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Digital Wish survey of frontline educators reveals double digit gaps in at-home connectivity and computing device access for K-12 students
Posted by Heather Chirtea at 08:08:13 PM Thu 05/07/2020

Nonprofit Digital Wish Supports Educators in Solving Education Technology Shortfalls

May 7, 2020, MILTON, Delaware – According to a new survey conducted by Digital Wish, 19% of students nationwide do not have internet connectivity at home and 21% do not own a computing device, impacting their ability to adequately participate in remote learning while schools are closed due to COVID-19.


The COVID-19 pandemic is revealing the dramatic educational equity gap between the “haves” and “have nots,” and a mosaic of stories have emerged from the front lines. Since COVID-19 struck, nearly all schools have closed down nationwide. Based on the survey results, an estimated 10.6 million students lack Internet access and close to 12 million students lack a computing device, leaving them isolated and left behind from any effective distance learning. 

The survey data reveals a large disparity in the needs of school districts based on wealth and geography.  Rural and Urban schools are showing higher rates of disconnected students than suburban. Districts with higher participation in free or reduced lunch programs who often have higher minority representation, are more frequently fighting for devices and connectivity. One school administrator lamented “We have received an overwhelming number of phone calls and emails from parents asking for devices. Ninety percent of our students qualify for free and reduced lunch. We cannot continue education at home if we don't have devices and Internet for our lowest-income families.”


Digital Wish has experienced dramatic increases in demand for its hotspot donations and subsidized internet programs for schools. According to Executive Director Heather Chirtea, “We’ve seen more demand from educators for internet hotspots in the last 30 days than we’ve seen in the entire previous year”

The CARES Act included $13.5 billion for K-12 education, with distance learning one of many eligible uses. Heather Chirtea said: “Digital Wish believes that the CARES Act will probably not be enough to fully address the gaps in connectivity and computers identified by our survey. This nation needs dedicated educational technology funding that will equip those millions of displaced students with hotspots, connectivity, and computing devices so that they can continue their education.”  


Full survey results are available at: http://www.digitalwish.com/dw/digitalwish/covid_stimulus 

Please contact Digital Wish if you need interviews or quotes with attribution.  Members of the press are invited to circulate the findings and we have educators who are willing to be interviewed. 

Contact: Heather Chirtea, Executive Director, Digital Wish, 802-379-3000, [email protected] 

About Digital Wish

Digital Wish is a 501c-3 nonprofit on a mission to solve technology shortfalls in education. Every child deserves a technology-rich education to provide them with the skills necessary to thrive in the global economy. Digital Wish partners with technology providers to distribute free or reduced-cost educational technology such as refurbished laptops, tablets and internet “hotspots” to schools and teachers. Digital Wish manages a community of 64k educators in the US, assisting them with their technology needs through lesson plans, fundraiser campaigns for their “technology wishes” and access to affordable educational technology used in the classroom. Since its inception in 2006, Digital Wish has granted over 31,000 technology wishes to educators worth over $17 Million, and administered grants together with Verizon, Dell, Motorola, Henderson Foundation, and Microsoft. For more information, please visit www.digitalwish.org.


Digital Wish conducted an online survey from April 1 to 19, 2020 asking U.S. school administrators and technology educators on the front lines to report their data on student connectivity and to share their stories. All data is voluntarily self-reported by educational leaders who are contending with disruptive COVID-19 changes. In partnership with the analyst team at EducationSuperHighway.org we confirmed the validity of the data as follows: We confirmed the sample is representative. We cleaned the sample dataset. We confirmed the reasonableness for metrics collected.

For more information, see the “Survey Methodology” section on the survey results page here: http://www.digitalwish.com/dw/digitalwish/covid_stimulus

Digital Wish Media Contact:
Jon Gallup, [email protected]
Digital Wish
PO Box 255
Milton, DE 19968
(802) 375-6721 X-222

Digital Wish School Modernization Initiative Spans over 50 Schools
Posted by Heather Chirtea at 05:01:00 PM Fri 02/13/2015

Manchester Center, VTJanuary 10, 2014 - For the past six years, Digital Wish has been studying the process of implementing one-computer-per-child programs in Vermont and New Hampshire schools, as well as teaching Digital Citizenship across 50 sites.  As a non-profit on a mission to bring technology to American classrooms, trainers have spent years delivering computers, weekly educator and student trainings, a complete IT curriculum, and support to schools across Vermont and New Hampshire.  In addition, the Digital Citizenship training reached a major milestone spanning 50 schools in VT, NH, NY, and CA.

