In June 2013, President Obama announced the ConnectED initiative, designed to enrich K-12 education for every student in America. ConnectED empowers teachers with the best technology and the training to make the most of it, and empowers students through individualized learning and rich, digital content.
Preparing America's students with the skills they need to get good jobs and compete with other countries relies increasingly on interactive, personalized learning experiences driven by new technology. Yet fewer than 40% of America's schools have the broadband they need to teach using today's technology. Under ConnectED, however, 99% of American students will have access to next-generation broadband by 2018. That connectivity will help transform the classroom experience for all students, regardless of income.
The President also directed the federal government to make better use of existing funds to get Internet connectivity and educational technology into classrooms, and into the hands of teachers trained on its advantages. And he called on businesses, states, districts, schools, and communities to support this vision, which requires no congressional action. Following the 2014 State of the Union address, the President announced major progress on the initiative, highlighting commitments by the FCC and the private sector.
How ConnectED Works
Resources for Schools, Teachers, and Students
If you're a school administrator, teacher, or student, get more details below about these companies' commitments — and find out how you can take advantage.
Note: These are private funding programs administered by the respective sponsors. These are not government grant programs. The availability and administration of these funding opportunities, including the selection of recipients and all other decisions of the funding program, are not endorsed by any federal agency or office. No federal funds are being used in or for the administration or awarding of these private funding opportunities.
Since the President's announcement in February 2014, there has been more than $10 billion of total value committed as part of the five-year program to transform American education. This includes Federal Communications Commission (FCC) funding for school and library connectivity with $2 billion specifically for Wi-Fi, and $1.5 billion more in annual funding, and more than $2 billion in private-sector commitments. These commitments will dramatically expand high-speed Internet connectivity for America's schools and libraries — connecting 20 million more students to next-generation broadband and wireless.
Participating hardware, software, wireless and professional development companies include:
- Adobe, which will provide more than $300 million worth of free software to teachers and students, including Photoshop and Premiere Elements for creative projects; Presenter and Captivate to amplify e-Learning; EchoSign for school workflow; and a range of teacher training resources
- Apple, which will donate $100 million in iPads, MacBooks, and other products, along with content and professional development tools to enrich learning in disadvantaged U.S. schools
- AT&T, which pledged more than $100 million to give 50,000 middle and high school students in Title I districts free Internet connectivity for educational devices over their wireless network for three years
- Autodesk, which pledged to make their 3D design program "Design the Future" available for free in every secondary school in the U.S. — more than $250 million in value
- Coursera, which will provide no-cost online professional development at every school district over the next two years, including opportunities for teachers to earn Coursera's completion certificates that may be used for continuing education credits
- edX, which will provide all students with free access to online Advanced Placement-level courses offered through edX by partner institutions like UC Berkeley, MIT, and Georgetown in addition to more than 40 other courses and modules
- Esri, which will provide $1 billion worth of free access to ArcGIS Online Organization accounts – the same Geographic Information Systems mapping technology used by government and business – to every K-12 school in America to allow students to map and analyze data
- Microsoft, which will launch a substantial affordability program open to all U.S. public schools by deeply discounting the price of its Windows operating system, which will decrease the price of Windows-based devices
- O'Reilly Media, which is partnering with Safari Books Online to make more than $100 million in educational content and tools available for free to every school in the U.S.
- Prezi, which will provide $100 million in Edu Pro licenses for high schools and all educators across America
- Sprint, which will offer free wireless service for up to 50,000 low-income high school students over the next four years, valued at $100 million
- Verizon, which announced a multi-year program to support ConnectED through up to $100 million in cash and in-kind commitments
In April 2015, the President announced commitments from the following publishers, who will provide thousands of eBooks — valued at over $250 million — to students in low-income families:
- Bloomsbury, providing unlimited access to over 1,000 of its most popular titles
- Candlewick, providing unlimited access to all relevant children's and young-adult e-book titles in their catalog
- Cricket Media, offering full digital access to all of its market-leading magazines for children and young adults, including Ladybug and Cricket
- Hachette, offering participating students access to a robust catalogue of their popular and award-winning titles
- HarperCollins, providing a robust selection of their award-winning and popular titles
- Lee & Low, the leading independent publisher of multicultural books, is providing unlimited access to over 700 of its titles
- Macmillan, providing unlimited access to all of the K-12 age-appropriate titles in their title catalog of approximately 2,500 books
- Penguin Random House, committing to provide a robust offering of their popular and award-winning books
- Simon & Schuster, providing access to their entire e-catalog of books for children ages 4-14, comprised of 3,000 titles
Investing in Next-Generation Professional Development
To support teachers as they use new technology to improve learning enabled by ConnectED, the President has asked Congress help school districts and schools as they provide high-quality professional development and transition to digital learning. The proposed Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) Program would enable more school districts to support teachers to deliver high-quality, digital learning resources and content; use a wide range of devices and digital tools; leverage data to personalize learning; and increase engagement with families and collaboration with other teachers.
In addition, the Department of Education has released guidance to states, school districts, and schools on ways that existing federal funds can be best leveraged immediately to support schools and educators in the transition to digital learning in support of the President's ConnectED Initiative. Specifically, the guidance letter outlines ways in which current federal education funding available to states and school districts can be used to provide professional development, access to high-quality digital content, and devices for learning.
The ConnectED Library Challenge
In April, 2015, the President announced the ConnectED Library Challenge, calling upon library directors to work with their mayors, school leaders, and school librarians to create or strengthen partnerships so that every child enrolled in school can receive a library card. Over 30 major cities and counties have announced they are taking the challenge, which will also include a commitment to support student learning through programming that develops their language, reading, and critical thinking; provide digital resources, such as eBooks and online collections of traditional media; and provide broadband connectivity and wireless access within library facilities.
To support the implementation of the ConnectED Library Challenge, there have been several important commitments: the Institute of Museum and Library Services will host a national convening to identify and share best practices in reaching universal library card use among public school students; the Urban Libraries Council will lead an initiative that provides a forum for community, library and school leaders to work together to meet city and county education goals by leveraging resources and measuring outcomes; and the American Library Association will align the challenge with existing support and technical assistance provided through their Every Child Ready to Read initiative as well as using its 55,000 members to drive adoption across cities and counties nationwide.
Guidelines for Logo Use
- The ConnectED Initiative logo may not be used to endorse any commercial product or service, nor may the logo be used in advertising or in any manner that could give rise to the appearance of endorsement.
- The ConnectED Initiative logo may not be used in any matter that could give rise to the appearance that the U.S. Government owns, operates, or is affiliated with any nongovernmental entity or its programs, products or services.
- The ConnectED Initiative logo may only be used in connection with distribution of information about the White House ConnectED Initiative, as found on the ConnectED Initiative website. Any other uses are unauthorized.