FCC To Launch $7.17 Billion Connectivity Fund Program

New Program Provides Funding to Schools and Libraries Critical to Closing the Homework Gap

WASHINGTON—The Federal Communications Commission unanimously adopted final rules to implement the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program. This $7.17 billion program, funded by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, will enable schools and libraries to purchase laptop and tablet computers, Wi-Fi hotspots, and broadband connectivity for students, school staff, and library patrons in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Far too often, students, teachers, and library patrons lack the access they need to broadband and connected devices. This need has become even more apparent during these unprecedented times,” said Jessica Rosenworcel, Acting Chairwoman of the FCC. “Between this Emergency Connectivity Fund Program and the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, we are investing more than $10 billion in American students and households. These investments will help more Americans access online education, healthcare, and employment resources. They will help close the Homework Gap for students nationwide and give so many more households the ability to connect, communicate, and more fully participate in modern life.”

The Report and Order adopted today establishes the rules and policies governing the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program. The new rules define eligible equipment and services, service locations, eligible uses, and reasonable support amounts for funding provided. It designates the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) as the program administrator with FCC oversight, and leverages the processes and structures used in the ERate program for the benefit of schools and libraries already familiar with the E-Rate program. It also adopts procedures to protect the limited funding from waste, fraud, and abuse.

Recent estimates suggest there may be as many as 17 million children struggling without the broadband access they need for remote learning. The Acting Chairwoman has long made closing the Homework Gap a priority during her tenure at the Commission.

— Source: Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
Top photo: GettyImages


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http://www.tabletsforteens.org

Amazon Announces All-New Fire HD 8 Tablets for the Entire Family

Select here for exciting civilian careers in Tech or Cyber with the Department of the Air Force!

SEATTLE —  Amazon today announced the next generation of its Fire HD 8 tablet lineup, designed with the entire family in mind: the all-new Fire HD 8, Fire HD 8 Plus, and Fire HD 8 Kids Edition.

All-New Fire HD 8 Kids Edition: Built from the Ground-Up for Kids

The all-new Fire HD 8 Kids Edition includes the Fire HD 8 tablet with an 8” HD display, 32GB of storage with up to 1TB of expandable storage via microSD, up to 12 hours of mixed-use battery life, and USB-C for reversible charging. It also comes bundled with a kid-proof case with a new adjustable stand in blue, pink, or purple, a two-year worry-free guarantee, and a year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited—all for $139.99.

amazon-tablets_Fire_HD_8_All_ColorsWith Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, kids can enjoy over 20,000 premium, age-appropriate books, Audible books, educational apps, games, and videos on their Fire HD 8 Kids Edition, including new and popular titles such as Pinkfong Baby Shark, Sonic Dash, Descendants Junior Novel, and Barbie Dreamtopia from brands like Smartstudy, PBS KIDS, SEGA, and Mattel. Kids can also enjoy over 2,000 Spanish language titles, like Pinkfong! Car Songs, Plaza Sesamo, National Geographic Readers: Los Tiburones (Sharks), and Los Sentidos de Los Insectos.

Within FreeTime, kids can easily discover over 1,500 educational titles organized by core curriculum and extracurricular topics, such as math, science, exercise, art, and virtual field trips. In addition, for a limited time, families will also have access to additional premium content from HOMER and PBS Kids within FreeTime Unlimited. All of the FreeTime Unlimited content is kid-friendly and hand-selected by the Amazon FreeTime team with new titles added regularly.

“Over 20 million kids (and their parents) have enjoyed the award-winning Amazon FreeTime service and we’re excited to make it even better with new educational content that helps to keep kids learning and entertained,” said Kurt Beidler, Director of Kids and Family, Amazon. “The all-new Fire HD 8 Kids Edition is built from the ground up to offer the FreeTime Unlimited content kids love and the parental controls parents trust—all wrapped in a colorful kid-proof case with a two-year worry-free guarantee.”