The team developed a 7-unit Technology Curriculum based on ISTE’s NETS standards that easily meshes together with the core topics.  Eric Bird, Project Director, said, “In order for a technology curriculum to be successful, it has to be non-invasive.  Teachers can’t just drop their core subjects and teach technology as a separate subject.  Technology has to work together with their regular lesson plan regimen.”

The gem of the program is clearly the Digital Citizenship unit, which raised student understanding from 26% to 96% in just 3 class periods. Read the research: http://bit.ly/19eGWHj.  The data clearly demonstrates the need for wide scale training on digital citizenship.

  • 20% of the schools we enter already have a student in trouble for a safety infraction.

  • 88% of the teachers reported some level of discomfort with Digital Citizenship issued. That means they aren’t teaching it,

  • 74% of students answered "No" when asked "Do you know what it means to be a good digital citizen?"

As a result, the next phase of the program will center on development of a self-paced curriculum for digital citizenship that be leveled for elementary, middle, high school, and businesses.

Beginning in 2008, Digital Wish embarked on a year-long academic study to research successful and failed 1:1 computing initiatives.  This intensive research period resulted in the identification of eight essential components which must be addressed in order to build a sustainable 21st century learning program, including leadership, investment, hardware, connectivity, training, curriculum, IT support, and community engagement.  The team discovered the absence of even one component creates a much higher risk of new initiatives failing downstream.  

Pilot Phase
With endorsements from major educational associations of principals, school boards, superintendents, IT coordinators, NEA teachers union, and training centers, Digital Wish raised $152,000 from private foundations like the A.D. Henderson Foundation to fund four pilot sites in the 2009-2010 school year.  Across the pilot classrooms, trainers experimented with sharing computers between students, employing mobile labs and computer carts, and creating comprehensive 1:1 computing environments.  Because the Digital Wish team found that learning gains were so much greater in schools using one-computer-per-child, they abandoned shared computing and mobile computer lab models altogether, and pledged to only support 1:1 initiatives at scale.  


2009-10 Pilot Data

Early data demonstrated the importance of making one-device-per-child strategies a top priority for schools.

  • 73% of students agree that schoolwork is more enjoyable when using a computer.

  • 85% of students report that they produce better work and pay closer attention to lessons when they use a computer.

  • 95% of students report that it is important to have their own computer at school.

  • Technology utilization doubled and even tripled across subjects for students and teachers, with the largest utilization increases in English and research.

  • Within 3 months, comfort levels with computing increased in every classroom.

  • 86% of students say they get work done more quickly when using a computer.

  • 85% of students report that having technology in school is important to their future.

Through these early pilot stages, Digital Wish gathered the resources and support necessary to scale the initiative.  According to Heather Chirtea, Digital Wish’s Executive Director, “It’s extraordinarily difficult to develop a successful technology initiative from scratch because there are just so many decision points.  Every school we entered in the pilot phase was facing the same issues, making the same kinds of decisions, and making the same mistakes in isolation.  It was an incredible waste of time and resources.  We’ve implemented so many sites now, that we can explain the downstream ramifications of nearly every decision and prevent schools from taking a wrong turn very early in the process.  These lessons can be easily scaled across the state and the country.” In fact, many schools now ask Digital Wish to consult and help them through planning their technology programs.

Implementation Phase
In partnership with the Vermont Council on Rural Development, Microsoft, Dell, and many others, Digital Wish was awarded $1.125 million in stimulus funding to implement their School Modernization Initiative across 24 more schools through the e-Vermont Community Broadband Project.  The trainers constructed seven curriculum units based on the NETS technology standards.  Digital Wish teachers entered 24 schools to teach both educators and students how to safely and efficiently use current technologies to learn and demonstrate their knowledge.  “The first site took eighteen months of planning from our first contact with the school, to passing out computers in the classroom,” said Heather Chirtea, Executive Director of Digital Wish.  “Our 30th deployment reduced the entire planning process down to just four weeks!  We have systematized everything possible from press releases, parent letters, and policy documents to curriculum.”  These curriculum units are now available nationally as individual units, or as part of the Digital Wish’s IT Curriculum Series


2010-12 Implementation Data 

During the Implementation Phase, survey data was collected from 719 teachers and students from 24 schools.  Download the full report here.  The bulk of the data reflects the differences in responses between the pre- and post- initiative surveys.  Listed here are some interesting gains reported during the implementation phase:

  • Workforce Prep - 93% of students say having technology in school is important in preparing them for the future.

