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Tablets Now on Digital Wish!
Posted by Sky Kochenour at 07:51:11 PM Thu 10/13/2011
You can now purchase or fundraise for the Toshiba Thrive and Lenovo ThinkPad on Digital Wish. With these lightweight tablets, you can take pictures, record videos, and download countless educational apps. To help get these great tablets into classrooms, educators can save $19 on the 16GB model, $34 on the 32GB, and $39 on the 64GB of the Lenovo ThinkPad until October 31st!

Click here to see the Toshiba Thrive:

Click here to see the Lenovo ThinkPad:

Digital Wish is Selected as a Dell YouthConnect Recipient!
Posted by John Sullivan at 03:36:50 PM Sat 09/24/2011

Dell today announced a $3 million investment to expand its global giving program YouthConnect in the U.S. Twenty-four organizations based in the United States have been selected Dell YouthConnect recipients. More than 20,000 young people in Texas, Washington DC, California, Illinois, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Tennessee, New Hampshire, Georgia and Florida will soon have access to state-of-the-art technology. Digital Wish is proud to have been chosen as one of the Dell YouthConnect recipients in the US. Dell YouthConnect is the company's signature giving program designed to help bridge the gap between the technology "haves" and the "have-nots" by placing Dell technology into underserved communities and working with non-profit organizations to teach information and technology skills.

One school in the Nashua School District will be selected to receive 37 laptops to create a program that provides one-computer-per-child in a selected classroom, and promotes the development of technology skills throughout the Nashua district. Students will use these laptops in the classroom during the day and take them home overnight. Laptops will also be provided for the teacher, the school's technology coordinator, and after school clubs. Digital Wish's trainers collaborate with the classroom educators to teach courses on innovation and creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, technology literacy, and collaborative learning. After school, students will work with Dell volunteers to build innovative projects that require problem solving.

This grant provides an incredible opportunity for the Nashua School District to train technology leaders from across the district. Digital Wish encourages internal staff to mentor one another in order to sustain the program beyond the term of this grant. The Nashua School District will be left with an entire methodology of technology integration, including worksheets, videos, and methodology from 7 unique curriculum units.

"Digital Wish's new program in Nashua builds on Dell's past support of our 1:1 computing initiative in 24 schools in Vermont," said Heather Chirtea, Executive Director of Digital Wish. "This new partnership with Dell will allow us to replicate all of those valuable lessons we learned in Vermont schools, and apply them directly in the Nashua School District, bringing us one step closer to putting relevant technology in every classroom in America."

The Dell YouthConnect Grant was awarded in the amount of $80,000 in financial support, oversight, and Dell products to increase access within the school. As importantly, local Dell champions will have many opportunities to volunteer their time in support of Nashua's learning program.

To learn more about the Dell YouthConnect program, visit www.dell.com/youthconnect

Lights, Camera, Slide Show: 25% Off on the New Digital Wish Deal!
Posted by John Sullivan at 06:32:56 PM Wed 05/18/2011

It’s that time of year again, when the battle between teachers and nice weather begins.  Luckily, Digital Wish has the ultimate tool for teachers to engage their students: the Stylus 7010 Bundle, featuring the Olympus STYLUS 7010 digital camera and Tool Factory Slide Show V3 software.

The Olympus STYLUS 7010 digital camera makes it easy to capture beautiful photographs for classroom projects.  It automatically switches to the style of scene the user is shooting, be it a simple portrait, panoramic landscape, detailed macro close-up, or fast-moving sports scene.  The camera packs a 7x zoom for getting in close and a wide angle lens lets you capture large groups or landscapes with ease.  Stabilization sensors in the camera make sure images comes out clear, even when the subject or the photographer is moving.

Students’ photos come together as a classroom project with Tool Factory Slide Show V3.  Drag a folder of photographs onto the page and Tool Factory Slide Show will transform the images to slides. Click the 'play' button and watch the photos come to life with eye-popping transitions.

Digital Wish combined these powerfully simple tools with a padded camera case for safe transport, and a spacious 2GB xD card for hours of creative shooting. At 25% off the retail price, the Digital Wish Stylus 7010 Bundle is available to PreK-12 educators only and is perfect for any grade!

