President Clinton requests $1.5 billion in school tech funding for FY 2000

President Clinton’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2000 asks Congress for $1.5 billion in technology funding for schools. If the president’s budget is approved, that figure would mark a 56 percent increase over the $947 million available in 1999 for school technology initiatives.

The president’s request includes gains in almost every program area, plus two newly created funding opportunities. The Middle School Teacher Training initiaive would give $30 million in grants to middle schools in states that agree to establish technology literacy requirements in order to train “teacher technology leaders.”

The Software Development Initiative would give $5 million in competitive grants to encourage the development of high-quality educational software by partnerships of students, university faculty, and technology and content experts.

Issued Feb. 1, the president’s full budget proposal follows his Jan. 7 announcement that he would seek to triple funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program. The FY 2000 budget requests $600 million for the after-school program, up from $200 million in 1999.

The president also slated significant funding increases for the Commerce Department’s Public Telecommunications Facilities Planning and Construction (PTFP) program over the next few years. While the FY 2000 request is $35 million–up from $21 million in 1999–the budget sets out prospective funding for 2001 at $110 million, 2002 at $100 million, and 2003 at $89 million.

PTFP supports the acquisition of digital transmission capabilities to ensure public broadcasters’ transition to digital broadcasting by 2003. The program also awards grants to consortia of school districts to support innovative distance learning projects.

A chart of the president’s complete school technology budget requests appears on page 7.


L.A. school foundation earns money as a portal site for Scantron Quality Computers

The Los Angeles Educational Partnership (LAEP), a nonprofit foundation supporting the city’s public education initiatives, has teamed up with leading software reseller Scantron Quality Computers (SQC) in a partnership that both sides call a “win-win” situation.

In return for putting Scantron’s software catalog on its web site, LAEP earns a portion of each sale made through its site. The alliance strengthens LAEP’s commitment to offer access to quality educational software while raising needed funds for the organization.

It’s an opportunity that any school or district looking for extra funds can take advantage of, said SQC vice president Mike Sottrel.

“A combination of the opportunity to attract new financial resources and the ability to offer direct access to quality technology products for members of the learning community made a lot of sense,” said Robert Coontz, director of finance for LAEP.

Parents and educators browsing LAEP’s web site can link directly to SQC’s online catalog to purchase any of thousands of popular software titles from the likes of Microsoft, The Learning Company, Broderbund, Knowledge Adventure, Tom Snyder, Disney, and more. In addition, SQC offers hardware products and peripherals.

All products are offered at deeply discounted prices from the manufacturer’s suggested retail price, Sottrel said.

“Scantron has very substantial educational offerings,” Coontz said. “That’s why we felt comfortable entering into this relationship with them.”

The foundation has promoted its arrangement with Scantron throughout the district by encouraging parents, teachers, and students to use its online catalog when purchasing new technology.

“If they buy their educational software through our site, our programs stand to benefit,” Coontz said.

How schools can participate

SQC is encouraging schools and districts around the country to form similar alliances with the company.

All a school or district would have to do to take advantage of the offer is supply a link to SQC’s online catalog through its web site, Sottrel said. Fulfillment and delivery of orders is handled entirely by Scantron.

One feature of the company’s online catalog that is of particular interest to school districts, Sottrel said, is its ability to process school purchase orders. Another attractive feature to schools is that it gives educators the option to purchase building or network site licenses for many of its products.

“About 90 percent of our business is from schools or districts,” Sottrel said. “We designed our online catalog with the needs of educators in mind.”

Sales generated through the link on a school’s site are tracked, and a percentage of each sale is given back to the school to spend as it wishes. Each month, the school gets a report from SQC showing how much it has earned from the arrangement.

The company can also customize the interface of its catalog according to a particular school’s interests, Sottrel said.

“If a school district uses a certain company’s brand of software, we can tailor the catalog interface to feature that company’s software,” he said. “Teachers and parents will then have a direct connection to the software being used by their district.”

For more information on partnering with SQC, call (800) 722-6876.


Grants: Opportunitites, Deadlines and Awards


21st Century Community Learning Centers

This $100 million U.S. Department of Education (ED) program is open to rural and inner-city public schools and consortia to help them plan, implement, or expand after-hours, in-school projects that benefit the educational, social, cultural, and recreational needs of the community. Funds can be used to purchase technology, since technology-based learning is among the list of supported activities. About 300 grants of between $35,000 and $2 million will be awarded, with the average grant estimated at $400,000. The application package and examples of successful 1998 applications are available online. For further information, contact Amanda Clyburn at (202) 219-2180 or Steve Balkcom at (202) 219-2089.