  • Importance - 90% of students say that it is important to their education to have their own computer during the school year.

  • Internet Safety - Over 50% more teachers reported they are now very comfortable with Internet research and safety, increasing from 40% to 63%.

  • Skills - Teachers say that less than half as many students are considered beginners with computers.  They consider approximately 1/3 more students to be advanced computer users.

  • College - Students who plan to go to college increased from 89.1% to 90.7%, a 1.6% increase.

  • Frequency - The number of students who use a computer every day in the classroom more than doubled the pre-initiative levels, increasing from 24% to 52%.

  • Collaboration - The number of teachers who are now comfortable with collaborating with peers, parents, and/or students using digital tools increased from 83% to 93%, a 10 percentage point increase.

Not all gains were measurable though, and teachers commonly reported a wide array of anecdotal gains:

  • Students are fully engaged.

  • Students take better care of equipment.

  • Computer breakage rates are lower.

  • Behavioral infractions have been significantly reduced.

  • Students are becoming technologically fluent 2-3 times faster.  

  • A peer-coaching dynamic has emerged.

  • New student leaders have begun to develop from all levels of the social strata.

  • Some of the largest gains have been made by low-achieving students.

“It was a real treat to see the changes in these classrooms firsthand,” said Eric Bird, Project Director for the Digital Wish School Modernization Initiative.  “When we began, most classrooms had only a few outdated computers. We put a computer on each child's desk. I’ve seen enormous gains in student engagement. You really don’t understand how important this is until you find out that the decision to drop out of school is made at the middle school level.  We’re raising engagement levels with students in grades 4-6, hopefully before the decision to drop out ever gets a chance to take root.”

Bird continued, “Students and teachers have become technologically fluent very rapidly; learning independently and solving real world issues.  We implemented a unit where students were challenged to create their own business ideas.  For many students, this was the first time that they had ever envisioned themselves as entrepreneurs.  It’s a real game changer as students plan their future.”

Replication Phase
The replication phase included 12 schools from the implementation phase as well as 1-2 new school added annually in an urban environment in Nashua, NH funded by a grant from Dell Powering the Possible.  The same resources that were developed during the implementation phase were then used to replicate the program the following year.

“It’s amazing how rapidly we’ve worked through the planning process,” said Sheila Marcoux, Digital Wish’s technology integrator for Nashua.  “All of the planning, documentation, usage guidelines, permission forms, and tough decisions were already mapped out.”   

2012-14 Replication Phase Data
Survey data was collected for three successive year with demonstrated gains across all technology areas. Classroom trainers were able to compress training times, and achieve higher gains than previous years - in a shorter period of time. Download the study here: http://bit.ly/1KTcUo7

Key data points include:

  • Ethical and Legal Issues - When asked to rate their understanding of the ethical and legal issues involved in copyright, 67% of students responded that they are now an expert.  Prior to the 1:1 Initiative, 62% said that they did NOT understand copyright issues at all.

  • Media Awareness - Prior to Digital Citizenship, 20% of students had no idea what types of media they could not access online.  78% now consider themselves experts.

  • Increasing Intent to Attend College - The number of students who were NOT planning on attending college dropped from 6.8% to 4.3%, over the school year.

  • Increased Problem Solving - 51% of students have participated in 10+ hours of technology projects where they had to solve a problem, gather information, or draw a conclusion.  The previous year, 38% of students said that they participated in NONE of these technology projects.

  • Engagement - 73% of students prefer to use a computer to do their schoolwork, and 89% say using a computer makes schoolwork easier.  86% of students enjoy school more when they use technology, and 73% enjoy school more when their teacher uses technology to teach lessons.

  • Rising Engagement - 100% of the teachers surveyed report that they and their students are very enthusiastic about the Digital Wish Program.  Teachers report that students are three times more highly engaged when creating digital artwork, word processing, and creating presentations than before Digital Wish’s 1:1 Initiative.  The greatest changes in engagement were for creating presentations and writing.

  • Increasing Comfort - Teachers are now twice as comfortable using technology to produce videos, create and give presentations, and create digital artwork, learning to use a new form of technology, learning to use a new computer program, and redesigning a lesson plan so that it integrates technology.

  • Decreasing Behavioral Infractions - 100% of teachers report that they only need to send students out of their classroom for disruptive behavior 0-1 times per week, as opposed to 4-5 times pre-initiative.


