Digital Wish has unveiled 63 new technology grant awards for K-12 classrooms. By simply uploading a technology-based lesson plan to Digital Wish's lesson plan library, teachers become eligible for smartphones, software and IT curriculum grant awards. New grants will be announced regularly, and awarded each month. See the grants calendar here.
Just submit an original lesson plan on Digital Wish to enter each monthly contest. Lesson plan submissions must demonstrate creativity, student involvement, and describe how the classroom technology would be utilized to complete the project. Lesson plans are then shared with other educators in the free Digital Wish Lesson Library. Educators can find and download categorized lesson plans from the library. See the library here.
The grants calendar has a combination of recurring and themed grants, with something new and exciting happening each month to encourage repeat participation! With over $15,000 worth of awards up for grabs, teachers across the country will soon be able to enhance their curricula with great new technology!
"Digital Wish grants are a wonderful way for teachers to get new technology in their classrooms while sharing lesson plans with fellow educators. Some lesson plans have been viewed and downloaded by teachers thousands of times. We're thrilled to be awarding some exciting technology from our partners and we’re looking forward to announcing more grants each month," said Heather Chirtea, Digital Wish's executive director and founder.
Digital Wish frequently announces grants and promotions first through Twitter and Facebook, so it’s worthwhile to “like” and “subscribe” to Digital Wish!
In 2009, Digital Wish launched the School Modernization Initiative, a one-computer-per-child initiative in 28 schools. Digital Wish studied how schools are sustaining their technology initiatives. The research was enhanced by a nationwide survey and 27 administrative leaders were interviewed. The data showed that most schools have readily available funding sources that may be going untapped. Take a look at the research and you may find some new places to look for funding.
Data from the Survey: 242 educators responded to the anonymous nationwide survey providing an interesting snapshot of how participants are funding their programs. While 88% of respondents reported that technology budgets are one of their largest sources of funding, many other viable sources of funding may be going un-realized by the majority of respondents. For example:
Nearly half (46%) have not used other budget line items for technology.
55% of respondents’ schools have not applied for any grants.
43% reported they do not do any fundraising.
66% do not use student mentors who could support the technology program.
Over 1/3 say they do not receive donations from outside organizations.
Data from the Interviews: Digital Wish identified 27 technology leaders from across the nation and conducted interviews to ask how they were sustaining their initiatives. As a trend, nearly all of the most sustainable programs were funded by multiple sources. Administrators running programs with just a single source of funding voiced “fear” that their initiatives were vulnerable to cancellation. The most successful schools intentionally develop strong community ties, which in turn generates multiple sources of revenue, thus lowering the risk that their technology initiative will lose funding with market shifts.
Only 14% of schools report “re-budgeting” as a major source of technology funding, however interviewees report it’s the most viable and immediately available strategy.
Although half of the survey respondents are not applying for grants, the interviewees shared that this is one of their most effective sources of funding. Over a quarter of schools who apply are raising over $20,000 per year.
Most schools do not make an immediate connection between raising community engagement and sustainability. By simply raising awareness, we open up immediate community support networks for many schools.
Fundraising is frequently viewed as “something the PTA does.” However, successful schools integrate fundraising into every school event. One in five schools who fundraised actually raised over $20,000 each year.
Schools inexperienced with adopting technology emphasize hardware purchases, while the more advanced schools focus on the importance of
training for sustainability. Nearly all had supplemented convention workshop-based professional development with teacher peer-support systems and daily mentor programs.
The most successful schools integrate a peer-coaching model that provides ongoing and readily available support for their teachers on a daily basis.
Student mentorship programs typically reduce support costs and increase availability of support for both students and teachers.
Data from the Classroom: The implementation of 1:1 computing in 28 schools revealed that the key to developing multiple funding streams lies in strong community engagement, which is also typically the most ignored strand in every initiative. The schools with the most sustainable programs harvested a wide array of revenue opportunities from across their communities – each contributing a portion of their total financial need. However, the burden of community engagement rests entirely on the schools. If the schools don’t trigger these community connections, they simply won’t materialize.