Fire HD 8 Kids Edition comes with access to award-winning parental controls that encourage learning before play. With FreeTime, parents can manage their child’s FreeTime settings, such as the ability to set daily goals, age filters, and time limits for both weekdays and weekends. Parents can also use parental controls to choose what content kids can access and to add more content. These settings can be managed on the device or parents can visit Amazon’s Parent Dashboard to view daily activity reports and easily adjust their child’s FreeTime settings from any web browser, whether they’re on a mobile device or computer.

Availability

The all-new Fire HD 8 Kids Edition is available for pre-order now, starting at $139.99 at and will begin shipping next month on June 3. As an introductory offer, BDPA Members and Amazon customers who purchase two Fire HD 8 Kids Edition tablets together will receive a 25% discount.  Free subscriptions end after the first year; however, they can be used on any compatible device, including Fire tablets, Fire TV, Kindle, Echo, iOS, Chrome OS, and Android devices.

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Tablets For Teens

To help local communities in advance of our next school year, discover more by partnering with local BDPA Chapters or visiting tabletsforteens.org.

“I.T.’s” happening!

— Sources: Amazon and BDPA

 

 


Register now! BDPA2020 | bdpa2020.com

A Miracle out of Mayhem: 51,000 parents and children in Detroit get laptops and free Internet access

DETROIT, MI (NAACP Detroit) – Today it was announced that 51,000 Detroit school children and their parents will have access to laptops and the internet. A few weeks ago, this was only a thought in the minds of a few very dedicated people. Now children all around this city, regardless of economic, social or racial status will become more knowledgeable, more prepared, and more confident in their future.

Partners in this effort are the Detroit Branch NAACP, DTE Energy, DPSCD, Quicken Loans, The Skillman Foundation, City of Detroit, General Motors, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Every now and then, one gets the opportunity to do something much bigger which will last much longer than even they themselves. This is the historic moment. It is a kairos moment (when God has placed a special opportunity) to bless Detroit to come together to create order out of chaos. It has been said, “it is only during a storm that a tree knows how strong it is” Matshona Dhliwayo. Today, we are discovering how strong we can be as a people when we come together as a village. It is hard to believe that what started off as an idea, a suggestion, even a challenge has now evolved into a reality. This truly is the stuff of which dreams are made.

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51,000 Detroit school children and their parents will have access to laptops and the internet. A few weeks ago, this was only a thought in the minds of a few very dedicated people. Now children all around this city, regardless of economic, social or racial status will become more knowledgeable, more prepared, and more confident in their future. Education and information will be brought live and in living color directly into their homes. Detroit will become a national model of what can be done in various communities if the people have a mind to get it done.

It is appropriate and inspiring that the model begin in the city of Detroit. We continue to be a city of firsts. From the auto industry to the music industry, whether its labor or religion, we take a back seat to no one in creativity and innovation. As a community advocate and a person of faith, I do believe in miracles. The ability to raise nearly $20 million dollars in such a short time to have an impact for such a long time is indeed miraculous. This is one sure way of defeating COVID-19. The disease may have taken our bodies, but it can never take the spirit out of Detroit. I want to thank every company, every business, every foundation, the Mayor, and each person that has made this initiative possible.

hscc_conf09-HSCCstudents-2I say to the other companies, firms and foundations that are viewing this progress, now is the time for you to log in with us. Let’s make history together. It is historic because it has never been done before. The children of our city need you. If ever you wondered what you should do, just hook up to the Connected Futures and see all the good that you can do. May God bless you and the children, educators, parents, IT professionals and other staff that will lead us into the future.

– Statement by Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony, President, Detroit Branch NAACP
Cover photo: Detroit Branch NAACP
Coding Competition photos: ©National BDPA and BDPA Detroit

BDPA Chapters may directly receive new tablets, laptops, Raspberry Pi PC kits, software, mobile hotspots, and cash donations locally or via BDPA Education and Technology Foundation (BETF.org) to reduce digital divide challenges.