Community Impact - Cultural Shift

With one-computer-per-child initiatives implemented across 28 sites in 2 states the trainers began noticing a cultural shift taking place in the schools.  Staff, administrators, and community members were rapidly shifting their assumptions about the need for technology in classrooms.  Computers were no longer something that “someone else” had to deal with.  Instead, they became an assumed part of every learning experience. In a post-mortem evaluation of the original 2009-2010 pilot schools, all of them had scaled up their technology programs within 12 months of Digital Wish’s arrival.  One town voted to increase their school’s technology budget from $5,000 to $50,000 in the following school year – ten times their amount originally allotted for educational technology.

Anecdotal Gains
In addition to the measurable improvements, teachers and students provided anecdotes on their experiences:

  • “We NEED technology in school because it is the only way we will know how to use a computer in middle school, high school, college, and most importantly our jobs!”

  • “I taught my dad how to use and do an AMAZING PowerPoint. When I taught my dad PowerPoint he did something about his work and now when you first come in his work you see a TV that has his power point on it.”

  • “My favorite thing was that I could teach my parents to be safe on the internet.”

  • “Technology is important; its importance will only increase in the future. Almost everyone has a job that involves at least typing or researching things on the computer.

Eric Bird, Digital Wish Project Director said, “It is truly amazing to see such transformative results in a relatively short amount of time. I'm literally watching accelerated growth as students and educators expand their problem solving skills and technology engagement across their daily tasks. Many students are regularly mentoring their parents and peers.”

After-School Programs

In addition to classroom training during the school day, 196 students from 11 of the 13 replication schools participated in after school programs on computer programming.  High school students and even Dell employees acted as mentors to elementary school students to help them create video games using Microsoft Kodu and Expression Web. 

Sky Kocheneur, an after-school trainer said, “I taught the students the basics of computer game programming, and by the end of the first sessions students were teaching me new skills!  We just get them started and they naturally build upon the basic skills.”  Trainer, Sheila Marcoux added, “You could see their critical thinking and problem solving skills advance with each session.”

In addition, the Digital Wish after-school program was supplemented by field trips to Dell and onsite career-exploration.  The corporate engagement brought a "real world" interface to the initiative that simply couldn't be taught in the conventional classroom. After listening to a diverse array of executives talk about their different jobs Digital Wish trainers heard many comments like, "I'm going to work at Dell when I get older!"

Data Demonstrates Scaled Need for Digital Citizenship Training

Heather Chirtea said, “Right off the bat, we discovered understanding of Digital Citizenship issues was frighteningly low.  20% of the schools we entered already had a student in trouble for a safety infraction, and 88% of the teachers reported some level of discomfort with Digital Citizenship issued. That means they aren’t teaching it.”

In one school only 7% of students even understood Digital Citizenship at the start of the program.  The data was clearly demonstrating that the wide scale lack of understanding of digital citizenship concepts was at crisis levels.  So Digital Wish expanded just the Digital Citizenship curriculum to 14 more schools in Vermont and New Hampshire.  The result was immediate, comprehensive, and achieved near 100% proficiency.

Chirtea continued, “The whole team was stunned when we saw these data improvements.  Understanding of Digital Citizenship went up from 26% to 96%, and we were able to replicate that success across 14 schools in just 3 class periods.” Read the Nashua report.

Next Phase

In the 2015-16 school year - Digital Wish will pursue grants to expand the digital citizenship training course for nationwide scale.  Initial funding has already been secured to develop a digital citizenship "certification" curriculum for middle school students.  Essentially, students have to pass the 3-hour course in order to be allowed to add their personal device to the school's internet network (enabling "Bring Your Own Device").  The course enables schools to allow hundreds of student-owned devices onto their networks, and dramatically increases internet access in the classroom environment for students.  At the same time, BYOD reduces the school's cost of hardware purchases necessary to ensure information access for every child in learning.

According to Chirtea "We're envisioning a certification course for Digital Citizenship that can be scaled. It will not only make the internet safer for kids, but it will solve the lack-of-internet-access problem in classrooms, and at the same time take a big bite out of the hardware shortfall in schools. Schools won't have to buy a device for every student, because frankly, most kids would rather use their own devices."