Teachers and supporters alike can start an online fundraiser on Digital Wish in just a few clicks to get the Stylus 7010 Bundle in their favorite classroom.  To get started, visit DigitalWish.org

New Digital Wish Deal: The Podcasting Bundle- Almost 50% Off!
Posted by Digital Wish Support at 06:29:39 PM Tue 04/26/2011
Digital Wish is ending April with a bang and bringing teachers a classroom podcasting bundle for the next Digital Wish Deal! This stellar classroom podcasting bundle is almost 50% off the retail price found anywhere else. It includes the Olympus WS510M digital voice recorder, podcast-creation software, a noise reduction microphone, and the book/CD combos "A Simple Guide to Podcasting" and "Adventures in Podcasting" for just $159!

Check out the bundle here: http://www.digitalwish.com/dw/digitalwish/product?id=6628

WhitePages Unveils Run & Hug Contest to Find America's Favorite Teacher in Time for National Teacher Day
Posted by John Sullivan at 01:39:43 PM Mon 04/11/2011

While everyone may have differing opinions surrounding the debate to reform public schools, we can all agree that teachers -- some more than others -- play an incredibly important role in our lives. To help identify these exceptional teachers and to award one with the crown of "America's Favorite Teacher," WhitePages (www.whitepages.com) today announced the Run & Hug Contest. The crowned teacher, as well as the person who nominated them, will each win two all expenses paid trips to New York City where they will be reunited so the student can thank their favorite teacher in person. The winning teacher will also be awarded an additional $1,000. The Run & Hug winners will be announced on May 3, which is National Teacher Day and will be reunited sometime between May and July.

For every entry submitted, WhitePages will donate $5 to Digital Wish, a non-profit with a unique mission to modernize K-12 classrooms and prepare students for tomorrow's workforce by creating equity in school systems so that each child has equal access to technology.

"The nation's best teachers often times go unappreciated," said Alex Algard, CEO and founder of WhitePages. "Whether it's Waiting For Superman, President Obama's Race to the Top initiative or recent debates about teacher's benefits, at least one theme remains common... good teachers matter. The Run & Hug contest is a perfect opportunity to showcase just how much exceptional teachers touched the lives of their students."

From April 6th to April 22nd, people can go to www.runandhug.com to nominate teachers who have made a lasting impression on their life. All nominations will be posted and open for the U.S. public to vote on. People submitting the teachers, as well as the teacher themselves are encouraged to share their nomination with friends via email, Facebook, and Twitter since the nomination that receives the most votes will win the reunion. People are encouraged to submit their entries as early as possible to allow more time to accumulate the most votes.

Classroom Connection With Haiti Grows Stronger
Posted by John Sullivan at 03:39:57 PM Fri 03/11/2011

Written by guest blogger, Christine Berg

Editors Note: This article is a follow- up to a previous article, published in May 2010.  You can read the first article about Christine and Rondout Valley High School's correspondence with a school in Haiti here. For more information, including how you can help support the Haitian school, please contact John Sullivan at Digital Wish.

This past November, four teachers from the Haitian school visited Rondout Valley High School to give a video presentation of their school and what they have been doing with the funds we have been sending them since the January 2010 earthquake.  The presentation was filmed using the Flip camera, and they thanked us profusely for sending it because they feel that it has given them a way to communicate with the outside world and with potential supporters.  It really has been amazing to see the effect that such a small device can have on the lives of so many people!

The teachers at the school are focused on becoming self-supporting through sale of their art and the art that the children make at the school.  The Flip Camera is helping them to gain exposure for what they are doing in the United States.  They are so hardworking, and their goal is to rebuild Haiti by teaching the children to be productive.

This has been a life-changing experience for me and my students.  The Haitians we have met are such resilient, courageous and truly beautiful people.  I would like as many people as possible to know about what they have accomplished in the face of such tragedy.

Check out footage from the Haitian's Flip Cameras below!

Editors Note: These short clips were filmed with Flip Camera models from 2009 and are not representative of the HD picture that is captured with the Flip UltraHD™ cameras currently on Digital Wish.

Where to Find Funding for Technology
Posted by John Sullivan at 07:44:43 PM Fri 02/25/2011

By Heather Chirtea
Executive Director, Digital Wish

It’s not always easy to find funding for your favorite technology products, but here
are a few ideas you may not have thought of.

