News Column

ConnectED: A Year of Action for American Students and Teachers

June 13, 2014

WASHINGTON, June 13 -- The White House issued the following blog:

One year ago, President Obama unveiled his ConnectED initiative to empower students and teachers with technology in the classroom. The President called on businesses, states, districts, schools, and communities to support this vision, and through the power of his pen and phone, he is building momentum and we are seeing results.

Over the past year, the President has worked with the private sector to catalyze impactful commitments of free hardware, software, educational content, and wireless connectivity -- amounting to over $2 billion in value for American schools.

On top of that, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler has pledged to invest an additional $2 billion to connect 20 million more students to fast broadband and wireless in their classrooms over the next two years. Taken together, this represents more than $4 billion in public and private support starting this calendar year.

This investment is the shot of adrenaline our schools need to surge into the 21st century. It is a major down payment on providing every child in America with the high-quality teaching and technological skills that they deserve, and the economy demands.

And we are keeping our foot on the accelerator.

Today, we are announcing that the 10 companies who have made ConnectED commitments are making those private funding resources available to schools across the country, and information about these and other resources will be accessible through a new ConnectED Hub.

Companies like Adobe, Autodesk, Esri, O'Reilly Media, and Prezi are opening up learning software and content resources to all eligible schools across the country. Others, like Apple, AT&T, Microsoft, Sprint, and Verizon, are partnering with non-profit organizations and communities to help equip some of the neediest schools with hardware, software, and wireless connectivity crucial to the ConnectED vision. You can learn about it all on our Hub.

But don't take our word for it. We've heard from students, at schools like Mooresville High and Buck Lodge Middle School, who tell us they're more engaged and are better prepared for college and the workforce as a result of technology in their classrooms. We've heard from educators who say ConnectED is already setting off a wave of enthusiasm among their peers, allowing them to unlock teaching opportunities they have tried to implement for years. And we've heard from venture capitalists who tell us that they are taking a second look at the education technology market, and are encouraging start-ups to develop for schools.

These are the kinds of opportunities we want to create for every student, for every educator, in every school, and across our economy. And one year later, ConnectED is making good on that promise.

Learn more about how your school can take advantage of the ConnectED commitments:

*Adobe will deliver creative tools in the form of free software, and teacher professional development, to Title I schools across the United States -- with the goal of helping youth express their creativity and build their skills for future success. Click here to complete the application form to apply for free software from Adobe.

For teachers, Adobe provides a range of free teacher training and curricular resources from the Adobe Education Exchange and Adobe Youth Voices. Click here to access Adobe teacher resources:

*Apple is helping transform America's schools by providing iPads, MacBooks, software, and support to schools in need as a major contributor to President Obama's ConnectED initiative. Apple is contributing $100 million in equipment and expertise to bring Apple's love of learning and experience in the classroom to the schools that need it most.

With an Apple ConnectED Grant, Apple will provide iPads, Macs, and the very best educational content students need to personalize learning and inspire their best thinking. Apple will also provide Apple Professional Development, giving teachers the training they need to implement these powerful tools. Apple's innovative technology, interactive learning tools, and ongoing support can have a profound impact on students and teachers in the communities that need it most and Apple can't wait to get started.

Apple is inviting economically disadvantaged schools where 96 percent or more students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches to apply for a ConnectED grant. Invited schools will have until June 20 to let Apple know if they intend to apply. Final applications are due July 25.

Click here for more information about Apple in Education:

*AT&T has committed to provide a broad array of services that enable a comprehensive tablet-based education capability to 50,000 middle and high school students in Title I districts. Schools and districts can apply now for this AT&T Aspire program. Click here to learn about the application parameters and to apply for comprehensive tablet-based education capability from AT&T Aspire.

*Autodesk, a designer of leading advanced software products in design, drafting, and engineering, has committed to expand the company's "Design the Future" program to be available to every secondary school in the country in 2014. The program, which offers free 3D design software, project-based curricula, training, and certification, will help secondary school teachers teach critical problem-solving and technical skills in demand, in high-paying STEM fields like engineering and architecture.

