In the T+L² exhibit hall, hundreds of educational technology companies were on hand to demonstrate the latest products and services for use in schools. Here’s a look at some of the innovations on display in the grants and funding category this year:

RedRock Reports, a new funding project and grant newsletter launched by noted education consultant Jennifer House, Ph.D., was formed in direct response to requests from K-12 publishers, technology vendors, and others for more information about state-based funding efforts and trends. With a tentative launch date scheduled for later in the fall, RedRock Reports reportedly will offer access to data and related analyses on regional and national funding programs to K-12 vendors and other organizations via webcasts and custom-licensing agreements. “We have spent the last six months developing a comprehensive online database of education funding sources at the federal, state, and local levels,” said House of the project. “This dynamic database, which is updated by our team of state and regional funding research specialists continually, is the foundation of the many information services we now offer to the K-12 vendor and institutional communities.” The service will be available on a subscription basis.

RM Educational Software launched the Easiteach Scholarship Award in recognition of teachers who use the company’s RM Easiteach interactive whiteboard software. This new award will be presented yearly to North American K-12 educators who demonstrate exemplary practices using Easiteach software in their schools. It will include an all-expenses-paid trip to London to attend a prestigious learning technology conference; a visit to the RM headquarters in Oxford and to surrounding schools and districts; and the chance to showcase their work to schools in the United Kingdom. Applicants must submit an interactive lesson using Easiteach, accompanied by appropriate teaching notes and a brief description of how the lesson is used within the school’s curriculum. Applications will be accepted until May 31. Winners will be announced at the 2006 National Educational Computing Conference in San Diego in July.

To help bridge the home-to-school connection and get parents more involved in their children’s class this year, Scholastic Inc., the global children’s publishing and media company, and Trumba, a maker of calendaring solutions for schools, have come together to offer a new online tool intended to increase parental involvement in school activities. As part of a special campaign to raise awareness about the importance of parent-teacher communication, Trumba is offering free access to its new calendar tool, OneCalendar, for every classroom teacher in the country. This new online calendaring and communication tool was created for teachers to connect simply and quickly with each of their students’ parents about homework assignments, parent volunteer schedules, and important school dates. Teachers can visit to sign up for a free year and create a personalized calendar, the companies said.

For a comprehensive look at education products and services debuted at major technology conferences throughout the year, visit “Product News Update” at eSchool News Online.

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