Take Advantage of the White House ConnectED Free Resources

ConnectEDConnectED is transforming teaching and learning for all students powered by technology. The FCC has already made a $2-billion down payment to improve WiFi in schools and will help to connect 99% of our students to high speed broadband. Campanies have stepped up and committed an additoinal $2 billion to students, teachers, and schools. Those resources are available now! If you’re a school administrator, teacher, or student, get more details below about these companies’ commitments — and find out how you can take advantage of their free digital resources. Visit www.whitehouse.gov/connectED for details.

Note: These are private funding programs administered by the respective sponsors. These are not government grant programs. The availability and administration of these funding opportunities, including the selection of recipients and all other decisions of the funding program, are not endorsed by any federal agency or office. No federal funds are being used in or for the administration or awarding of these private funding opportunities.


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.


Apple has invited economically disadvantaged schools where 96 percent or more students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches to apply for a ConnectED grant.  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.


AT&T has committed to provide a broad array of services that enable a comprehensive tablet-based education capability to 50,000 students in Title I districts. Schools and districts can apply now for this AT&T Aspire program.


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.


Esri is providing free access to ArcGIS Online Organization accounts — the same GIS technology used by government and business — to every U.S. K-12 school in America. 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.


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 options for schools of all sizes and with varying levels of need for cost, technology, and services.  This program includes a range of discounted partner and Microsoft devices built with Windows 8.1 Pro; communication and collaboration tools with Office 365 Education; teacher training and resources through the Microsoft Educator Network; ad-free search with Bing in the Classroom; broadband as a critical component to connected learning through Microsoft’s nonprofit partner EveryoneOn; and student training and resources for fundamental technology skills through Microsoft IT Academy for up to 2,000 high-needs academic institutions and their educators, students, and staff with digital curriculum and certification.

O’Reilly Media/Safari Books Online

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.


Prezi, a platform for creating memorable presentations, has committed $100 million in Edu Pro licenses for high schools and all educators across America.


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.


Verizon is investing up to $100 million in cash and in-kind services over the next three years to reach more than 1,000 schools across the U.S.  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. Course modules are designed to help teachers, administrators and tech coaches implement effective mobile learning initiatives in their schools and classrooms.

For more details, visit www.WhiteHouse.gov/ConnectED.

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LessonPlanet Features an Interview with Doug Levin about Trends in EdTech

Watch a short video as State Educational Technology Director, Doug Levin, talks about the importance of the ConnectED initiative as well as recent trends in Educational Technology.

Dog also talks about digital and open textbooks in the video below.

Visit www.SETDA.org for resources and information on the latest in educational technology policy and practice.

Watch the ConnectED video on Lesson Planet at http://www.lessonplanet.com/professional-development/courses/ed-tech-setda-with-doug-levin

Watch the Digital Textbook video video on Digital Content Chronicle at http://setda.typepad.com/digital/2011/12/comcast-newsmakers-the-shift-to-digital-and-open-textbooks-in-k-12.html

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An International Study in Competency Education: Postcards from Abroad

New report highlights components of competency education in international practice

A new report released today by CompetencyWorks, An International Study in Competency Education: Postcards from Abroad, seeks to highlight components of competency education in international practice and inform U.S. policymakers and decision makers seeking to implement high-quality competency pathways at the state or local level. While it is commonplace for states to look to each other for promising practices, increasingly, education leaders are finding both inspiration and answers through the work of colleagues around the world.

Written by Sara Frank Bristow, Founder of Salient Research, and Susan Patrick, President and CEO of the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL), the report provides a lesson in the international vocabulary of competency education and a review of global trends that complement the efforts of educators in the United States to improve performance and increase equitable outcomes. Bristow and Patrick survey the globe, discovering practices from Finland, Canada, New Zealand, Scotland, and beyond that can inform U.S. leaders.
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When Professional Development Underperforms

“Professional Development.” PD. When this phrase is introduced into teacher circles, many teachers cringe with thoughts of poor instruction, time wasted on doing and learning things that do not apply to them, or initiatives that will go away with the next administrative change.

But then again, there are teachers who do look forward to similar sessions with excitement because they learn so much and use that knowledge when instructing their students. The rapid increase of educational technology tools dictates that teachers need time and proven strategies to use the tools in the classroom. The time and strategies can be included in current PD sessions, yet still be relevant to the core subjects.

What are some of the factors that cause this divide? What can you do to help change how PD is viewed in your district?
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Month of the Young Adolescent Creativity Contest

“A Day in the Life of a Middle School Student”

The New Hampshire Association of Middle Level Education is sponsoring a contest for the Month of the Young Adolescent. Any middle level student may submit an entry. The purpose of the event is to showcase the talents of the young adolescents in New Hampshire.
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Support E-Rate Funding for Schools and Libraries

Please consider discussing this with your respective organizations and school districts and asking them to sign on to this letter in support of E-Rate Funding.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) recently sought additional comments (per a  Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-13-100A1.pdf, pg. 106) on the funding needs of the E-rate Program for Schools and Libraries http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/e-rate-schools-libraries-usf-program.  State-wide organizations, school districts, schools, libraries, and others are encouraged to join in by signing onto a letter (letter posted below) demonstrating support for the E-rate program and our nation’s schools and public libraries.  The deadline to sign-on is 12:00 p.m. ET (noon) on October 15, 2014.   The time is now to demonstrate support for the Commission to act by making a permanent increase to E-rate funding. Since the program was established in 1998 and capped at $2.25 billion, E-rate funding has not been increased (aside from an annual inflationary adjustment starting in 2010). In a time when almost every single classroom and the majority of libraries in the nation have lower speed internet access than the average American home while serving multiple times more users per day, it is time to ensure all students and library patrons can access high speed broadband they need in their schools and public libraries to excel in school and beyond.  More than 75 national organizations (including SETDA, other education associations, companies, and many others) recently submitted the same letter goo.gl/6dLRp5. The Commission must also hear from state and local entities, too!
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Dispelling STEM Stereotypes

Sisters from Newport High School, Ana Marino, left, and Victoria Marino helped to build a heart pump during a day-long workshop for young women in engineering at the Claremont Savings Bank Community Center in Claremont, N.H., on Oct. 3, 2014. Valley News – Jennifer Hauck

Claremont — The small wooden bridge, spray painted a pale orange, sat suspended between two sets of cinder blocks about 18 inches off the floor.

A group of girls from area schools had spent the morning and most of the afternoon Friday building the 30 inch long truss bridge from quarter-inch thick pieces of pine wood.

Jim McDonald, who teaches an introductory engineering course at Newport High, designed the bridge to hold at least 70 pounds. Now it was time to test its strength.

But instead of the two, 35 pound barbells that were brought along for the test, 75-pound Makalya Barre, an eighth grader from Walpole, who helped assemble the bridge and measured and cut many of the wooden pieces, volunteered to stand atop the trusses.

McDonald laid a flat board across the top of the span and lifted Barre up. Not even a creak.

Several students from Unity Elementary School constructed two, 71/2-foot kayaks using corrugated plastic, a glue gun and the always reliable Duct tape.
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