Browse Tag: Professional Development

The Magic Beneath the Surface of EdTech

Editors Note: This blog was originally published on the VSTE blog and the Teaching4Tomorrow blog and has been reposted with permission. Get alerted about the next Teaching4Tomorrow blog post.

In many pursuits in life and learning, there are easy ways that cut corners and harder, but more rewarding, avenues to get to your desired destination. The world of edtech is no different, especially with the incredible pace at which technology evolves. I passionately recommend not moving away from a technology just because there is a new one available or without fully exploring the tool. Many times, the magic of edtech tools rest beneath the surface and are only discovered after users have had adequate time to explore, fail, learn, grow, discover, make connections, and collaborate. Simply because a technology isn’t the latest one released doesn’t mean it isn’t the best or just as capable as another. Likewise, if you have not given enough time for a tool to be explored completely, you may not know what is truly possible or the effect it could have on teaching, learning, or leading.

In the Land of G Suite

One area of prominent examples of the magic beneath the surface of edtech is within G Suite. Nearly every one of the apps that make up G Suite have an incredible amount of uses that you would never discover if the tool is only examined at the surface value. The power of the tools becomes apparent when you begin to peel back the outer layers. Two great examples are Google Chrome and Google Slides.

Google Chrome is, at its surface, just an internet browser. Like Microsoft Edge, Safari, or Firefox it will connect you to the vast amount of information and resources the internet holds. It will allow you to bookmark pages and even autofill forms and passwords for you. However, the magic beneath the surface is infinitely more powerful.

The first example of this is the ability to quickly change between Chrome users. This allows one to switch between work and personal accounts in seconds, each complete with their own separate bookmarks, saved autofill information, Google Drive, and more. Kasey Bell of Shake Up Learning explains the greatness of this feature quite well.

The second example of Chrome magic is found in the power of extensions installed via the Chrome Web Store. This store holds many free extensions that save time and enhance a user’s experience with Chrome. Countless added features and benefits can be found by adding in carefully selected and managed extensions (they do take system resources so choose wisely and manage with something like Extensity). Check out these blog posts all about Chrome Extensions and the magic they add to Chrome (Post 1Periodic Table of ExtensionsFor Struggling Students).

Whether you are teaching in person, virtually, or implementing blended learning, integrating photography in the classroom is accessible and adaptable for multiple subjects and grade levels. Based on our work with educators, below are five ways to use photography to effectively nurture empathy, challenge perspectives, and foster connection in students’ lives.

If you listen to the Google Teacher Tribe Podcast with hosts Kasey Bell and Matt Miller, you’ll know that Google Slides is the “Swiss army knife of G Suite” (Episodes). Without stretching the imagination too far, there are easily 50 uses for Google Slides that are not presentations. Some of these include social media templateseBooks/storybooksreview gamesanimationchoose-your-own adventure storiesbrainstorminginteractive notebooks, and even create an “app.” Trust me when I say this is barely checking into the magic beneath the surface of Google Slides…check these out for more: Control Alt AchieveDitch That TextbookShake Up LearningTeacher Tech, and All The Things You Didn’t Know Google Slides Could Do!

The Deep End of G Suite Magic Beneath the Surface
Thinking the above just isn’t enough Google awesomeness? I agree! Check out these additional resources to take an amazing look into the deep end of G Suite magic beneath the surface:


Written by Patrick B. Hausammann. Patrick is an Instructional Technology Resource Teacher in Clarke County Public Schools and was the recipient of a VSTE Tech Coach of the Year award at the 2018 Conference in Virginia Beach. Patrick describes himself as a perpetual optimist and believer in the power of a #growthmindset to #failfoward. He is the founder of UnisonEDU; Cofounder of #EdcampNSV; and a Google Certified Innovator, Trainer, Admin, and Educator 1 and 2. He can be found online at his website and as @PHausEDU on Twitter.View a recorded session on this topic.This VSTE blog has been reposted with permission. 