Deadline: March 1


Telecommunications and Information Infrastructure Assistance Program (TIIAP)

About $17 million will be awarded through this program from the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration. TIIAP is a highly-competitive program that awards matching grants for innovative projects using advanced telecommunications and information technology. TIIAP is especially interested in projects developed by smaller, locally-based organizations that represent technologically underserved communities across the nation. The average award is $350,000 and lasts 2-3 years. For more information, contact Stephen J. Downs, Director, or eMail

Deadline: March 11

(202) 482-2048

Technology Innovation Challenge Grants

This $22 million program from ED awards grants to consortia that are working to improve and expand new applications of technology to strengthen school reform efforts, improve student achievement, and provide for sustained professional development of teachers, administrators, and school library media personnel. Only consortia are eligible and must include at least one school district with a high number of children living in poverty. About 20 grants ranging from $500,000 to $2 million per year will be awarded.

Deadline: March 12


National Leadership Grants

The Institute of Museum and Library Services provides these grants to enhance the quality of library services nationwide and to strengthen ties between libraries and museums. School libraries are eligible, and encouraged, to apply. Awards range from $15,000-$500,000 and are given in four categories: (1) education and training in library and information services; (2) research and demonstration projects to improve library services; (3) preservation or digitization of library materials and resources; and (4) model programs of cooperation between libraries and museums. For more information, contact Jeanne McConnell, program officer, at (202) 606-5389 or

Deadline: March 19

(202) 606-5227


COOL Awards

Educators who develop new ways to use technology in the classroom can win cash grants and computers from broadband company MediaOne through this new grant program. Fourteen teams of educators will win cash grants of $8,000, plus computers, in-class training, and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C. The competition is open to educators in MediaOne service areas of California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshie, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Virginia.

Deadline: March 20

(800) 871-6852

Star Schools Program

This ED program encourages improved instruction in math, science, foreign languages, and other subjects, such as literacy skills and vocational education, through the use of distance learning technologies. It is meant to serve underserved populations, including the disadvantaged, illiterate, limited-English proficient, and individuals with disabilities. For FY 99, $9,850,000 is available for awards ranging from $1 to 2 million. Public and private elementary and secondary schools are eligible to apply in partnership with two or more other entities, at least one of which must be a local or state education agency.

Deadline: March 26

(202) 208-3882


Urban Systemic Program in Science, Math, and Technology (USP)

This National Science Foundation (NSF) grant promotes the systemic reform of science and math education for urban K-12 students. Among the program’s goals are to improve urban districts’ implementations of a standards-based, inquiry-centered science, math, and technology education for all students, and to increase the number of skilled entrants to the technology-based workforce. About $20 million is available for an estimated 10-12 awards ranging from $400,000 to $3 million per year. For more information, contact Celeste Pea, program officer, Room 875, Division of Educational System Reform, National Science Foundation, Arlington, VA 22230; eMail

Deadline: March 31

(703) 306-1684


Teacher Enhancement

This NSF grant supports professional development projects in the context of improving science, math, and technology education. One of the program’s goals is to strengthen the teacher workforce by increasing the understanding and use of effective educational technologies. Last year, the program awarded grants of up to $1.2 million per year for 3-5 years. K-12 districts are most likely to receive funding in two categories: Local Systemic Change and Educational Leadership.

Deadline: April 1

(703) 306-1613


Humanities Focus Grants

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) provides grants of $10,000 to $25,000 for teams of faculty to expand their knowledge of humanities topics and integrate what they have learned into their teaching. These grants may be used to explore ways of using technology to teach the humanities, for example, and could fund release time, cooperative ventures, investigation of model programs, or logistical support.

Deadline: April 15

(202) 606-8400

Advanced Technological Education (ATE)

This NSF program promotes the exemplary education of technicians at the two-year college level and quality technological preparation at the secondary level. Projects require partnerships of two-year colleges with four-year colleges and universities, secondary schools, businesses, and/or government agencies. The program supports instructional materials development, professional development for faculty and teachers, technical experiences for students and teachers, and/or instrumentation and laboratory improvement. Final proposals are due October 15, but a preliminary proposal is required.

