ConnectED – Back to School Update
September 14, 2015 by Lan Neugent
ConnectED’s focus of fostering a robust ecosystem for digital learning and empowering teachers and their students with enhanced personalized learning experiences is a goal long championed by SETDA. Launched in June 2013, President Obama unveiled the ConnectED initiative to “enrich K-12 education for every student in America.” Then in February 2014, the President announced more than $750 million in commitments from seven private sector companies to deliver cutting-edge technologies to the classroom. Since then, a total of over $2 billion in commitments from leading technology companies has been dedicated to support the aims of the ConnectED initiative and advance student learning through technology. Schools and districts across the nation are tapping into these generous resources to provide increased access to digital tools and resources.
SETDA’s Support Along the Way
As the ConnectED initiative rolled out, SETDA has focused on sharing details about the program with our members and the greater educational community, including blog posts and social media support. On June 28, 2014, SETDA hosted the Connected Private Sector Showcase, which was the first of its kind in the nation, to provide all participating ConnectED companies with a venue to share further details about their commitments and participation requirements. See http://www.setda.org/outreach/public-events/connected-partners/ for a video archive of the presentations. Last September SETDA hosted a ConnectED Back-to-School Webinar that was a follow up to ConnectED Private Sector Showcase from June. The sharing of resources continued in October 2014, as Symbloo EDU, one of SETDA’s private sector partners, created a webmix of ConnectED resources for schools, teachers and students, which is available here: http://edu.symbaloo.com/mix/connected2. SETDA also maintains a list of the ConnectED offerings here.
Several of SETDA’s private sector partners are actively participating in this initiative and continue to provide tremendous resources for schools, teachers, and students nationwide.
To highlight their commitments, recent updates have been summarized below:
ConnectED Commitment: AT&T committed to provide 50,000 students and teachers in Title 1 schools with $100 million of free mobile broadband access for educational devices, mobile device management, network filtering and teacher professional development for three years for each selected school. AT&T mobile broadband service will enable students to utilize tablets and potentially other mobile devices for educational purposes that support student learning in new and more effective ways. The company will provide:
- 4G mobile broadband data services for student access to learning-based websites, applications, and services;
- Mobile device management to provide a highly secure environment on devices;
- Filtering software to protect access, safety and security of students;
- Solution integration for schools to support device configuration, logistics and care services; and
- Training for teachers and administrators on effective ways to integrate this solution into classrooms and learning.
Connected Nation will administer the application and selection process on behalf of AT&T. Connected Nation is an independent, non-profit organization focused on promoting the power of broadband and related technology to energize the economy, transform communities, and improve lives. For More Information: http://about.att.com/csr/aspire/connected
ConnectED Commitment: Apple has pledged $100 million in iPads, MacBooks, and other products along with content and professional development to enrich learning in disadvantaged schools, including interactive learning tools and ongoing support that can have a profound impact for students and teachers in the communities that need it most. For More Information: http://www.apple.com/education/connectED/
ConnectED Commitment: Esri offers to all US K12 schools (public, non-public, and homeschool) a professional ArcGIS Online Organization subscription, plus instructional materials, links to mentors, and connection to a community of GIS-using educators. These accounts let students and educators investigate the world with unlimited content from professionals; build, save, and share maps about any topic; design and program custom apps; conduct robust analyses; and access content anytime, anywhere, on any connected device. These are powerful learning environments for high schools, middle schools, and even elementary schools. Getting started is easy, and many GIS professionals around the country are anxious to help local schools use GIS. For More Information: http://www.esri.com/connected.
ConnectED Commitment: Together with our Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) partners, Microsoft created a new offer to all U.S. K-12 public schools to connect 99 percent of America’s students to the digital age within five years. We’ve designed this offer to include options for schools of all sizes and with varying levels of need for technology and services. In addition, because the devices included in the offer are available at a lower price point, cost is much less of a barrier for schools that want to give their students the best technology has to offer. We believe that schools across the U.S. need more than a single offer and reduced prices to benefit beyond cloud services and devices; they also need access to programs and resources in order to meet the needs of our students and our future. The offer includes:
- A range of partner and Microsoft devices offered at special prices and built with Windows 8.1 Pro, a powerful and flexible operating system
- Communication and collaboration tools with Office 365 Education and Student Advantage
- 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
Districts and schools are encouraged to contact their local technology reseller or Microsoft representative today to get started. For email requests please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Through Sprint’s in-kind support of ConnectED, up to 50,000 K-12 students across the U.S. will be able to take advantage of their school’s digital learning curriculum and resources outside the classroom. Educational institutions, school districts, and certain public housing authorities can apply to receive up to four years of Sprint high-speed wireless broadband connectivity to support off-campus digital learning. Participating schools will be selected based on a comprehensive process that will assess, among other factors, applicants’ current 1:1 digital learning program and off-campus strategy, and the availability of Sprint service in their surrounding market. In addition, selected schools may purchase discounted digital broadband devices from Sprint for students’ connectivity away from school. With each line having access to 3GB monthly of Sprint’s wireless data service, participating students can obtain extended and engaging digital instruction in subjects such as math, science, arts and foreign languages, innovative learning resources, and additional access to critical on-line course tools.
For More Information: To learn more about Sprint’s rich history of providing and supporting digital literacy and education platforms visit: www.sprint.com/connected