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Technology

Finding Tech Funding

Whether it's whiteboards, tablets, or multiplayer gaming systems, classroom technology requires funding. These tips can help you get it.

By Anita Merina

If you’re looking for grants to support your technology dreams, help is at hand.
NEA senior policy analyst and former technology teacher Mike Kaspar has a number of tips for writing grants and securing technology money.

First, decide on a project that needs the technology you seek. “The most important tip to remember is to have your project or program in mind before you begin your grant search,” says Kaspar. “Many people do the opposite. They look for a grant and then try to create a project to fit it and it shows in the proposal. If you don’t have a clear plan in mind, your proposal will reflect that.”

Be clear about your needs. “Donors don’t want a laundry list of items,” says Kaspar. “They want to know the problem or challenge you’re facing and how technology will address them. Show them how the technology will be used and used often.”

“Above all, think long term, not immediate need,” says Kaspar. “Explain how you’ll integrate the technology into your daily instruction and don’t forget about assessments. How will the technology affect or enhance learning and how can that learning be measured.”

Do your research. For grants listings, visit Eschool News for regular announcements on grant opportunities. Find government grants at nea.org/govtechgrants.

Don’t forget local or regional grants. “You may find more luck reaching out to foundations and corporations with physical presence or interest in your work,” says Sheryl Abshire, director of technology for Calcasieu Parish, La. “Finding local or regional resources may lead to ongoing support for your school or classroom.”

Look for grants that address your specific needs. Middle school and high school educators dealing with STEM can apply for the Toshiba America Foundation Small Grants program for up to $5,000 in awards. Dollar General Literacy program grants will cover up to $4,000 for technology, books, and programming for struggling readers. Rural educators can look to the Foundation for Rural Education Development for grants.

Try crowd funding. If you’re looking for technology products, start at Digital Wish/NEA Member Benefits, which functions like a gift registry, allowing visitors to build a wish list of classroom technology products and tell online donors how their support will make a difference. After your purchase, Digital Wish automatically donates an additional 2 – 10 percent toward your next project.  Donors Choose is another resource for funding classroom needs. Kaspar says, “Crowd funding continues to grow in popularity and this gives you yet another option for funding your dream classroom.”

 

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Published In

1-Aug-14

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