Deadline: April 15

(703) 306-1620



Program for Gender Equity in Science, Math, Engineering, and Technology (SMET)

The purpose of this NSF grant is to raise the interest and achievement of girls and women in SMET education. Proposals are being accepted under the category Small Experimental Projects. These projects address critical transition points that facilitate or hinder the successful participation of girls in SMET education. They are typically small, focused projects involving only one or a few institutions to develop or test an innovative approach to a problem area. Up to $100,000 for up to 18 months is available for each successful project.

Deadline: May 1

(703) 306-1636


NextDay Teacher Innovation Grants

Sponsored by the Michigan Jobs Commission and open to teams of Michigan educators, this program seeks innovative uses of existing technologies to improve student learning. Teams must have at least three members, at least one of whom is a K-12 teacher. The proposed project must target K-12 teachers or students in one of these categories: Student-Based Projects, Professional Development, or Online Content Development. Up to $10,000 will be awarded for each project, $2,500 of which may be spent on technology. Last year, 118 teachers (out of 400 applicants) received grants totalling more than $600,000. The entire application process is conducted online.

Deadline: April 15

(517) 373-9808

Arts Education @Work Grants

With financial help from the GE Fund, the National Foundation for the Improvement of Education (NFIE) is offering a regional grants program to support the development of innovative arts curricula that make effective use of new technologies. The program encourages public high school teachers, especially arts specialists, to collaborate with expert technology-using teachers and other partners to develop innovative arts curricula to prepare students for emerging employment opportunities in the arts. Applicants must be a public high school teacher in the states of Alabama, Georgia, Massachusetts, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, or South Carolina. The grant amount is $5,000, and NFIE will award up to seven grants in 1999. Funds may be used for hardware, software, human resources, or other costs directly related to helping teachers acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to develop a new technology/arts curriculum.

Deadline: April 3

(202) 822-7840

K-12 World Server Grant

NEC Computer Systems Division and JDL Technologies have teamed up to offer 20 Express5800 K-12 World Internet Access Servers through a grant program open exclusively to schools. The grants include a complete solution featuring NEC Express5800 server hardware, JDL’s K-12 World CyberLibrary Server software with SmartFilter option, one day of on-site installation, one year of monthly SmartFilter updates, and one year of toll-free support. Applications are due to JDL by April 30. Contact: JDL Technologies, 5555 West 78th Street, Suite E, Edina, MN 55349-2702; fax (612) 946-1835; eMail

(800) 535-3969

SolidWorks High School Grant Program

SolidWorks Corp., a leading provider of 3-D computer-aided design (CAD) software, will award 200 licenses of its software to qualifying high schools that have instructional CAD programs. The licensing package includes SolidWorks 98Plus, a Windows-based 3-D mechanical design product; PhotoWorks, an integrated rendering application; a set of SolidWorks 98Plus training manuals; and one year of educational subscription service and support from an authorized SolidWorks reseller. Complete information and an application form are available on the company’s web site. Applications will be accepted through May 31, 1999.

(800) 693-9000

Milken Educator Virtual Workspace

The Milken Educator Virtual Workspace (MEVW), a product of the Milken Family Foundation, is a collaborative software program that allows you to use the web to create and participate in online learning communities. Previously available only to recipients of the foundation’s National Educator Award for use in distance education and professional development projects, MEVW is now free to anyone who submits an educational project proposal and obtains the foundation’s approval. MEVW requires a Netscape Navigator 4.0 or Internet Explorer 4.0 or higher web browser.

(310) 998-2800

MAGIX Software Grant

MAGIX Entertainment Corp. is offering its MAGIX Music Maker and Music Studio software free of charge to any interested high schools. The software allows students to compose, arrange, mix, and record their own musical creations on a computer using different genres of royalty-free music samples. The free CD-ROM contains software retailing at more than $100.

(888) 866-2449

$23 million from Pennsylvania Department of Education

For various technology initiatives, $23 million to 127 Pennsylvania school districts and the state’s 29 Intermediate Units. $17 million was awarded to 91 districts throught the state’s Technology Literacy Challenge Fund. An additional $5 million was awarded to the Intermediate Units to support technology in Pennsylvania’s non-public schools, and $1 million was given to 36 districts for the Web Companies Project, which provides teachers and students with the resources and training to design web sites for organizations in their communities.