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D.C. Mayor Delivers a $4.6 Million Technology Investment with 16,400 Devices to Students

#BDPA2020 | bdpa2020.com

WASHINGTON – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser and DC Public Schools (DCPS) began delivering more than 16,400 technology devices to students across all eight wards as a part of the Empowered Learner’s Initiative. The initiative is a comprehensive three-year commitment by Mayor Bowser to close the digital divide and empower DCPS students through access to state-of-the-art technology.

“Last year, our community made clear that they wanted us to invest more in technology in our schools – and we answered that call with a $4.6 million investment in new devices for our young learners,” said Mayor Bowser. “But this investment isn’t just about buying devices – it’s about ensuring our students and teachers have the programs and resources they need to help us close the digital divide in Washington, DC.”

Last year, Mayor Bowser made an initial $4.6 million investment in technology to provide every student in grades 3, 6, and 9 with a device to use at school, and students in all other grades will have a 3:1 student-to-device ratio in the classroom. After ensuring schools had the necessary technology infrastructure and providing professional development to educators, classrooms are receiving the Microsoft Surface Go to enhance teaching and learning.

dc-tablets-farabee2020“DCPS is excited to begin delivering on our commitment to close the digital divide and empower students across the district in innovative ways,” said DC Public Schools Chancellor Lewis D. Ferebee (above left, with students). “This year, students in grades 3, 6, and 9 will receive Microsoft Surface Go’s that will enhance their learning experience and advance college and career success. I thank Mayor Bowser for her investment in the Empowered Learner’s initiative and look forward to providing even more students with access to state-of-the-art technology over the next three years.”

After students and educators tested the Microsoft Surface Go, it was selected for its agility, durability, and long-battery life. The Surface Go has a world-facing camera for video and photography, and an inking stylus for drawing and writing.

Since the beginning of the school year, teachers, technology specialists, and operations staff engaged in professional development focused on this new technology. Students are receiving digital citizenship lessons, published by Common Sense Media, to make safe and responsible decisions online.

“We want to ensure the new technology provides the best experience for students and have been testing and optimizing to make that a reality,” said DC Chief Technology Officer Lindsey Parker. “Nearly 50 technicians are trained and ready to support students and teachers the moment the devices enter the classroom and students log-in.”

Tablets For TeensThe devices will stay in the classroom so teachers can continue to use the technology to enhance their instruction. Families can expect to see their third grade students using the devices to apply the math skills they learn to control Sphero robots; high school students enrolled in credit recovery can have full access to digital resources and assessment that will help them master the course content; and teachers can provide personalized strategies to meet every student’s individual needs through both in-person and digital instruction.

Next fiscal year, Mayor Bowser plans to make another multimillion dollar investment in technology to provide a device for every student in grades 4, 7, and 10. To learn more about the devices, families can visit the District’s Empowered Learners Initiative website.

Source and photo: Office of the Mayor
Cover photo courtesy: Debbie Truong

* Resources for DCPS parents, teachers, and students are linked here.


** Related articles on BDPA-DC’s Tablets For Teens or National BDPA’s Mobile App Showcase programs are linked here.


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Let’s Talk STEM

TOWSON, MD — The Fisher College of Science and Mathematics, home to a variety of programs especially designed for Towson University students studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and STEM education, hosted this semester’s panel — Let’s Talk STEM.

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Ted Smith III of MITRE (left) talks about life at Towson while he was a student and his current role designing multiple mobile apps using native code and cross platform frameworks such as MeteorJS and React Native.  — photo © 2019 bdpatoday

BDPA and NSBE student members were invited to participate with industry professionals from various STEM disciplines including biology, chemistry, math, computer science, information technology, and forensic chemistry.

Towson also offers Bridges Programs which aim to promote the participation of underrepresented minority students in biomedical research with the goal of changing the face of the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) workforce.