Recycle Old Technology to Buy New Technology
The Recycle Forward program from Digital Wish allows you to earn money for new technology products by recycling your old cell phones, ink cartridges, and other technology items. Simply print signs, set up a drop-box, and print free shipping labels. Our local school raised $850 during a community drop day.

Your Training Budget Might Cover Hardware
Many schools have a surplus of training funds and a deficit of hardware funding. Talk to your hardware vendor and see if they will provide professional development together with the equipment you are purchasing. If so, you could ask your vendor to give you a quote on "training with hardware included.” Your technology purchases might suddenly qualify for training budgets. Be sure to check what is allowable with each grant or funding source.

Target the Copy Budget

Consider distributing your school newsletter by email to save money on copies.
Then, use the savings to purchase new technology. Also, calculate the cost
savings that will be made with a paperless system. The copy budget would
be dramatically reduced, in fact slashed, if all your students suddenly turned
in their work electronically. There's also a fantastic move to "go green,” save
trees, and reduce your school’s footprint by reducing your paper consumption.

Target the Textbook Budget
It would certainly take a major re-work of the school's curriculum to eliminate even a single textbook, but consider calculating the cost of textbook purchases versus computer purchases. You may be able to fund a computer for every student at a similar cost over a 4-year period. Computers have recently dropped dramatically in price.

Title 1
If your school has "school-wide" designation for Title 1, then it may be possible to use Title 1 funding for school-wide computer purchases. These regulations may vary by state.

Have Students Bring Computers From Home
If you are planning a one-computer-per-child initiative, do a quick survey to find
out how many students have computers at home that might be used in school.
Your school’s IT Coordinator will need to equip these home systems with the
school’s virus protection and internet filtering, but the cost may be appreciably
less than purchasing a brand new computer for every student.

Consider Refurbished Computers
Again, for a school considering the purchase of one-computer-per-child, you can often get three times more refurbished equipment for the same price as new computers. If you go this route, be sure to purchase the maximum extended warranty.

Fundraise on Digital Wish
Have your teachers make technology wish lists at www.digitalwish.org, then invite parents and community members to donate! The site also offers special educator-only discounts and grants, like a 2-for-1 promotion on Flip video cameras. Contributors can purchase items directly from a teacher’s technology wish list, or make any contribution large or small.

You may republish this article and the images (together) in your newsletter, as long as you include the following credit:

By Heather Chirtea, Executive Director, Digital Wish, heather@digitalwish.org

Digital Wish is on a mission to solve technology shortfalls in American classrooms. Invite your teachers to make their technology wish lists at www.digitalwish.org, then invite parents and community members to donate.  Flip video cameras are available to US schools through a 2-for-1 matching program. Digital Wish has brought technology grants to over 22,000 classrooms and maintains a vibrant community of over 50,000 educators.

How to Argue for Technology
Posted by John Sullivan at 06:38:17 PM Fri 02/25/2011

By Heather Chirtea

Executive Director, Digital Wish

We are all feeling the crunch of declining school funding. Technology budgets, which are often viewed as expendable, can take a big hit. In order to secure funding for technology it is necessary to provide a compelling argument to decision makers, explaining why technology is critical to education. You will be hard pressed to find a conclusive body of research that actually draws a connection between technology usage and increased test scores. So, in a recessionary environment of declining funding, how do you convince funders that technology is important?

Change the argument! Test scores are not the answer.

Argue for Economic Development
Try crafting a connection between your technology initiative and the future economic development of the workforce and your community.
Consider this: if students are tech-savvy, then businesses hiring technology workers will be able to hire locally and sustain or grow their operations. Graduates who find local jobs will stay in local communities, raise families, buy houses, contribute to the tax base, and start new local businesses. A technologically rounded education has the downstream effect of promoting the economic development and future growth of an entire community. It sparks systemic change.
Companies and colleges are spending an estimated $17 billion per year to train recent graduates in the basic skills they should have gained in school. Students need technological competence to succeed in the competitive workforce. New entrepreneurs can work from anywhere, start businesses, and bring new growth opportunities to local communities.

