ClassLink Grants

Sponsored by cell phone manufacturer Nokia and a consortium of cell phone service providers (organized by the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association), this program gives cell phones and free calling time to classroom instructors. The program is designed to create additional in-class learning opportunities by enabling students to call subject matter experts during school time, and to provide instructors with emergency access to telephones to ensure their safety and the safety of their students. To date, more than 28,000 cell phones and 12 million hours of free phone time have been donated. Among the innovative uses of the system has been a project in a private school in Florida that allows each teacher to place his or her homework assignment on wireless voice mail daily, so that parents can call in and confirm their children’s homework assignments. Grants are made by individual local wireless providers; to find out if your provider is participating in the program, go to the ClassLink web site.

Robert H. Michel Civic Education Grants

The Dirksen Congressional Center is offering $40,000 for projects that create lesson plans and/or student activities on Congress, government, and civics. Projects that use multimedia applications are preferred, especially as they facilitate identification of additional resources for teaching the historical basis for legislative and regulatory rules. Teachers of students in grades four through 12 can apply for the grants; institutions cannot. The grant administrators emphasize that they are seeking “practical classroom applications” in the lesson plans and use of technology. Applicants should begin by sending a short letter or eMail message that outlines their project; promising candidates will be asked to submit more-detailed information. Proposals may be submitted at any time during the year.

Contact: Frank H. Mackaman, executive director, at (309) 347-7113 or micheledgrants.html


New Deal Foundation Grants

The New Deal Foundation gives computers and/or free software licenses to schools and nonprofit groups that work with disadvantaged youth. Through a wide array of programs, the foundation tries to promote computer literacy and computer access for all. Sponsors of the organization include such prestigious groups as Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Center for Information Technology and Society, the Detwiler Foundation, and the East West Foundation, as well as lesser-known organizations that have recycled and repaired thousands of used computers and distributed them in underserved communities.

Teach America!

Through its new Teach America! program, the Gateway Foundation has promised to provide free technology training to 75,000 educators in public and private schools. Successful applicants will receive one year of free access to an online database containing more than 400 technology training courses, which run the gamut from word processing to web site design to spreadsheets to computer-aided drafting. Applicants can be individual teachers or school district media representatives. Applicants must file a short note indicating their reasons for wanting access to the online training program and their plans for using their knowledge in the classroom.


TechConnect Grants

These grants from the Electronic Industries Foundation, which will be made in the spring of 2001, encourage creative teaching through technology-based math and science projects for fifth- through eighth-graders. Awards of $2,500 to $5,000 will be made. While schools or teachers must submit project proposals, they also require a corporate partner who will provide a level of real-world applicability to the program. Projects should demonstrate to students the real-world impact of math and science, and they require at least two critical skills (e.g., critical thinking, problem-solving, teamwork). Because the grants are targeted for underserved communities, demographic evidence supporting that claim must be provided. Funds must be used specifically to support the proposed classroom project and may include computers, graphing calculators, or software. Teacher training or technical support also can be funded, and requests for field trips, classroom supplies, or instructional kits are eligible, too.

Contact: Marcie Vorac at (703) 907-7408 or