About Digital Wish

Learn more about Digital Wish's research and download more reports here:

·        Digital Citizenship:  http://digitalwishes.wordpress.com/research/digital-citizenship/   
·        1:1 Computing: http://digitalwishes.wordpress.com/research/11-computing
·        Sustainability: http://digitalwishes.wordpress.com/research/sustainability


Digital Wish Media Contact:
Jon Gallup, [email protected]
Digital Wish
PO Box 255
Milton, DE 19968
(802) 375-6721 X-222

Another Successful Year in Nashua, NH for Digital Wish and Dell Powering the Possible
Posted by Jonathan Gallup at 10:26:06 AM Wed 09/17/2014

Manchester Center, VT – September 15, 2014 - For the past six years, Digital Wish has been implementing one-computer-per-child programs in Vermont and New Hampshire schools, as well as teaching a turnkey Digital Citizenship program across the country.  As a non-profit on a mission to bring technology to American classrooms, the team just completed their 2013-2014 implementation in Nashua, NH, thanks to a grant from Dell’s Powering the Possible program. Trainers spent the past year delivering computers, weekly educator and student trainings, a complete IT curriculum, an after-school program, and support to another school in the Nashua, NH school district.  In addition, the Digital Citizenship training reached a major milestone by working with over 50 schools spanning Vermont, New Hampshire, California, and New Jersey. 

In the 1:1 programs, Digital Wish’s trainers modeled the entire process of technology adoption, and progressively reduced the initiative planning time from 18 months to just 4 weeks, saving schools tremendous amounts of time and money.  Both teachers and students report a wide range of gains including increased IT skills, collaboration, engagement in learning, technological proficiency, computer access, and dramatic improvements in the understanding of Internet safety issues.

Over the course of the 2013-2014 school year, Digital Wish trained 127 students and 15 educators, teaching a different element of IT integration including digital citizenship, digital presentation, and reliable research.  Students participated in a cyber-safety poster contest and created projects around the relevant curriculum topics.  An after-school game coding class further engaged students every week.

“It is truly incredible to see the advancements of students and educators when technology can be used as a tool to teach the curriculum,” said Eric Bird, Project Director for Digital Wish.  “We have entire classrooms of engaged, entertained, and motivated students, solving their own problems, thinking critically, and working collaboratively toward common goals.  They are receiving relevant 21st century skills that will help their future careers and the community as a whole.”

Digital Wish closed out the school year with a field trip to Nashua Dell to conduct employee interviews, participate in hands-on technology projects, and hear about career opportunities in the IT industry.  Major impact in this underserved school included 625 hours of educator training and 5,335 student hours spent learning from weekly technology lessons.


2013-2014 Nashua Data
113 students took this survey, both before and after Digital Wish's year-long computing program.  Participants were about half 4th graders and half 5th graders; and about half girls and half boys.  Technology training classes were taught in classes each week for 7 months. A trainer worked with the students and teachers once a week to teach Digital Wish’s IT curriculum. The curriculum covered six unique units on technology usage and practical implementation. You can download the complete report here.


Here are just a few gains from the survey:

  • Increased Usage - After the program, students used a computer every day in the classroom 30 times more than before.  Students who reported participating in 10 or more technology projects that required them to solve a problem, gather information, or draw a conclusion rose from 12% to 86%.
  • Increased Safe Usage - After the program, students rated themselves an average of 9 (on a scale of 1-10) or higher when they rated how well they could protect their personal information on the internet, treat other people with respect on the internet, and safely use the internet.  After the program, students rated themselves 8.5 or higher when asked how much they knew about what they legally can and cannot do on the internet, their rights on the internet, and their responsibilities on the internet.
  • Increasing IT Skills - Students rated themselves higher in every single technology skill after the program, and more than doubled their self-rating on how well they can use spreadsheets or Excel.  The percentage of students who said they were beginners on computers decreased from 11% to 4%, a near 300% drop.  The number of students who can figure out almost anything on their own while using a computer rose from 29% to 35.4%.
  • Increased Collaboration – Students collaborating with adults at least once a week while using technology rose from 46% to 94%.  The number of students who collaborated with other students at least once a week while using technology more than tripled.


Anecdotal Gains

In addition to the measurable improvements above, teachers and students provided anecdotes on their experiences:

Students were asked to share the most interesting or exciting thing they have done with a computer.

  • “I learned a new skill and that is researching faster than I did before and to do it correctly.”
  • “My favorite thing was that I could teach my parents to be safe on the internet.”

Students were challenged to tell their school principal anything about having technology in school.  Here are some direct quotes:

  • “School is absolutely nothing without the internet and technology.  It makes school work easier so you don't fail.  You can learn something new with the computer.”
  • “I would tell her that it’s better because it will be easy to do school work and every one would be happy.”
  • “Technology is great in school because it will prepare us for the future and we can now do special tests on the computer which means that we do not need to use papers and pencil as much and that means the environment is getting help.”