Administrators, click here to learn about "Design the Future" and register your school.

Teachers, click here to directly connect with teacher training or professional development resources from Autodesk.

Students, click here to access free software and learn how to use the software.

*Esri will provide to every U.S. K-12 school in America free access to ArcGIS Online Organization accounts -- the same GIS technology used by government and business. These allow users to map and analyze data, create and share content, and collaborate in the cloud -- via computers, tablets, or smartphones, anytime, anywhere connected.

This commitment expands on Esri's successful program in pilot schools at all levels across the country, and will allow students to do projects of unlimited content, from global to local, so that they can build community, as well as build knowledge and skills for college and career.

Administrators, click here to learn more about Esri and download a request form.

Teachers, click here for an instruction manual, ready-to-use maps, and career info.

Students, click here to learn how to use online maps and build your mapping skills.

*Microsoft created a new affordability program open to all U.S. K-12 public schools to connect 99 percent of America's students to the digital age within five years. The program includes:

o A range of discounted partner and Microsoft devices built with Windows 8.1 Pro

o Communication and collaboration tools with Office 365 Education (for administrators and teachers)

o Teacher training and resources through the Microsoft Educator Network (for teachers)

o Ad-free search with Bing in the Classroom (for administrators and teachers) o Broadband as a critical component to connected learning through Microsoft's nonprofit partner EveryoneOn (for administrators and teachers) o Student training and resources for fundamental technology skills through Microsoft IT Academy (for administrators) for up to 2,000 high-needs academic institutions and their educators, students, and staff with digital curriculum and certification

Click here for full details on Microsoft commitments:

*O'Reilly Media, through a partnership with Safari Books Online, has committed to provide educational content and tools such as technology books and publications, for free, to every school in America. This commitment can provide students at a range of grade levels with the technological skills they need to be prepared in a globalized, digital economy.

o Starting in January 2015, teachers should click here to sign up for on-demand access.

o For students, O'Reilly Media and Safari Books Online are supporting curious kids with world-class content. American high school students interested in technology, programming, and software now have free, on-demand access to the same O'Reilly Media ebooks and videos that millions of professionals turn to every day. The more than 2,000 titles in the Safari K12 program cover a wonderful range of subjects, from Python to PowerPoint to Photography. Early access for summer 2014 is now open to the first 500 curious high school students (13 years old or older) that click here to apply now, with nationwide access coming in September.

*Prezi has committed to provide Edu Pro, a program for creating memorable presentations, licenses for high schools and all educators across America. Click here to learn more about Prezi and their ConnectED-related software commitments.

Administrators and teachers, click here to fill out a form to receive updates on Prezi's ConnectED commitment in presentation software, and to be notified when applications will begin to be accepted.

*Sprint has committed to provide high-speed wireless broadband service for up to 50,000 students at schools across the country starting in August 2014 and over the next four years. Click here to submit an application for participation in Sprint's ConnectED commitment. Upon selection, the applicant will receive additional information, including a secure website to manage their account.

*Verizon will be expanding one of its key education initiatives, the Verizon Innovative Learning Schools (VILS) by introducing the Verizon Mobile Learning Academy. VILS provides two years of comprehensive professional development for teachers on how to effectively incorporate mobile technology into their classrooms to change the way they teach and students learn. Currently, VILS serves 24 schools, 229 teachers and 11,500 students. In partnership with the International Society for Technology Education (ISTE) and Johns Hopkins University, the Verizon Foundation is launching the Verizon Mobile Learning Academy, a virtual, moderated professional development course offered to teams of educators for free.

The course includes five modules developed around ISTE standards. Course modules are designed to help teachers, administrators, and tech coaches implement effective mobile learning initiatives in their schools and classrooms. Continuing Education Units (CEUs) will be offered through Johns Hopkins University to teachers upon completing the course. The training will reach up to 3,000 teachers across all 50 states over the next three years, beginning this fall.

Administrators and teachers can sign up to receive more information about the Verizon Mobile Learning Academy by clicking here.

by Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education

Jeff Zients, Director of the National Economic Council

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Source: Targeted News Service

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