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Friday, June 13, 2014

USED Free Stuff: ConnectED Hub

Education Secretary Arne Duncan today announced the launch of a new “ConnectED Hub” to help schools tap into resources donated by high-tech companies.

The online hub provides information for schools, teachers and students on how to take advantage of pledges by corporate giants such as Apple, AT&T, Microsoft, Sprint and Verizon to equip needy schools with hardware, software and broadband connectivity. It will also connect them to free software and other resources pledged by Adobe, Esri, Prezi and other companies. Some of the companies also offer free teacher training. Applications are available on the hub.

Groups representing districts, schools, teachers and libraries have been skeptical about the administration’s plan to expand the E-rate program to ensure wider broadband connectivity. They fear it won’t be funded well enough to meet their needs.

But Duncan said the planned $2 billion investment plus $2 billion in private-sector donations will provide “the shot of adrenaline our schools need to surge into the 21st Century.” The hub and related investments, he said, amount to a “major down payment on providing every child in America with the high-quality teaching and technological skills that they deserve, and the economy demands.”

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