gamification and education

What Is Gamification, and Why Is It Trending in K–12 Schools?

Educators work hard to set students up for success in a world that is increasingly digital. A 2018 report by the Institute for the Future and Dell Technologies estimated that 85 percent of children entering today’s K–12 schools will eventually find themselves in jobs that don’t currently exist, making educators’ jobs even more challenging.

Add to that the new technologies vying for students’ attention in classrooms and on devices, plus the mental and emotional difficulties many students are facing following the pandemic. How can school districts engage students and set them up for success in a future world of advanced technology?

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Most Popular Funding Opportunities Last Month

In the previous month, educators were looking for funding opportunities in the areas of arts, technology, academic achievement, and more. Check out which grants GetEdFunding educators viewed the most in October.

SCA Grants

Sony Corporation of America focuses the majority of its charitable giving on art, culture, technology, and the environment, with a particular emphasis on education in each of those areas. While support in other areas may also be considered, the company seeks to apply its financial, technological, and human resources to the encouragement of the creative, artistic, technical, and scientific skills required of tomorrow’s workforce.

Deadline: Applications are accepted year-round.

Store-Based Giving Grants

Ross Stores, Inc. Foundation provides support for youth-oriented programs and services that prepare today’s youth for a bright tomorrow. The foundation makes Store-Based Giving Grants in the areas of building academic achievement and life skills in economically disadvantaged youth.

Deadline: Applications are accepted year-round.

Direct Grants

The Saint-Gobain Corporation Foundation makes Direct Grants in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education, especially blue-collar and nontraditional STEM programs; energy conservation and environmental concerns; and local communities.

Deadline: Applications are accepted year-round.

Education Grants – BAE Systems

BAE Systems’ Community Investment awards grants to community-based organizations that support education in the target areas of early childhood, kindergarten through grade 12, higher education, and programs that advance learning in the sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

Deadline: Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

MONAT Gratitude Grants

MONAT Gratitude, Inc. awards MONAT Gratitude Grants with the goal of helping children, families, and communities thrive. Funding supports new and existing programs in three areas: arts and culture, youth sports and recreation, and youth entrepreneurship.

Deadline: Applications are accepted October 3 through November 18, 2022; and February 2 through March 2, 2023.

3 Ways to Build a Case for (and Win) Early Learning STEAM Robotics Grants

By  Jason Innes

With millions of dollars of ESSER funding (as well as other federal, state, and local grants) still available, the smartest edtech investments are the ones that meet the following criteria:

  1. Are research-backed and deliver evidence-based solutions.
  2. Provide flexible, ongoing professional development.
  3. Offer hours of curriculum to support any subject.

Let’s dive deeper into each of these points to prove the case for bringing coding and robotics into young learners’ hands to support the development of computational thinking and invaluable science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM) skills.

1. Evidence of effect is critical.
Early childhood educators seeking funds for edtech should focus on research-backed solutions. When looking to introduce STEAM robotic solutions for children in preK through 5th grade, rely on research to prove the importance of introducing coding robots at a young age. For instance, the decades of research behind the screen-free KIBO robot show that even the youngest students can learn sequencing and coding in a fun and engaging way, regardless of curriculum. Powerful, positive learning outcomes for young learners when working with robotics include the following:

  • Improved sequencing ability in early childhood.
  • Mastery of foundational coding and robotics skills.
  • Integration of robotics across curricula.
  • Positive impact on underrepresented groups in STEM fields.

2. Ongoing professional development supports success.
Effective professional development (PD) assists long after the implementation of the product. PD lets educators embrace a solution and make it their own, customize it to their school’s needs, and understand how to pace the curriculum to allow students time to explore and experiment. Thanks to significant (but time-limited!) stimulus spending in education, educators can use ESSER funds to secure technology and devices, but also professional development to begin implementation right away and feel comfortable with the solutions purchased.

3. Embedded curriculum makes all the difference.
Edtech products that are paired with out-of-the-box curriculum are also must-haves. The accompanying curriculum should be designed to engage children in the full range of powerful ideas in creative coding and robotics, from beginner to advanced use.

After working through the curriculum, young children will be able to develop their computational thinking, engineering, and STEAM skills in a playful way. Most importantly, when educators are comfortable with delivering the robotics curriculum, children will be able to use robotics and coding to express themselves, explore interests, and connect and collaborate with peers. Educators should also look for curriculum that is aligned with both ISTE and CSTA standards, as well as their own state standards.

If educators find the right playful STEAM robotics solutions to take advantage of available funding, they can create an ideal early education environment—classrooms bubbling with engaged students asking questions, children learning from one another, and peers excitedly helping each other find answers. Be sure to prove the case with the tips above and bring in the funding for proven solutions that will engage young learners in creative STEAM learning and inspire their (and your) success.