(717) 783-9802

$3.3 million from New York State Education Department

For the state’s Learning Technology Grant program, $3.3 million to consortia of public school districts and nonpublic schools. Awards average $50,000 per consortium and are designed to implement New York state standards and assessment through the application of technology across core subject areas. Up to 50 percent of the grant money may be used to purchase equipment; the rest funds training, planning, and curriculum development.

(518) 474-3852

$2 million from New Hampshire Board of Education

For the Technology Literacy Challenge Fund, $2.02 million to 25 New Hampshire school districts and consortia. Because the grants take into account pre-established scores for economic, educational, and social need, a number of winning proposals were consortia pairing needy with advanced districts. Bow Consortium, for example, which pairs Bow and Merrimack Valley districts, received $149,991 to develop a distance learning network linking 10 schools and to provide joint faculty computer camps in the summers of 1999 and 2000.

(603) 271-3494

$173,835 from Jackson Foundation

To finance the school’s technology program, $173,835 to Richmond, Va., Community High School. The grant will be used to buy four computers and one printer per classroom, a computer presentation system for each department, and equipment for a production room. Funds will also be used to pay for staff training, supplies, and an upgrade to the school’s network server. The Richmond-based Jackson Foundation is a family foundation that finances a variety of local initiatives.

(804) 285-1015

$100,000 in equipment and training from Sun Microsystems

For the Open Gateways Program, which provides networking and Java technology for classroom use, more than $100,000 in equipment and training to seven Silicon Valley and Massachusetts schools. The grants consist of a Sun Enterprise Ultra 5S server, Sun server software, 30 Javastations, a one-year service contract, 20+ hours of teacher training, and Sun volunteers to provide further resources. The next round of Open Gateways applications will be available during the second week in April. Silicon Valley and Massachusetts schools are eligible to apply.

(650) 336-0487


$100,000 in equipment from SMART Modular Technologies

For the creation of a computer lab, more than $100,000 in equipment, support, and training to Irvington High School in Fremont, Calif. SMART donated 35 Pentium II computers, high-resolution scanners, a high-speed network laser printer, and an enterprise-class server to the project. The lab will be used to teach AutoCAD and graphics design classes and produce the school’s newspaper and yearbook. SMART Modular Technologies, also of Fremont, designs and manufactures memory modules, cards, and embedded computer products.

(510) 623-1231

$40,000 from Shaklee Corp.

For staff development in technology, $40,000 to Norman, Okla., Public Schools. The grant renews a donation made last year to provide in-service training to teachers in the area of technology. Shaklee Corp., a leader in nutritional research, owns a major manufacturing plant in Norman.

(405) 364-1339

$36,000 in cash and equipment from Proxima Corp.

For the Projecting Education Grants program, $36,000 in cash and equipment to four educators. Entrants were asked to submit a proposal for using a multimedia projector in the classroom. The winners–one each from the categories K-8, 9-12, community college, and university–receive a $2,500 grant and a Proxima Desktop 6800 projector. The K-12 winners were Diana Skinner of Johnston County, N.C., Schools, and Douglas Romney of Chaffee High School in Montclair, Calif.

(800) 447-7692

$27,000 from Global EDGE Tech Prep

For technology lab equipment, $27,000 to four Collin County, Texas, high schools. Global EDGE Tech Prep is a workforce development consortium housed at Collin County Community College. It seeks to restructure high school and community college curricula to give students applicable workplace skills. The following schools received awards: Celina High School, $4,500; Frisco High School, $3,000; Allen High School, $10,000; and princeton High School, $9,500. Matching funds from the schools will be used to complete the labs.

(972) 548-6723


Grantmaker Profile: Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation

Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation

Contact: Rebecca Bliss, Program Officer

1150 Connecticut Avenue, NW

Suite 1020

Washington, DC 20036

Tel: (202) 857-0031

Fax: (202) 857-0056


Though new advances in technology are making it possible for students with disabilities to join their peers in the mainstream classroom, the cost of such technologies is often prohibitive for many school districts. If you’ve come up with an innovative idea for using technology to address the needs of disabled students, you might want to solicit the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation (MEAF) to help fund your project.

With a current endowment of $18 million, MEAF supports projects that help young people with disabilities maximize their potential and fully participate in society. Beginning this year, the foundation is focusing exclusively on technological approaches to serving the needs of youths with disabilities.