2021 Survey Results

New Survey Results from GetEdFunding

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, most educators who used GetEdFunding (GEF) found it an intuitively easy and effective way to supplement shoestring budgets for technology and other needs. During the pandemic, many of them found the funding opportunities provided by GEF even more relevant and accessed them even more frequently than before.

These were among the findings of a 2021 survey conducted among 64,000+ users of GetEdFunding.com, a vetted collection of thousands of relevant and innovative grants and awards sponsored by CDW-G, a leading provider of educational technology.

A total of 501 respondents from 46 U.S. states and the District of Columbia—a representative sample of the site’s users—answered the Zarca Interactive online survey between March 9 and April 30, 2021.

Grade levels for which participants are responsible span the education spectrum.  Distribution was close to even among K–12 grades, which comprised the bulk of respondents. In addition, 22 percent were connected with PreK and 18 percent with higher education—a six percentage point increase over the proportion in the most recent prior survey, conducted in 2019. Percentages are based on multiple responses to grade levels for which respondents are responsible.

Technology grants high on educators’ wish lists

More than a third of participants in the survey—36 percent—have job titles indicating likely interest in grants for technology purchases. These include educators directly involved in the grant process (writers, administrators and coordinators), technology administrators and staff (CIO/CTO, IT managers, technology integrationists, coordinators, directors, and support staff), as well as library/media specialists.

Twenty-eight percent say more than 25 percent of their technology budgets come from outside sources, such as grants, PTAs, local corporations and other sources.  Thus, technology needs are high on the list of subject/content areas for which users are most interested in getting grants:

  • STEM, 25 percent
  • Technology, 23 percent
  • Literacy, 17 percent
  • Career and college readiness, 12 percent
  • At-risk students’ education, 11 percent

Major new funding sources emerged not long before the survey was conducted: the $54.3 billion Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund II (ESSER II), made available as part of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021. After the survey began, billions of dollars more became available through the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ARP ESSER) and the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund III (HEERF III), also authorized under ARP.

Ninety-five percent of those surveyed anticipate using ESSER II funds. Number one in expected usage—voted on while the pandemic was in full force—is cleaning/sanitizing products, 46 percent. But technology-related categories are the next three: laptops, second at 41 percent of responses, followed by infrastructure to support remote learning, 40 percent, and Internet hotspots, 37 percent.

Users say GetEdFunding is easy, intuitive way to find grants

Sixty-two percent have applied for funding opportunities, and of those, 51 percent found those opportunities on GetEdFunding. And of those respondents, 56 percent received grants. Sixty-nine percent of users say GetEdFunding is an easy, very intuitive way to identify the kinds of grants they want.

Forty-seven percent of respondents have applied for six or more grants in their career. Ten percent have not sought grants. Their reasons for not applying include:

  • Lack of time, 39 percent—down 13 percentage points from the 2019 survey
  • Hard to identify appropriate opportunities, 38 percent
  • Often don’t find out about opportunities until it’s too late to apply, 33 percent
  • The grant application process is intimidating, 23 percent
  • We do not have personnel to undertake the grant writing process, 15 percent
  • Our school/district/campus budget suffices to meet any needs, 13 percent—up 10 percentage points from 2019.

Forty percent are with a school, district, campus or organization that has a grant writing specialist on staff or an individual who works with it to identify and prepare applications—up 11 percentage points from 2019.

But comments from the educators indicate a continued need for an easy, effective way to access grants such as those they can find on GetEdFunding:

“Typically, an individual applies on his own time. Not much support from a team.”

“I am a board member and so volunteer my time to grant writing. I am not a formal or educated grant writer, so it is all a learning process.”

“We can ask for assistance from the district grant specialist, but she rarely replies.”

On the other hand, some respondents seem to have access to clearly understood grant writing roles and procedures, enhancing their ability to use the kind of grant information GetEdFunding provides. A sample comment:

“1. A formal request for grant research, review, or development is made and approved by administration 2. Grant writer receives the request and reviews a grant program, researches grants, or develops a grant application 3. Grant writer completes the request and the administration decides next steps 4. Grant writer works with staff to develop grant applications 5. Grant application is submitted; if awarded, program staff manage the award.”