Jason Innes is director of curriculum, training, and product management at KinderLab Robotics, Inc. He can be reached at jason@kinderlabrobotics.com.

Most Popular Funding Opportunities Last Month

In the previous month, educators were looking for funding opportunities in the areas of science, math, leadership, arts, and more. Check out which grants GetEdFunding educators viewed the most in the month of September.

Education Grants, Fluor Foundation

Fluor Foundation makes grants that support science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education in communities where the company operates. Priority is given to programs that inspire and prepare students to excel in STEM and are committed to developing the next-generation workforce, improving teacher effectiveness with emphasis on STEM student proficiency and persistence, and cultivating leadership skills in youth.

Deadline: Letters of Inquiry are accepted year-round.

Toshiba America Grant Program for Science and Mathematics Educators

Toshiba America Foundation accepts applications from teachers who are passionate about making science and mathematics more engaging for their students. The foundation seeks to support teachers by providing funds to support classroom projects. The foundation strongly encourages projects planned and led by individual teachers or teams of teachers for their own classrooms.

Deadline: Deadlines vary.

SCA Grants

Sony Corporation of America focuses the majority of its charitable giving on art, culture, technology, and the environment, with a particular emphasis on education in each of those areas. While support in other areas may also be considered, the company seeks to apply its financial, technological, and human resources to the encouragement of the creative, artistic, technical, and scientific skills required of tomorrow’s workforce.

Deadline: Applications are accepted year-round.

Education Grants, The Dudley T. Dougherty Foundation

The Dudley T. Dougherty Foundation supports programs in arts, community, education, environment, health care, and peace. Recent awards were made to programs supporting high school music, leadership, and youth development.

Deadline: Applications are due October 31, 2022.

Store-Based Giving Grants

Ross Stores, Inc. Foundation provides support for youth-oriented programs and services that prepare today’s youth for a bright tomorrow. The foundation makes Store-Based Giving Grants in the areas of building academic achievement and life skills in economically disadvantaged youth.

Deadline: Applications are accepted year-round.

Social Emotional Learning and IT

What’s Social-Emotional Learning Got to Do with IT?

By Delaine Johnson and Mike Lawrence for EdTech Magazine

As educators, we wonder if the kids are OK. A Rave Mobile Safety survey of more than 400 K–12 employees, released in March, found that student mental health is top of mind for 61 percent of respondents.

And while we sometimes feel helpless, we must remember there are small steps that educators can take to help students manage some complex emotions.

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Most Popular Funding Opportunities Last Month

In the previous month, educators were looking for funding opportunities in the areas of technology equipment, environmental education, and library resources. Check out which grants GetEdFunding educators viewed the most in the month of August.

The Carnegie-Whitney Grant

The American Library Association Carnegie-Whitney Grant supports the preparation and publication of popular or scholarly print or electronic reading lists, indexes, and other guides to library resources that are useful to users of all types of American libraries. Proposals should promote reading or the use of library resources, have appeal and usefulness to a broad audience, and be intended for national distribution. 

Deadline: November 4, 2022.

Saxena Family Foundation Grants

The Saxena Family Foundation has a particular focus on initiatives that promote US science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and the empowerment of girls, female children, and young women so that they have equal rights later in life. The foundation focuses on empowerment programs to include economic, educational, and political empowerment of women through literacy programs, jobs, and life-skills training. Previous grantees have included schools, universities, and nonprofit organizations.

Deadline: Applications are accepted year-round.

Outdoor Education Grants

The James E. Dutton Foundation awards grants for projects that enhance human life through nature-related activities and education, and those that positively impact the environment, wildlife, and animal life. Proposals must specify how educational and other goals will be met and how a project aligns with the foundation’s mission. 

Deadline: Applications are due October 12, 2022.

Education Grants, Fluor Foundation

Fluor Foundation makes grants that support science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education in communities where the company operates. Priority is given to programs that inspire and prepare students to excel in STEM and are committed to developing the next-generation workforce, improving teacher effectiveness with emphasis on STEM student proficiency and persistence, and cultivating leadership skills in youth.

Deadline: Letters of Inquiry are accepted year-round.

Create Action Grants

The Sony Create Action program seeks grant applicants committed to serving their local communities in areas such as science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics; academic enrichment; workforce development; and nonprofit services for underserved and underrepresented groups.

Deadline: Applications are accepted monthly until the final deadline of March 31, 2023.

Anyone’s Game: K–12 Esports Opportunities Abound for Girls

In recent years, esports has become increasingly popular. Its audience increased by 38 million from 2019 to 2020, and it’s projected to reach more than 576 million by 2024.