In carrying out its mission, the foundation provides three types of grants: Starfish grants for programs of national scope and impact, or for model projects that can be replicated at multiple sites; matching grants that supplement cash, products, and volunteer time donated by Mitsubishi Electric America companies in their communities; and gifts that match donations from individual employees.

Starfish grants

These are one- or two-year grants that fund an innovative technological approach to advancing the independence, productivity, or inclusion of youths with disabilities. They are approved by the foundation’s board of directors in consultation with experts in the fields of disability and education. Projects most likely to be funded are those with a potential for wide or national impact.

On Jan. 5, MEAF awarded $474,000 in 1999 Starfish grants to 12 organizations. Examples of successful projects include:

American Foundation for the Blind (two years): $66,000 to place blind or visually impaired high school students as interns in AFB’s Product Evaluation Laboratory.

DO-IT/University of Washington (two years): $60,000 to fund an accessible video and publication entitled “Lessons Learned,” detailing successful transitions from school to work by students with disabilities.

Family Village (one year): $10,000 to operate an information clearinghouse and online meeting space for families of children with disabilities.

National Lekotek Center (one year): $33,000 to run an inclusive after-school program that teaches computer skills to elementary school children.

WGBH-TV, Boston (one year): $50,000 to help develop the first fully accessible distance learning module and accessibility guidelines for other multimedia curriculum products.

World Institute on Disability (two years): $55,000 to create an interactive training module for teachers to improve their ability to help students with disabilities use the internet in inclusive classrooms.

Matching grants

Matching grants are approved by employees serving on contributions committees at Mitsubishi Electric America (MEA) companies. They are given for local projects assisting young people with disabilities in MEA communities. These grants build on donations of cash, products, and volunteer time contributed by MEA companies and employees to address local needs identified by employees.

Examples include providing an elementary school with funds to purchase computers; supporting fundraising events in the community; and donating products or in-kind support to local nonprofit organizations.

Each participating MEA facility receives an annual allocation from the foundation that is leveraged by corresponding contributions from the company. The funds are disbursed according to the giving guidelines and policies at each location. For every dollar donated in the form of cash and products, the foundation donates up to two dollars to the charity. MEAF also contributes $10 for each volunteer hour worked by employees, their families, and close friends in eligible charitable activities.

MEA companies are located in 18 communities in California, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas. A complete listing of MEA communities is available on the foundation’s web site.

Equal Access Project

Boston Public Schools is an example of a district that has benefitted from its partnership with a local MEA branch company. The city’s disabled students have been enriched by more than $117,000 in MEAF grants awarded to the Special Education Technology Resource Center at Emmanuel College since 1992.

The center’s Equal Access Project promotes the mainstreaming of children with disabilities into regular school classes using software designed by the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) and innovative teaching strategies. The project is aimed not only at enhancing the educational experience of the students, but also at improving the effectiveness and sensitivity of classroom teachers in working with them.

In addition to national grants from the foundation, the nearby Waltham- and Cambridge-based Mitsubishi Electric locations contributed more than $16,000 in corporate funds to the project, leveraging an additional $32,500 from MEAF. Moreover, employees from both companies have been active project partners, offering assistance in training teachers on the use of the grant-funded computers and software.

Grant funds purchased hardware and software to implement this demonstration project at the Harvard-Kent Elementary School, a multi-ethnic, inner city school in Boston, and to support replication of the project at other Boston schools.

The project has had remarkable success, both in terms of academic progress made by individual students and in reducing attitudinal barriers among teachers and non-disabled students.

How to apply for funding

MEAF grants are made to non-profit organizations with tax-exempt status under Sec. 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Schools and school districts are eligible to apply. Requests are welcome from organizations throughout the U.S., but priority is given to projects implemented in communities where MEA companies are located.

To apply, you must first submit a short concept paper to Rebecca Bliss, Program Officer, for preliminary review. The concept paper should not exceed three pages and should include the following elements:

• Explanation of need and objectives for the funds requested

• Description of the project’s impact and/or how it may be replicated on a national


• Plans for evaluation of project activities and dissemination of results

• Budget summary

Concept papers may be submitted at any time and are reviewed throughout the year. Applicants whose concept papers have passed the preliminary review will receive detailed instructions for submitting a full proposal.


Funding Toolbox: Regional issues in technology fundraising: Where you live matters

At the last Grants & Funding for School Technology conference in Washington, D.C. in November, I was approached by two people from Guam Community College. What about funding resources for the very specific telecommunications challenges of our U.S. territories?–they wanted to know.