About Digital Wish

Learn more about Digital Wish's research and download more reports here:

At Digital Wish, teachers make technology wishes, and donors make those wishes come true with contributions, bringing technology to needy classrooms in all 50 states. Since August 2009, Digital Wish has granted over 30,000 classroom technology wishes through its online network of over 64,000 teachers, and delivered over $14 million in technology products to American classrooms directly impacting over 500,000 students. In research, Digital Wish secured over $1.6 million in funding to put computing programs into 50 schools, reducing the planning time for technology adoption from 18 months to just 4 weeks, and achieving measured gains in student engagement and 21st century skills. Read our research.

Digital Wish Media Contact:
Jon Gallup, [email protected]
Digital Wish
PO Box 255
Milton, DE 19968
(802) 375-6721 X-222

24 Business and Entrepreneurship Courses - Free, just sign up
Posted by Jonathan Gallup at 11:46:51 AM Sat 09/13/2014

Manchester, VT - September 12, 2014 - Whether you're a students, aspiring business owners, or small business, there are 24 free 1-hour courses in the HP Life series covering finance, operations, marketing, communications and social networking, in seven languages. Earn certificates of completion, get advice, and join the global online community of more than 330,000 learners from 200 countries. These 1-hour courses are ideal for after-school clubs, or to support curriculum.  In addition, any small business or entrepreneur can get start-up support, simply by signing up.

Sign up here: http://www.life-global.org/go/digitalwish

Print a Flyer: http://www.digitalwish.com/docs/HP_LIFE_flyer_Digital_Wish.pdf

Digital Wish has partnered in the HP LIFE e-Learning Campaign to help spread the word about the HP Life free training courses during this back-to-school season. For each person who signs up at this link, through October 31, HP will donate $1 to Digital Wish to support more free technology programs for schools!  Please have students sign up, and circulate to your network.

Contact Us:  Amanda Stevens, program coordinator, [email protected], (802)375-6721.

Digital Wish Media Contact:
Jon Gallup, [email protected]
Digital Wish
PO Box 255
Milton, DE 19968
(802) 375-6721 X-222

Winners Announced for the Epic Yearbook Photo Contest
Posted by Heather Chirtea at 03:57:21 PM Fri 06/13/2014

Manchester, VT - June 13, 2014 - Digital Wish teamed up with Olympus, and Picaboo Yearbooks, to give away three Olympus digital yearbook cameras, as well as an iPad The winning school also received a class set of 30 free yearbooks. There were over 120 entries. Check out all the winners at this link.

Grand Prize: An iPad and an Olympus TOUGH TG-830 Digital Camera

HM- 8929_original-Smaller.jpg


Jaiden, Age 7, from LaCrescenta, CA

"Just after striking out her 3 batter, her teammates rushed her. You can just feel the emotion in this picture. Its a memory that will last forever, caught on film!"

2nd Place:  Free printed yearbooks for all yearbook club members (limit 30) and an Olympus TOUGH TG-830 Digital Camera


Dedication Delivers

Gina Shook, from Carlyle, IL

"Working both before and after school, this group of sophomores and seniors take their sport seriously. These high school cheerleaders have a combined experience of 36 years."


3rd Place:  An Olympus TOUGH TG-830 Digital Camera

Fall Sunset

Jackson, Age 14, from Manchester Center, VT

"Equinox red fire sunset."

Top honorable mention photos also received a Digital Camera Basics book.  Check out all the winners here: http://bit.ly/T8wc4E

About Digital Wish

At Digital Wish, teachers make technology wishes, and donors make those wishes come true with contributions, bringing technology to needy classrooms in all 50 states. Since August 2009, Digital Wish has granted over 30,000 classroom technology wishes through its online network of over 62,000 teachers, and delivered over $13 million in technology products to American classrooms directly impacting over 500,000 students. In research, Digital Wish secured over $1.2 million in stimulus funding to put 1:1 computing into 30 towns, reducing the planning time for technology adoption from 18 months to just 4 weeks, and achieving measured gains in student engagement and 21st century skills.