Female participation in the sport, however, hasn’t quite mirrored that pace. Sixty percent of female gamers in the U.S. and U.K. say there’s a significant lack of women participating in esports; nearly as many feel the gaming community isn’t doing enough to encourage female participation in the sport.

Ashley Hodge, who now coaches a 45-student esports team at Dodge County High School in Georgia, previously oversaw a large esports program at another high school in the state. Out of more than 125 students on that team, only five were girls, she says.

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Most Popular Funding Opportunities Last Month

In the previous month, educators were looking for funding opportunities in the areas of STEM, underrepresented populations, and economic development. Check out which grants GetEdFunding educators viewed the most in the month of July.

Community Grant Program

The Foundation for Rural Service provides a variety of programs ranging from youth-based initiatives and educational materials to consumer awareness and rural economic development. The foundation aims to improve educational achievement in rural communities across the country with projects that will have a long-lasting effect on the community. 

Deadline: Applications are due August 31, 2022.

Education Grants – HDR Foundation

 The foundation has three priority areas of focus: education, healthy communities, and the environment. Under the category of education, the foundation supports projects that focus on architecture, engineering, design, environmental science, and consulting and planning.

Deadline: Letters of Intent for large grants are accepted August 1 through August 23, 2022.

Education and Youth Program Grants

The Hesed Foundation awards grants for the improvement of quality of life and strengthening of communities, with emphasis on support for underrepresented populations. Funding priorities are education and youth programs, as well as those related to health needs and community building.

Deadline: Applications are due September 30, annually.

Composting and Food Waste Reduction Pilot Project

The purpose of the Composting and Food Waste Reduction Pilot Project is to develop and test strategies for the planning and implementation of municipal compost and food waste reduction initiatives in rural, suburban, and urban communities throughout the United States and territories. Eligible activities are outlined in the program solicitation and include community and school gardens.

Deadline: Applications are due September 1, 2022.

Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Programs

The Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program encourages talented science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) majors and professionals to become kindergarten through grade 12 mathematics and science teachers. The program seeks creative and innovative proposals that address the critical need for recruiting and preparing highly effective kindergarten through grade 12 STEM teachers, especially in high-need Local Education Agencies (LEAs).

Deadline: Full proposals are due August 30, 2022.

Trends in K–12 Esports Arenas

School esports arenas are popping up across the country as competitive gaming teams grow in K–12 districts. Schools, administrators, and communities have begun to see the value esports provides to students and districts. As a result, district personnel who wish to start esports clubs are facing less pushback in making the case for these programs.

From school colors to shoutcasters, discover the popular elements in district esports spaces.

Most Popular Funding Opportunities Last Month

In the previous month, educators were looking for funding opportunities in the areas of STEM, the arts, and project-based learning. Check out which grants GetEdFunding educators viewed the most in the month of June.

Public Humanities Projects

The National Endowment for the Humanities supports projects that bring the ideas of the humanities to life for general audiences through public programming. Projects must engage humanities scholarship to analyze significant themes in disciplines such as history, literature, ethics, and art history. Projects that engage families, kindergarten through grade 12 students, underserved communities, and veterans are encouraged.

Deadline: Applications are due August 10, 2022.

Education Grants, Verizon Foundation

The Mockingbird Foundation, Inc. offers grants to public schools and nonprofit organizations to support projects in music education. The primary focus is on students, ages 18 and younger, with particular interest in projects that target underserved children. However, the foundation considers projects that benefit college students, teachers, instructors, or adult students. 

Deadline: Applications are accepted year-round.

Education Grants, Pentair and the Pentair Foundation

Pentair and the Pentair Foundation award Education Grants to support programming in communities where Pentair operates in the United States and worldwide. Funding emphasizes science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education, including related to water engineering, and other water education initiatives, such as water safety for underserved populations.

Deadline: Inquiries are accepted on a rolling basis; grant requests by invitation only.

Music Education Grants

The Mockingbird Foundation, Inc. offers grants to public schools and nonprofit organizations to support projects in music education. The primary focus is on students, ages 18 and younger, with particular interest in projects that target underserved children. However, the foundation considers projects that benefit college students, teachers, instructors, or adult students. 

Deadline: Initial inquiries are accepted from June 15 to January 15, annually.

Grants for Arts Projects (Formerly Art Works)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) support kindergarten through grade 12 public schools to improve the health of middle and high school students. Goals are to build the capacity of districts and schools to implement a variety of activities that reduce students’ risk for HIV, other STD infection, and related negative health outcomes.

Deadline: Applications are due April 1, 2023.


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