Did you know that every technology-related grant program funded by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) must include a professional development component? This reflects the importance that ED places on professional teacher training as the link to enhancing student achievement through electronic media.

Here’s a rundown of some of ED’s programs and the opportunities they present for getting professional development funding:

1. Teacher Quality Enhancement (http://www.ed.gov/offices/OPE/heatqp). Built on partnerships of post-secondary teacher education programs, college or university schools of arts and sciences, and underserved K-12 school districts, this program gives teachers training in using technology in their specific fields of study, such as math, science, or the arts.

2. Preparing Tomorrow’s Teachers to Use Technology (http://www.ed.gov/teachtech). This program offers grants to consortia of higher-education institutions, state agencies, school districts, nonprofit organizations, and others to transform teacher education programs into “21st-century learning environments.”

3. Star Schools (http://www.ed.gov/prog_info/Star Schools). This program has been around since 1988 to support distance learning. Many previous Star Schools grant recipients have created satellite and internet-based professional development programs. Some of these grants have gone to adult education programs that serve professional development needs through a subset of the program, called Telecommunications Partnership Awards.

4. Learning Anytime Anywhere (http://www.ed.gov/offices/OPE/FIPSE/LAAP). Sponsored by ED’s Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education, this program supports partnerships among higher-education institutions, community agencies, local businesses, professional associations, and labor unions to address the educational needs of large numbers of highly mobile adult learners.

In addition, several web sites provide information on professional development programs available to educators, including:

5. America’s Learning eXchange (http://www.alx.org). Offers a listing of 2,000 distance-learning providers and 70,000 online courses.

6. American Society for Training and Development (http://www.astd.org).

7. Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (http://www.cael.org).

8. Distance Education and Training Council (http://www.detc.org).

9. International Association for Continuing Education and Training (http://www.iacet.org).

10. PBS Adult Learning Service (www.pbs.org/als).