Well, that was an excellent question. I just didn’t happen to know the answer, having spent most of my telecommunications and education fundraising years in Texas and Washington, D.C. Luckily, I spotted a program officer from the U.S. Department of Education and pointed them in her direction.

But it’s a great question to ask, and put more broadly, it’s this: Just as there are differences among regions in how schools acquire and use technology–a four-room schoolhouse in a remote Wyoming town isn’t going to have the same needs and challenges as, say, D.C. Public Schools–aren’t there differences in how schools find and secure sources of funding for that technology?

Since these differences are becoming more and more at issue as schools compete with each other for scarce resources, we decided we’d look at exactly this issue in our next conference, Grants & Funding for School Technology West, to be held in San Diego on April 29 and 30.

Find your opportunity

A panel of fundraising experts, including Dr. Stan Levenson, author of How to Get Grants and Gifts for K-12 Schools, will discuss how schools in the western U.S. face special challenges–and unique opportunities–in their search for technology funds.

For instance, California schools need to understand the advantage, and responsibility, of their proximity to the high-tech hotbed, according to Gerald Bartlett, a fundraising consultant with San Francisco-based GB3 Group.

Developing a high-tech work force, Bartlett says, is “a hugely burning issue” for corporate philanthropists in Silicon Valley.

He points to companies who are looking for help developing workforce feeder systems, such as Cisco, Microsoft, and Oracle, and “the millions they are committing to setting up pre-competitive workforce development models” to find new sources of workers.

“If you understand these issues,” Bartlett says, “you are better prepared to sit at the discussion table when it comes time to ask a company to get involved in your school’s technology plan or program.”

School leaders from western U.S. states–including Texas, Alaska, Wyoming, Nevada, California, Oregon, Washington, and Utah–will have the chance to explore these unique opportunities at the afternoon session on Friday, April 30. Panel members for the session will include Levenson; Richard Fabien, who heads up the technology program at San Diego Unified School District; and a grants officer from U.S. West.

The conference is presented by eSchool News and its co-sponsor, Teacher Universe, with additional support from Sphere Communications, Innovative Communications Inc., and America Online.

Know your stuff

The two-day event is a hands-on, how-to professional development conference that brings you face-to-face with corporate, foundation, and federal/state grant givers.

The conference is designed to help school leaders deliver grants-and-funding teams all the tools necessary to find and secure big dollars to buy the technology necessary to meet the Clinton administration’s goal to have all schools in the nation wired to the internet by the year 2000.

Conference attendees will learn how to research and write winning grant proposals, build relationships with key funders, forge public/private strategic alliances, and other strategies to build a strong fundraising program.

Connect with the experts

The speakers for Grants & Funding for School Technology West represent a lineup of nationally recognized professionals from education, government, and the private sector.

The keynote speaker is Dr. Terry Crane, president of the CEO Forum on Education & Technology. Crane, who is also the president of Jostens Learning Corp., will provide a unique perspective on how corporations, nonprofits, and schools can come together in powerful partnerships to integrate technology into the curriculum–and spur student achievement.

The event’s featured presenter is Kate L. Moore, president of the Schools and Library Division, the agency that oversees the eRate program. She’ll bring news of the latest rules, requirements, and timetables affecting the controversial program that is distributing $2 billion this year in telecommunications discounts to schools and libraries.

Other speakers include Cheryl Garnette, the acting director of the U.S. Department of Education’s Star Schools program; Marilyn Reznick, vice president of education for the AT&T Foundation; Allen Schmeider, vice president of K-20 education at JDL Technologies; C.J. Van Pelt, executive director of the Cisco Systems Foundation; and eSchool News columnist and grants specialist Deborah Ward, among others.

The conference will be held at the Wyndham Emerald Plaza hotel in downtown San Diego. Attendee space is limited for this event. We recommend you send your registration as soon as possible to guarantee a spot.

The registration fee is $390 until April 15, 1999. After April 15, the fee will be $450 per person.

To register online, visit To register by mail, write to eSchool News, Attn: Conf. Registration, 7920 Norfolk Ave., #900, Bethesda, Maryland, 20814. To register by phone, call (800) 394-0115 x119. To register by fax: (301) 913-0119.


