Grants, loans, and expertise to execute rural broadband initiatives

The Rural Wireless Community VISION Program was created to accelerate access to advanced wireless telecommunications across rural America because access to eCommerce, eGovernment, telemedicine, and distance learning translate into better jobs, more responsive government, improved health care, greater educational opportunities, and a brighter future for all Americans. Rural communities will be chosen to participate in the VISION Program on the basis of a two- to-five-page essay that describes the community’s vision for wireless connectivity and services and how the community will benefit from this vision. Participants will receive on-site regulatory, legal, engineering, and technical assistance from a team of Wireless Telecommunications Bureau staff experts, working in cooperation with the loan-grant officers and regional field representatives of the Rural Utilities Service to help the community make the project a success.

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Win a defibrillator and batteries for your school

Parents, teachers, students, and school administrators are encouraged to visit the web site below to register their school for a chance to win a ZOLL AED Plus automated external defibrillator and three sets of 10 Duracell Ultra Photo Lithium batteries to power the system for years to come. A total of 51 life-saving packages will be given away–one to each state and the District of Columbia. ZOLL Medical Corp. and Duracell are sponsoring the contest to raise awareness about the need for defibrillators in schools. Sudden cardiac arrest strikes 340,000 Americans each year, including children and teens, usually without warning. According to the American Heart Association, early use of automated external defibrillators–portable devices that analyze the heart’s rhythm and deliver an electric shock to re-establish a normal heartbeat–could raise the chance of saving a life by as much as 20 percent or more.

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Up to $30 million in matching grants for LeapFrog technology

Through the LeapFrog PASS Program, LeapFrog Enterprises Inc. will provide up to $30 million in LeapFrog SchoolHouse classroom products to accredited preK-8 public and private schools across the nation. The LeapFrog PASS Program provides a matching gift of $500 per school toward the purchase of LeapFrog SchoolHouse products. The LeapFrog PASS program will award matching gifts until Dec. 31, 2005 or until the $30 million in gift supplies are exhausted.

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$5,000 to faculty who create outstanding new online coursework

The Bbionic Course Contest will recognize and reward faculty and instructional designers who create technologically rich and pedagogically sound online courses. The annual contest is open to faculty, staff, and administrators of Blackboard institutions. Five participants will each receive $5,000 for the best course entries. Applications can be submitted starting on November 15, 2004.

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Computers and cash for teaching students about personal finance

Any seventh through twelfth grade teacher who teaches money management skills is invited to enter the Practical Money Skills for Life Educator Challenge, sponsored by Visa U.S.A. and Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda. The grand prize winning teacher will receive a personal computer, $2,500 merchandise credit for classroom supplies, a year-long classroom subscription to USA Today, a school or classroom computer lab, a speaking opportunity at an educational seminar, and a position on Visa’s Practical Money Skills Educator Advisory Board. Two first place educators will receive a personal computer, a $1,000 gift certificate, and a position on Visa’s Practical Money Skills Educator Advisory Board. Twenty-five Honorable Mention winners will receive a certificate of participation and be featured on www.practicalmoneyskills.com.

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Win a trip to Hawaii for creative energy conservation projects

The fourth Igniting Creative Energy Challenge is an educational competition designed to encourage students to learn more about energy and the environment. Students are asked to submit entries that reflect the competition theme, Igniting Creative Energy, and demonstrate an understanding of what an individual, family, or group can do to make a difference in their home, school, or community. Students may express their ideas on energy conservation and the environment in the form of science projects, essays, stories, artwork, photographs, music, video, or web site projects. They may also submit recent service projects or results from the National Energy Foundation’s own Energy Patrol activities. A total of four grand prizes will be awarded to three students and one teacher. Three students, one in each grade cluster whose work best exemplifies the Challenge criteria, will receive a hosted trip to Hawaii April 26-30, 2005, for themselves and a parent or legal guardian. In addition, one teacher with the highest average score of student work from 15 or more qualifying entries will be chosen for a trip for two to Hawaii for the same fun and educational experience.

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$50,000 in reading software to help Florida high schools

Under the Peterson’s FCAT Success Grant program, five Florida public high schools with a history of low FCAT performance, and a willingness to use technology as a tool to improve student achievement scores will be selected to receive free access to Peterson’s FCAT Online Reading Course for up to 200 students in preparation for the FCAT administration in February. The value of the grant is $10,000 per school.

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Middle school gets preview of Texas’ long-range tech plan

The Bryan-College Station Eagle of Bryan, Texas, reports on a local middle school’s participation in the state’s Technology Immersion Project. The wider initiative calls for all students in grades 6-12 to have laptops by 2012. The two-year pilot program is costing the Bryan district $850,000, but the funds are matched by the Texas Education Agency.

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Parents unhappy with calculators in young students’ math class

The North Andover Citizen of North Andover, Mass., reports that some local parents are upset that first- and second-graders are allowed to do math homework with calculators. A new program at the school, called Everyday Math, teaches elementary-schoolers to use calculators rather than relying on traditional methods of solving math problems.

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Michigan teacher laptop initiative falls short of expectations

The Flint Journal reports that some teachers who received laptop computers as part of Michigan’s 2001 Teacher Technology Initiative never bothered to use them and others made minimal use of them. The program recently came to a close, and critics question whether or not it was worth the $110 million invested by the state. Some districts have taken the laptops away from teachers and given them to students.

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