Digital Wish Media Contact:
Jon Gallup, [email protected]
Digital Wish
PO Box 255
Milton, DE 19968
(802) 375-6721 X-222

Win Olympus Digital Cameras and an iPad in the Epic Yearbook Photo Contest - Students and Teachers Can Enter
Posted by Jonathan Gallup at 11:38:28 AM Thu 02/06/2014

Manchester, VT - February 6, 2014 - Digital Wish is running a yearbook photo contest and entries are due May 5, 2014, on Cinco de Mayo.  We’ve teamed up with Olympus, Picaboo Yearbooks, and a talented photographer from USA Today to give away three Olympus digital yearbook cameras, as well as an iPad. We are also giving one of the winners a class set of 30 free yearbooks. Just simply enter the contest by uploading your photo to our photo contest website. This contest marks the launch of a new partnership between Digital Wish and Picaboo Yearbooks to equip schools with the tools they need to design and print yearbooks for less. You design the yearbook, we print it, and any money you earn goes directly towards funding new classroom technology.  Sign up and get started.

Build Your Yearbook Online for Less

The setup is easy, the printing is inexpensive, and its a great way to fund for technology in the classroom. Yearbooks start at $8.49 dollars for the first 20 pages which also includes 4 free customizable pages per student and a free online version. The online editor uses simplified drag and drop technology, so even the youngest students can participate in capturing their memories. Its great for small rural schools because there is no minimum amount for orders, and there is only a 3-week printing turnaround.

Digital Wish’s blog has great primer on running a yearbook club in your school, as well as, tips for teaching graphic design. Its easy to stay ahead of the year-end rush with our step by step yearbook how-to guide.

“Our high school charges $55 for a yearbook and a lot of the students can’t even afford it. This is a fantastic way to save money, plus the students can learn about publishing and develop skills they will use later to find jobs.”

Contest Prizes

All prize winners will receive a special "Cinco de Mayo" surprise box.

  • Grand Prize: An iPad and an Olympus TOUGH TG-830 Digital Camera

  • 2nd Place: Free printed yearbooks for all yearbook club members (limit 30) and an Olympus TOUGH TG-830 Digital Camera

  • 3rd Place: An Olympus TOUGH TG-830 Digital Camera

  • Top Honorable Mention photos: A Digital Camera Basics book.

Enter the Contest

Please invite all your students and teachers to enter the Epic Yearbook Photo Contest here:


Build Your Yearbook Online

Get started building your yearbook here:


Digital Wish Media Contact:
Jon Gallup, [email protected]
Digital Wish
PO Box 255
Milton, DE 19968
(802) 375-6721 X-222

Free eBook Building Course - Get a free marketplace and deliver your lessons to iPads, Smartphones, and Tablets
Posted by Jonathan Gallup at 10:38:38 PM Thu 11/14/2013

November 14, 2013, Manchester, VT - Join Digital Wish for our HP Catalyst Academy eBook Hack-a-thon course starting November 18, 2013 at 4 pm EST. Participants will attend a webinar on how to create an eBook with Digital Wish’s new software, eBuilder. Enroll in the HP Catalyst Academy course, qualify for badges, and receive a free eBuilder account. You’ll get a certificate of completion from HP Catalyst showing 8 hours of professional development training and a badge, upon completion. Participants will learn how easy it is to build an eBook and deliver it to any mobile tablet, iPad, or smart phone. Register for any or all of 4 different eBook building webinars, or watch the archives afterwards. Every enrollee receives a free eBuilder account.

The eBook Hack-a-thon course is comprised of four activities, and for each activity there is a scheduled webinar. The course takes about 8 hours to complete; however, if you don’t have the time, just sign up for any of the individual webinars here.  We’ll be archiving every webinar after it runs, so you can easily attend those webinars whenever your schedule allows, or catch the archive if you are too busy. Work at your own pace and collect your badge as soon as you complete each activity.

The Course

Each of the HP Catalyst Academy mini-courses are structured with 4 bite-sized activities.

Activity 1 - Build your first eBook - The live webinar is November 18 at 4pm EST, and it orients the participants on the basics of eBook building.

Activity 2 Outline your eBook - Attend the webinar on November 19th at 4pm EST. It really gets into the nuts and bolts of eBook building.Teachers should come prepared with a topic taken directly from the upcoming curriculum to use in building their first eBook. Together we’ll review the types of sources supported by the eBook tools, and target the most appropriate types of media and source documents to include.

Activities 3 and 4 - Collect & Construct, Manage Your Marketplace Join the webinar on November 22, 2013 at 4pm EST and participants will get advanced tips on eBook construction, as well as, inviting readers and writers to their marketplace.

Classroom Projects, Q & A - Anyone with extra questions can sign up for the webinar on November 25th at 4pm EST.  This will be an open forum on eBook building and we can review any topic.

Ease of Use

Don’t worry if you are a beginner computer user. The free eBook building software was built with novice computer users in mind. The Executive Director of Digital Wish, Heather Chirtea said, “Anybody can do this. its not just for the savvy teachers, we designed it for everyone. If you can drag-and-drop, you can build an eBook!”

