Grants and funding. You’ve probably heard about about them for pushing classroom initiatives, but it often seems like a lot of time, confusion and work to even consider as an avenue. For that reason, grants are often pushed aside as an option when more pressing daily tasks need to take place in schools.
With or without grants, technology use has organically blossomed across classrooms, schools and districts. Both educators and students have found innovative ways to transform ways of teaching and learning. From gamification to hands-on, tactile ways of teaching coding, education technology has truly transformed basic textbook methodology and given teachers a reason to pause traditional pen and paper classwork.
Technology is becoming more widely available in schools, and research is proving it. According to a recently released report from Cambridge International surveying 100 countries, more than:
- 48% of students reported using desktop computers in the classroom
- 42% reported using smartphones
- 43% reported using interactive whiteboards
- 20% reported using tablets
Even more incredible is the fact that the United States alone reported the highest usage statistics of hardware with over 75% of classrooms using desktop computers.
But Why Isn’t Education Technology Edtech Being Implemented Faster in Schools and Districts?
With all of this learning technology, the ability to incorporate exciting, results-based edtech solutions to help learners in unique ways opens many doors. But even with these statistics, many schools and districts face the hard truth: depleted budgets.
The U.S. Department of Education reports that it is the responsibility of each state to supply funding to school districts. A report released by EdWeek Market Brief stated most school districts spend a majority of their budgets on salaries and benefits to focus on operations, and the per-student spending on services has rapidly declined.
This makes purchasing supplies and services for students heavily vetted based on price and necessity, and sometimes school districts may make purchased based from “tried and true” versus taking risks on new products.
So the question is, how do educators fund new initiatives on their own?
Breaking Down Barriers: Using Education Technology Grants for K-12
Even though they may seem mysterious or confusing, grants are becoming increasingly more important for funding technology initiatives for classroom, school and district edtech implementations. Many organizations supply funding to classrooms to help them achieve what their school district may not fiscally be able to do to provide diverse learning technology experiences to their students. These grants may be available for nationwide applications, but some grants also are available to certain states or to special demographics.
While qualifying and applying for grants may seem daunting or tedious, we’ve compiled a list of 7 incredible grants you can check out today to kickstart your own edtech program.
Interested in a longer list covering 25 of the top education technology grants you can currently apply for and grant writing tips and tricks? Check out our ultimate grant guide here!
7 Incredible Edtech Grants for Funding Technology Initiatives
Here at SAM Labs, we’ve identified the top seven grants you can apply for this school year to fund your dream academic program and help your students. If you have other suggestions on grants, we welcome your comments to help other educators below!1. Community Action Grant
Thinking about trying to excite girls in your schools about the power of STEM? The Community Action Grant sponsored by the AAUW is an incredible funding opportunity focusing on the needs of girls and women and prioritizes grant requests that propose projects that can help educate the community on those issues. Proposals that incorporate women and girls’ achievement in science, math and technology are also preferred.
Grade Level: K–14 (including two-year colleges)
Amount: $2,000–$7,000 over one year or $5,000–$10,000 over two years
2. 3Mgives Education Grants
3M believes that every student should have access to a robust STEM education, and that’s why they provide education grants as part of their charitable arm, 3Mgives. The application window opens each spring and invites proposals for STEM and business learning, especially for under-represented and under-resourced populations.
Deadline: June every year
Region: Nationwide in a 3M community location
Grade Level: K-12
The Toshiba America Foundation awards classrooms on a rolling cycle every year across grade levels to K-12 who have a burning desire to make science and mathematics more engaging for their students. Grants range anywhere from $1,000 - $5,000 and typically fund the materials needed for that STEM project you’ve been dreaming to implement.
Deadline: Rolling depending on grade
Grade Level: K-12
Have you already been working hard on an incredibly effective project in your classroom, school or district, particularly with students online or in a blended environment? The Foundation for Online and Blended Learning awards the Innovative Educator Prize and corresponding grant to winners every year who have demonstrated exceptional work through the use of digital tools in the classroom. Winners are awarded up to $10,000 to go towards curriculum and supplies towards the continuation of their programs.
Deadline: 2020 yet to be announced (can sign up for notification)
Grade Level: K-12
Amount: Up to $10,000
The McCarthey Dressman Education Foundation is truly a STEAM grant, as it prioritizes proposals that focus on the intellectual, artistic and creative abilities of children from low-income households. This grant is a fantastic option for pitching after school programs, enriching criteria or offering an academic option not currently offered (think coding or computational thinking). Depending on your school or district’s needs and eligibility requirements, the foundation will award $10,000 per year for a maximum of $30,000 over three years.
Deadline: April every year
Grade Level: Pre-k to 12
Amount: Up to $10,000 per year for a maximum of $30,000 over three years
The American Honda Foundation is a great option for schools and districts that have identified STEAM as a priority for students. The STEM grants offered by The American Honda Foundation focus on the areas of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, the environment, job training and literacy — perfect for any educator who is looking to incorporate projects or curriculum around education technology.
Deadline: February every year
Grade Level: K-12
Amount: From $20,000 to $75,000 over a one-year period
Thinking about getting competitive about your STEM project with your students? The Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest encourages educators to pitch their projects to their community engagement team. After the first selection process in October, an Activity Plan is presented and educators and students are given Samsung Tablets to help work on their projects. Teams go through more rounds all the way to the finals while working with Samsung mentors. This is a great opportunity if your edtech solution interfaces with tablets.
Grade Level: Varies
Amount: Prizes distributed in amounts of $15,000, $50,000 and $100,000
Making it Easy with The Ultimate Guide to Edtech Grant Writing (and a List of Even More Grants)
Searching for and applying for grants can be a frustrating process, but the hard work can be incredibly rewarding if you get funded. We’ve compiled The Ultimate Edtech Grant Writing Guide and List of Grants 2019 to help kickstart your efforts and make things a little easier going into your grant writing journey.
With over 20 grants, writing tips and tricks and even samples of how you can position product or project copy using SAM Labs STEAM and Coding Kits as an example, you’ll be on your way to success.
Have you found success with grant funding in the classroom? Comment below on your experience on grant funding. I’d love to hear your story!
Written by Eleanor Jacobson
I'm an edtech writer who's passionate about changing the world one classroom at a time. When not spreading the news about the latest in K-12 technology, you'll find me geeking out about the latest startups or video games and adding to my '80s toy collection.