Talk about Globalization
America's position in the flattened global economy has declined and shortfalls in the technical workforce are hurting American businesses. Just ask your local businesses. According to Deloitte LLP, only 22% of high school students feel schools have done an "excellent" job preparing them for college. In order to remain competitive in global markets, our school systems must prepare our students with the skills they need to compete globally.

Raise a Moral Question
In a 2007 survey, 75% of educators classified themselves as "often in need of" or "desperate for" technology resources. Bob Stevens, the Executive Director of the Vermont Principal's Association stated that the lack of technology in the classroom can be likened to "educational malpractice." Schools need access to technology so that students can develop the skills they need to thrive.

Point out Relevance
85% of teens ages 12-17 engage in some form of electronic personal communication, including text messaging, emailing, or online social networking. Yet students are faced with a pencil-and-paper education. Relevant technology tools will inspire our students to learn and engage in their education.

Discuss Student Engagement
"...Increases in student engagement" are the #1 most common benefit cited by schools who employ one-computer-per-child initiatives. Here is a one idea to present. The effective life of a computer in a school is approximately 4 years. The effective career of a student through your school is probably similar. You might want to turn over the computers' "pink slips" to students as a bonus upon graduation. This not only saves the cost of disposing obsolete equipment, but students will take much better care of equipment they know is "theirs when they graduate". It is also an added motivation to stay in school at a time when the drop-out rate is so dramatically high.

Focus on Workforce Development

As technology funding erodes, our teachers become progressively less able to prepare students for future employment in the rapidly expanding global economy. The Journal of Industrial Technology reports that over the past 2 decades, enrollment in technical degrees has decreased by as much as 11%, while the demand for technical workers has risen by 29%. Businesses are sounding the alarm. Without students receiving adequate exposure to technology in schools, it becomes increasingly difficult to find and hire technologically qualified graduates from the local economy. It's a silent and cumulative crisis that now threatens to undermine our children's future.

If we don't, then...

Consider what's going to happen to your school and town if you don't modernize schools with technology. Brainstorm the worst-case scenario, then share the story with your potential funders. It will sound something like this, "...if our students aren't savvy, local businesses can't hire. Those who are savvy will leave and never return because there are no job opportunities..."

Tell Stories
It is much easier for a decision maker to fund a "human interest" story than a piece of equipment. This works incredibly well with politicians. If you ever get the opportunity to appeal to your school board or local legislator, don't do the presentation yourself. Rather, invite a few students to speak on your behalf. Let the students explain why they need technological skills to prepare for college and get a job. Remember, you are not trying to put technology in schools, rather you are preparing students for the future workforce in the global economy. You are fighting for your children's future!

Craft a Financial Argument
Many rural states experience a "Brain Drain" wherein graduates leave to attend college and don't return. Consider the financial effect on the state's tax base. Each student who stays in the local area will get a job, raise a family, buy a house, and contribute to the local tax base (which in most states contributes directly to education funding). Regardless of whether your state suffers from a "Brain Drain," you can calculate the annual financial gain to the tax base and local economy based on average salary rates in your state for each student who decides to "stay local." Every 1% of students who stay contribute $XX.XX to the tax base and $XX.XX to the local economy each year. Over a lifetime, a single family can bring an additional $XX.XX to your community. Hard numbers are what decision makers need to justify re-allocating funds. Remember, a savvy student can work from anywhere.

Calculate the Percent of Total Spending
Calculate the total education budget in your funding region (school, district, or state), then consider what percentage of that budget would be necessary to put a computer in every student's backpack. It is a sure bet that you will be able to craft a true and compelling statement such as, "Less than one half of 1% of the total education budget would put a computer on the desk of every single student in our district." You will quickly realize how small that percentage really is.

You may republish this article and the images (together) in your newsletter, as long as you include the following credit:

By Heather Chirtea, Executive Director, Digital Wish, heather@digitalwish.org

Digital Wish is on a mission to solve technology shortfalls in American classrooms. Invite your teachers to make their technology wish lists at www.digitalwish.org, then invite parents and community members to donate.  Flip video cameras are available to US schools through a 2-for-1 matching program. Digital Wish has brought technology grants to over 22,000 classrooms and maintains a vibrant community of over 50,000 educators.

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