics Education Trust (MET), established by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, provides funds to support classroom teachers in the areas of improving classroom practices and increasing teachers' mathematical knowledge.  "MET supports the improvement of mathematics teaching and learning at the classroom level through the funding of grants, awards, honors, and other projects by channeling the generosity of contributors into classroom-based efforts that benefit all students."  See NCTM: Grants & Awards.

McCarthey Dressman Education Foundation provides academic enrichment grants and teacher development grants.  Apply yearly between January 15 and April 15.  Grants are up to $10,000 per year up to $30,000 maximum over three years, if eligibility requirements continue to be met.

Naiku Innovative Educator Grants are for "K-12 classroom teachers in public or private schools seeking to facilitate differentiated and data-driven instruction within teacher teams and/or personalize learning with learner-centric assessment strategies."  About 10 grants per month are awarded.

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Grants

NEA Foundation Learning & Leadership Grants offers grants for professional development of NEA members.  Grants fund projects between $1,500 and $5,000 and can be used by individuals or groups.  Grants fund activities for 12 months from the date of the award.  Per the site, "Grant funds can be used for travel, room, meals, registration fees, materials, etc. for individual grants. For group grants, funds can be used for educator stipends, substitute fees, materials, travel, meals, etc."

Tech & Learning: Grants Central is comprehensive for resources to write and locate a grant.

T.H.E. Journal maintains a list of K-12 grant opportunities and ed tech event listings.

The School Funding Center contains a school grants database.  It claims to list "every federal, state, foundation, and corporate grant available in the United States" (About Us section).  It is updated daily.  There is also a section for grant writing help.  The site is subscription based, but there is a free trial to see how the system works.

Toshiba America Foundation offers grants for use in project based learning to improve STEM education for students in grades K-12.

 

Does your school need computers and technology products and help with decision making?

School Funding GifIf you are considering purchasing refurbished computers, consider the following 5 Questions to Ask When Buying Used Hardware (Meyer, 2014):

  1. Does the company offer a warranty?
  2. Does the company stock enough equipment?
  3. Does the company have a good track record?
  4. Are the machines thoroughly refurbished?
  5. What is the total cost of ownership to your district?

If you are purchasing any ed tech devices, consider the tips provided by Madeleine Mortimore (2022).  Look for durability, sanitation (i.e., ease of cleaning), interoperability with a range of devices, long battery life and ability to recharge quickly, physical comfort of students to minimize fatique or pain on extended use (e.g. during laptop use), and functionality out-of-the-box (i.e., tools should be intuitive and require little or no set-up).

Mortimore (2022) also noted strategies to make the most of 1:1 devices, such as tablets, laptops and computers.  Built-in cameras and webcams can enhance creativity and help learners to demonstate their knowledge. Pair a tablet with a stylus for sketch-noting.  Use screen-recording features.  Use headsets with 1:1 devices to cut down on distracting noise, which also can help students to focus.  

Computers for Learning transfers excess Federal computers to nonprofit educational organizations and public, private, parochial, or home schools serving pre-kindergarten through grade 12 students within the U.S. or its territories. Special consideration is given to those with greatest need.

Trafera is a Chromebook reseller.  It also considers trade-ins for any models of Chromebooks and laptops.  In addition to selling Chrome devices, Trafera offers other hardware (e.g., Windows laptops and PCs, interactive flat panels) and software solutions and services, including deployment and warranty support, for K-12 schools.

Are you starting a one-to-one laptop initiative?  Do you need policies to go with it?

If so, then your district might be interested in the Laptop Policy, Procedures, and Information Handbook, posted at Heartland Community Schools.

 

References

American Rescue Plan Act. (2021). https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/1319/text#toc 

Federal Communications Commission. (2010, March 17). National broadband plan: Connecting America. https://www.fcc.gov/general/national-broadband-plan

Gentz, S. (2021, March 12). The American rescue plan includes $122 billion for education: How can it be used? Tech & Learning. https://www.techlearning.com/news/the-american-rescue-plans-includes-dollar126-billion-for-education-how-can-it-be-used

Meyer, L. (2014, February 19). 5 questions to ask before buying used hardware. T.H.E. Journal. https://thejournal.com/Articles/2014/02/19/5-Questions-To-Ask-Before-Buying-Used-Hardware.aspx

Mortimore, M. (2022, November 14). What's next for 1:1 devices: Strategies for maximizing purchases and learning outcomes. T.H.E. Journal. https://thejournal.com/Articles/2022/11/14/Strategies-for-Maximizing-Purchases-and-Classroom-Outcomes.aspx

U.S. Department of Education Office of Educational Technology. (2022, September). Advancing digital equity for all. https://tech.ed.gov/advancing-digital-equity-for-all/

 

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Binoculars GifSee other Technology Integration pages:

Part 2: Technology Integration Resources: Page 1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |

Part 1: Essential Questions  |  Part 3: Web Page Design  |  Part 4: Multimedia in Projects