Request Your Free eBook Software

Anyone can request a free teacher account by emailing Lauren Chaves at [email protected].

Media Contact: Lauren Chaves, [email protected]

Digital Wish, PO Box 1072, Manchester Center, VT 05255

Telephone: (802) 375-6721

Website: http://www.digitalwish.org

Digital Wish Media Contact:
Jon Gallup, [email protected]
Digital Wish
PO Box 255
Milton, DE 19968
(802) 375-6721 X-222

iPads for iMusic Fundraiser Success!
Posted by Amanda Stevens at 04:23:28 PM Tue 09/10/2013

Digital Wish Fundraiser Success Story

July 15th, 2013

Brian VandeWalle, Elementary Music Teacher, Texas 

Brian ran a technology fundraiser on Digital Wish and was able to meet 100% of his fundraising goal to purchase iPads for his music classroom. After 90 days and strong campaigning Brian was able to accomplish his objective and now we can share some tips from Brian that will help others also run a successful fundraiser. 

Identify Needs that will Enhance your Classroom.
After attending a teachers' conference where iPads were all the rage, Brian brought his own iPad into his music class to test it out with the kids. The students loved it. Brian realized that this new technology could get kids excited about learning. He saw that even kids who were normally disinterested in class became engaged when using the iPad. With the iPad he had access to many music education apps that motivated his students to explore music in exciting new ways. He also realized that the iPads were not just something that would be useful in the music room, but could be shared throughout other classrooms and subjects.

Digital Wish’s Fundraising Tool.
Brian’s school is classified as “high need” and he knew there was no money in the budget to buy iPads. After exploring some other fundraising websites he discovered that Digital Wish allowed him to raise money without any risk. If he failed to meet his goal he would still get whatever money he had been able to raise. This gave him the ability to set a high goal and obtain the money he needed for the iPads. With other sites he would have had to do a much smaller fundraiser because of the risk of not receiving any money if the goal was not met.


Spreading Awareness of the Fundraiser.
As soon as the fundraiser began Brian sent home letters to all the parents letting them know what he was trying to do. The key to running a successful fundraiser is constant communication with people to encourage them to donate. However, Brian noticed that only about 5% of the parents had participated. So, in order to drum up more participation, he explained to everyone at a PTA program night why he wanted the iPads and found out that part of the reason the participation was so low was that many parents were hesitant to use their credit cards online. After the program night, many parents donated money using checks or cash which Brian then donated for them.


Communicate Needs - Carefully and Often. Brian also realized after talking to his students, that many of the parents thought of the iPad as a gaming machine and were not interested in donating their money to purchasing them.  At another PTA program night, Brian gave a presentation showing a music video that the kids had made using an app on the iPad. He was able to show all the educational projects the students could tackle with the iPad, and many parents were able to see the device’s potential. His persistence in trying to get the message across to parents was key in being able to raise enough money to meet his goal. Without careful and constant communication potential donors were unable to understand the goal and they were reluctant to donate.

Keep Fundraiser Awareness High Until the Very End. Throughout the course of the fundraiser Brian kept a thermometer measuring the progress in his classroom. This raised student excitement and kept the goal fresh in students' minds, triggering them to remind their parents to donate. Two parents even approached the companies they work for and enrolled in their matching donation program. The corporations gave an equal donation to Brian’s classroom and doubled the impact of the parents' donation!

Wishes Granted and Fundraiser Goal Reached. In the end all of Brian’s hard work paid off and he was able to purchase iPads and an Apple TV.  Additionally, money that had not come in during the fundraiser was still donated afterwards and Brian has been able to purchase even more technology for the classroom. The kids were thrilled to start learning with the new iPads and even happier that they no longer had to share one iPad with the entire class. Brian said, “Digital Wish was a great site to use because I could create a risk-free fundraiser that was actually successful. With these new iPads I can speed up class and get more kids involved.”

Key Elements of Brian’s Success:
-Start a fundraiser on Digital Wish with a clear and well explained goal.
-Spread the word to parents and community members.
-Clearly explain and demonstrate the educational purposes to people.
-Let people know that they don’t have to donate online.
-Follow up with people about donating and thank them for their support.

For more information, contact Amanda Stevens, [email protected], 802-375-6721.

Digital Wish Media Contact:
Jon Gallup, [email protected]
Digital Wish
PO Box 255
Milton, DE 19968
(802) 375-6721 X-222

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