Top ways in which GetEdFunding users find out about the site are:

  • Referred by a friend or colleague, 24 percent
  • Search engine, 24 percent
  • Received an email, 16 percent

Relevancy rating of GEF newsletter soars to 90 percent

In addition, 56 percent of respondents get the GetEdFunding newsletter, and 63 percent of them say its length is “just right.” Of those who answered a question about grant opportunities featured in the newsletter, 90 percent rate them as relevant to extremely relevant, up from 75 percent in 2019. Thirty percent subscribe to the Discover GetEdFunding Blog, and 99 percent find its content relevant to extremely relevant, up from 92 percent in 2019.

Happy with their own GetEdFunding results, 71 percent of respondents are extremely or very likely to recommend the site to their colleagues:

  • Users have referred an average of one to three colleagues to GetEdFunding, while six percent have steered more than 16 to the site. 
  • Respondents have forwarded opportunities they found on the site to an average of one to three colleagues. Ten percent have referred such opportunities to more than 16 others.

Fifty percent say social media are very or extremely important to their work/professional life.  Of 12 social and professional networking websites listed, the top five with which respondents have an account are:

  • Facebook, 76 percent
  • LinkedIn, 62 percent
  • Instagram, 54 percent
  • Twitter, 51 percent
  • Pinterest, 48 percent

The order remains the same when users are asked which social networking service they would use for work/professional reasons if they could only use one. The leaders are:

  • Facebook, 27 percent
  • LinkedIn, 25 percent
  • Instagram, 11 percent

Sixty-three percent say they are very or extremely likely to use a social networking site in a typical week. The most popular purposes for using them are:

  • Exchange of information with peers, 54 percent
  • Professional networking, 45 percent
  • Personal professional development, 44 percent
Money in a jar

Why Grant Writing is an Important Process for Students and Teachers

I have been an educator for more than 30 years and taught all grades and subjects, including special education. I have worn many “hats” in my career, and each one is associated with a vast amount of paperwork. Yet I advocate for more paperwork and extra hours by adding another “hat”—the grant writer.

Continue Reading

November is National Scholarship Month

Scholarships provide excellent opportunities to continue your education, hone in on your skills, refine teaching abilities, achieve goals, and be successful. To celebrate National Scholarship Month in November, we encourage you to apply to at least one scholarship this month. We compiled a list of professional development scholarships for educators to help you get started. Continue Reading

Are you Ready to Develop Your Potential?

Many educators, principals, and decision makers view professional development and learning as a way to increase the skills needed to prepare students for the demands of the twenty-first century workforce. Professional development helps teachers improve educational practices and students’ academic performance. GetEdFunding offers a range of grants and awards for professional development. Here are a few ideas to get you started: Continue Reading

Educator Awards

Get Ready for Awards Season

Every year, schools, students, parents, colleagues, and friends acknowledge excellence in teaching by nominating outstanding educators to be honored for their work. The educational award season lasts the entire year, and it is time to start looking at this year’s awards. Here are suggestions to consider: Continue Reading

Most Popular Funding Opportunities Last Month

Most Popular Funding Opportunities Last Month

As the year winds down, educators discovered professional development scholarships; Rocketry competitions; and grants for conservation education, aeronautics, and classroom enrichment. Check out the grants GetEdFunding members viewed the most in the month of November. Continue Reading

STEM Education

5 Funding Opportunities for STEM Education

Bring high-quality science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning opportunities to your classroom. Check out these funding opportunities for STEM education. Continue Reading

Most Popular Funding Opportunities Last Month

Most Popular Funding Opportunities Last Month

Educators started the new year with a bang by discovering exciting funding opportunities. If you have a vision for the new year, now is the time to start searching for the funding that can make your dream a reality. Check out the grants GetEdFunding members viewed the most in the month of January. Continue Reading

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