The Bridges to the Baccalaureate (B2B) Program supports students at Baltimore City Community College (BCCC) and the Community College of Baltimore County as they complete their associate’s degree and transfer to a four-year institution to complete their Bachelor of Science degree in a STEM field.

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Dr. David Vanko, Dean of Fisher College of Science and Mathematics (left), speaks with Dave Lockhart, Manager of Army Programs in Aberdeen, MD for The Boeing Company.  —  photo © 2019 bdpatoday

In collaboration with the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM), the Bridges to the Doctorate (B2D) Program provides mentoring and training to students as they earn their Master of Science in biology at Towson University and ultimately “bridge” to a doctoral program at UMSOM or elsewhere.


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iSummit19 | Select here to reserve seating during 2019 Regional Innovation Summit

2016 National Mobile App Showcase Winners Announced

Developers, Mentors, Judges,
and Student Invitations now open
for 2017’s AppDev Season

ATLANTA, GA (bdpatoday)—National BDPA announces 2016 winners of its annual National Mobile App Showcase competitions. Approved Mobile App Showcase projects submitted this year were assessed by a panel of industry judges and partners during BDPAConnect16.

Monetary awards  powered by State Farm Insurance were given to the top Android and iOS collegiate and high school developers. This year’s winners include:

  • Kareem Dasilva
    First Place Collegiate | $7500
    University of Memphis
    Sponsored by National BDPA’s Middle Tennessee Chapter
  • Michael Brown
    Second Place Collegiate
    Jackson State University
    Sponsored by National BDPA’s Central Illinois Chapter
  • Mayesha Awal
    First Place High School Mobile App Showcase |  $3500
    Georgetown University (entering Fall 2016)
    Sponsored by National BDPA’s Indianapolis Chapter
  • Justin Rice
    Second Place High School
    Sponsored by National BDPA’s Indianapolis Chapter

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About National BDPA Mobile App Showcase
The National BDPA Mobile App Showcase, powered by McDonald’s, State Farm Insurance, and WWT (World Wide Technology, Inc.), allows student application developers an opportunity to participate in a competition to test their talents against their peers while developing a working, functional mobile application. Applications showcased represent three primary AppDev competition categories (business, personal productivity, and gaming). Each category has stringent requirements that must be met well in advance of regional and national  showcases.

College and high school students had the opportunity to participate in this 2-day event in conjunction with the 2016 National BDPA Technology Conference recently held in Atlanta, GA. The focus of this event included development on Android  and iOS smartphone operating systems.

Student Requirements
In order to participate in the Mobile App Showcase, students must complete the requirements below. The mobile application trainers and mentors will work with each student to help them develop their project. This team will make the final recommendation on the student’s participation after their application is completed, verification with their chapter and a brief project charter is submitted. High school and college students are eligible to apply.

  • Must be a high school or full-time undergraduate college student
    (maximum age of 25)
  • Complete National BDPA’s online Mobile App Showcase registration form stating one’s interest to participate in the program
  • Once contacted by National BDPA’s Mobile Application Showcase program, student members submit project charters outlining which type of applications are to be developed (usually a one [1] page single spaced project charter document)
  • Each participant must be sponsored by their respective local BDPA Chapter in order to participate in the Mobile App Showcase, students must complete the showcase’s program requirements.

Mobile application coaches, trainers, and mentors work with each student member participant to help them develop their project. This leadership team makes final recommendations on the student’s participation after their applications are completed. Verification and validation with sponsoring BDPA Chapters accompany above listed project charters with official submissions.

All high school and college students are eligible, are encouraged to join a local BDPA Chapter (BDPA.org), and apply to participate in 2017’s  Mobile App Showcase. Sponsors and mission partners may email corpsales@bdpa.org and fedsales@bdpadc.org to actively participate with Mobile App Showcase student members and BDPA’s  AppDev interns.

To receive additional information or prepare for 2017 Regional and National Mobile App Showcase and related AppDev competitions, select here to read more …

Source: National BDPA
BDPA photo by Charlie Perkins
Cover photo by bdpatoday
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