Five Key Areas That Are Transforming Education Technology

T.H.E. Journal, January 1999, p. 4

The editor-in-chief of T.H.E. Journal discusses five important development that are directing the future of technology and education:

  1. New initiatives on computer literacy are defining educational technology standards for students and teachers alike.

  2. Many recent studies have reported that technology does have a positive influence on the ability of students to learn.

  3. States are funding more staff development programs, for both pre- and in-service personnel.

  4. Large segments of society—including schools, homes, libraries, and technical and community colleges—are getting wired to enable multiple opportunities for increased access and vast K-20 distance learning opportunities.

  5. Computer and technology vendors are offering increased support and partnership opportunities for schools.

Expert Management Tips For Real-Life Education Situations

School Planning and Management, January 1999, p. 16

School leaders must remain focused on a few simple core issues to ensure that your schools successfully integrate technology into the curriculum.

The experts say you need to realize that most of the technology you purchase will become obsolete in a few years. The key to success is to teach students general skills that will allow them to use any kind of current or future technology—this will give them a skillset that will last a lifetime.

The experts also noted four essential skills students must have to compete in today’s high-tech job market:

  1. Experience with popular business technology and applications

  2. Hands-on Internet experience, especially as a research tool

  3. Knowledge of presentation software, such as PowerPoint

  4. Experience in enough new computer concepts to handle any future technologies

Experts also see the rapidly decreasing costs of hardware as central to schools’ ability to purchase enough computer equipment so that students’ experience with technology will be substantial and meaningful.


Sure-Fire Techniques That Eliminate Unwanted E-mail

Educom Review, January/February 1999, p. 24

There are some easy steps you can take to filter out the majority of E-mail that arrives unwanted in your E-mail box.

Since your E-mail address often gets on junk lists by way of news group postings or listservs, one thing you can do is “disguise” your E-mail address in the text of the messages you send by adding some text like “NOSPAM” to the end of your address. Most people will know to remove these extra letters when they E-mail you, and it usually fools computer programs that search postings for E-mail addresses.

Another technique is simply to ignore unwanted messages that arrive in your “in box.” If you don’t respond, you’ll usually be dropped from the list.

You can also use filters in your E-mail application software to automatically put suspected junk E-mail into a separate folder for your review. You can tailor the filtering rules to catch repeat mailers, remove messages that contain removal information, and eliminate messages that are possibly forged. Since no filter is perfect, you should move suspect E-mail to a specific folder instead of automatically deleting it.


Ten Strategies To Reduce The Information Overload

Technology & Learning, February 1999, p. 30

A technology consultant from the U.K. has these ten tips to help you reduce the amount of paperwork in your school:

  1. Research other schools and districts. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel—learn from what others have already succeeded at doing. There are plenty of techniques that others are using just waiting to be discovered. All you have to do is ask.

  2. Use web sites to distribute information. Instead of making copies and flooding people’s mailboxes with hardcopy paperwork, you can post important information and documents on a web site.

  3. Join mailing lists. This is the easiest way to network with colleagues and compare notes—all without paper. Freedman recommends the Ed Tech list at and the K12 Admin list at

  4. Have teachers use computers to create worksheets and lesson plans. Updating and sharing information is much easier when the documents are files on the computer.

  5. Offer templates to teachers. You can develop pre-made documents for all your teachers and personnel to use, on topics ranging from awards and lesson plans to form letters.

  6. Use spreadsheets or computerized gradebooks. Teachers won’t have to create from scratch their own versions.

  7. Generate electronic class lists and give them to staff and teachers, either on a disk, over the network, or on an Intranet.

  8. Create databases that make reporting to outside agencies more efficient.

  9. Offer training, especially in-service programs. A simple but effective technique is to provide adequate user manuals and guidance documents.

  10. Scale back reporting demands on your teachers and staff. Find ways to eliminate repetitive or unnecessary paperwork.

How Iowa’s Unique Distance Learning Program Could Be the Way of the Future

Education Week, February 10, 1999, p. 28

The state of Iowa is on the cutting edge of delivering distance learning opportunities to its many rural schools.

Using an interactive TV and Internet service called the Iowa Communications Network, the state is able to deliver a host of distance learning options to schools via the only network of its kind in the nation—it is wholly owned and operated by a state.

Schools share televised advanced placement and other expensive courses, pooling together course offerings that no single school could ever offer on its own.

While it’s not clear if the future of distance learning rests with interactive television or with video-streaming on the Internet, the Iowa Communications Network is equipped to handle either technology.