Some of the biggest names in tech have come together this week for the sake of schoolchildren all around the country. The Associated Press reports that Obama has made considerable progress on his mission to connect more American schools to the internet as Microsoft, Apple, Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and others have committed to pledging $750 million to his ConnectED plan. Their pledges will be in the form of cash donations, electronic devices and network services.
Obama’s ConnectED plan was unveiled last June, promising to “take the steps necessary to build high-speed digital connections to America’s schools and libraries, ensuring that 99 percent of American students can benefit from these advances in teaching and learning.” These commitments are perhaps the most significant progress since the plan was announced.
Microsoft VP of U.S. education Margo Day wrote on the official Microsoft Blog, stating that Microsoft would be answering the President’s call with a $1 billion response, made up of massive savings on a wide variety of Windows devices, technical training for students at high-risk schools and a $1 million cash donation to help cover the cost of certification exams. The AP report also notes that Apple will be “pledging $100 million in iPads, computers and other tools.”
As for the carriers, Verizon plans to “invest up to $100 million in cash and in-kind contributions in current and new initiatives, which will accelerate professional development for teachers on how to effectively use technology to boost student achievement in STEM.” AT&T and Sprint are both offering free interact access through their networks as well.
“This for us really isn’t about what Congress will or won’t do,” Rose Kirk, president of the Verizon Foundation, said in an interview. “It’s really about the kids. I believe it makes perfect sense that we use our technology, our resources, our insight to have an impact.”