“[Broadband is]… just as important as having electricity and water. It’s really become a core component of the whole business of delivering instruction and also managing school districts.” …This according to TIES Technology Integration Development and Outreach Facilitator, Mary Mehsikomer, in a recent St. Cloud Times article regarding the importance of broadband connectivity in education. The article goes on to explain that parents may have thought that a dial-up connection was enough, but now dial-up connections are not robust enough to handle the type of information that students are required to access online. But, it’s not just at home; some rural schools and colleges are facing the same problem as households. Some district budgets simply cannot afford high-speed connectivity. Due to this difficulty, some schools have now joined forces via the Minnesota Educational Technology Network. The network strives to improve access to broadband in rural areas. It allows for the cooperative purchase of internet access and video services to rural schools and libraries. This network of rural schools and libraries effectively has greater buying power than each institution on its own. A few institutions in the network have even begun the cooperative sharing of servers or IT departments.
In addition to seeking out cooperative arrangements, schools and libraries may also be interested in securing grants to support their technology needs and updates. Locally, a $4,000 grant was received by the Foley School District from the Blandin Foundation’s MIRC Program for the installation of additional wireless units in the schools for school and community use.
At the college-level, there may be even greater need for high-speed connectivity. With the boom in online courses and fully online programs, high-speed connectivity for college students is essential. Vi Bergquist, Chief Information Officer at St. Cloud Community and Technical College, says “Internet access has gotten so vitally important for college students. It’s almost a must.” Bergquist goes on to explain that there’s often an assumption (especially at larger metropolitan campuses) that all students will have a device and access to high-speed connectivity — but that’s a dangerous assumption. Bergquist explains that there are still students that don’t have this access, and students that simply don’t understand the technical requirements for taking online courses.
With demand will ultimately come greater access to connectivity and high-speed providers. James Koenig, Director of IT Services at the College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University, explained that already “…there’s enough [provider] competition in the area that we can buy from a local provider”. This is certainly a move in the right direction!
Connect troubled teens with the power of reading with a Great Stories CLUB reading and discussion series!
The ALA Public Programs Office and YALSA are now accepting online applications through November 2 for the next round of Great Stories CLUB grants at www.ala.org/greatstories <http://www.ala.org/greatstories> .
Funding was provided for this program by Oprah’s Angel Network.
The Great Stories CLUB (Connecting Libraries, Underserved teens and
Books) is a book club program designed to reach underserved, troubled teen populations through books that are relevant to their lives. All types of libraries (public, school, academic and special) located within or working in partnership with facilities serving troubled teens in the United States and its territories are eligible to apply. Potential organizations for Great Stories CLUB partnership include juvenile justice facilities, drug rehabilitation centers, nonprofits serving teen parents, alternative high schools, agencies serving teenaged foster children, shelters serving homeless and runaway youth and other agencies.
More information about this exciting opportunity at the ASCLA blog:
Please share this e-mail and blog post with other individuals, groups or organizations you know who may be interested.
Target, the retail firm, makes school library grants through its Community Outreach Programs. Access Community Outreach information here.
The June Streaming News had an article about Target’s School Library Makeovers, which provides more extensive assistance. The company program, in partnership with The Heart of America Foundation®, refurbishes elementary school libraries, improves their equipment, including new technology, shelving, carpet and paint, and provides volunteer time. Additionally, each library media center receives 2,000 new books and each student receives seven books to begin a home library. President Ann M. Martin, on behalf of American Association of School Librarians, awarded Target the because of its Target School Library Makeovers program.
Grants Enhance K-12 School Libraries
Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries
The goal of the Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries is to provide print books to the school libraries and students that most need them. Grants of up to $6,000 are made to update, extend, and diversify the book collections of school libraries throughout the United States. Preference is given to elementary, middle, or high schools in which 90% or more of the school population receives free or reduced lunch. Funds are available only for library books and magazine/serial copies, and subscriptions; requests for staffing, shelving, furniture, equipment, software, videos, classroom book sets, or exams are not eligible. All grants are made to individual schools rather than to school districts, foundations, or other entities. The application deadline is December 31, 2008. Online application information is available on the website listed above.
Schools and public libraries are invited to apply online for the second round of Picturing America, which will ship in March 2009. Picturing America is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) designed to bring masterpieces of American art into classrooms and libraries nationwide.
Online applications will be accepted through October 31, 2008. The images in the Picturing America collection will remain the same; eligible institutions which applied during the first round will receive their Picturing America awards in fall 2008 and will not be eligible for a second award, In May 2008, 26,300 schools and public libraries were selected to received the first round of the award. ,