Educators from 20 exemplary schools across the country--many of which employ technology in innovative ways to prepare students for 21st-century challenges--returned home to their districts this week with a combined $5 million in cash, equipment, and other prizes awarded to them during the annual Intel Corp. and Scholastic Inc. "Schools of Distinction" Awards Gala in Washington, D.C.

"It kind of reminds me a little of the Academy Awards," said Terry Smithson, education strategist for Intel Corp. and co-emcee of the event, as he surveyed the smartly dressed crowd of educators, businesspeople, and politicians assembled at


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