Gongwer News Service – Ohio Report
Volume #83, Report #24 -- Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Education Notes: eText Pilot Grants Available; Digital Learning Day Observed; Study
Advocates Trauma Care In Schools ...
The Department of Education and Board of Regents have started accepting applications for part of
$6 million in grants to purchase digital text books.
The eTextbook Pilot program established in the budget (HB 59) will dole out $3 million each in fiscal
years 2014 and 2015 to schools to support the acquisition of digital textbooks, electronic educational
content and professional development and training resources.
The first set of grant awards will be made in late March, and both public and chartered, nonpublic
schools may apply, ODE said.
"This grant program is a firm step forward because it will help our efforts to achieve three things that
I consider crucial: placing more learning technology in Ohio classrooms, better connecting students
to the technology and information concepts they'll be using in the 21st century workplace and
making sure teachers truly have the skills they need to help our boys and girls learn and grow,"
Superintendent of Public Instruction Dick Ross said in a weekly e-newsletter.
All materials and training must be purchased through ilearnOhio and must align with Ohio's
academic content standards, according to BOR. Awards will be prioritized to proposals that explain
collaboration with business and industry partners to ensure content is relevant to the state's
workforce needs and/or initiatives meant to strengthen educator skills in certain areas.
The funding does not go directly to winning schools but instead is used to pay for the content or
professional development granted to them, BOR said.
Digital Learning Day: A variety of events were held in Ohio Wednesday to recognize innovative
teachers and application of digital learning in schools.
The national Digital Learning Day celebration was also recognized via a proclamation from Gov.
John Kasich designating Feb. 5 in honor of the event, according to the Board of Regents.
A video contest was among the events to bring attention to resources and activities supporting
educators, improving learning, and providing options for students to achieve. Students were invited
to demonstrate their creative gifts and technology aptitude in the statewide contest.
Other events held as part of Digital Learning Day included free interactive distance learning through
the Ohio Historical Society and a panel discussion on digital learning aired online and through
Trauma Care: The Children's Defense Fund-Ohio urged Ohio schools to institute trauma-informed
practices to help students who are exposed to violence, abuse, neglect, an accident or the loss of a
parent, among other negative experiences.
A new issue brief from the group explores the impact of trauma on children's mental, physical,
behavioral and emotional health and the outcomes that result, such as substance abuse, disease,
disability and social problems.
"Too many Ohio children are suffering because of circumstances beyond their control," Children's
Defense Fund-Ohio Executive Director RenukaMayadev said. "We must implement evidenced
based practices to identify and better serve our children, many of whom are coping with severe daily
trauma - homelessness, neighborhood gun violence, or a parent or guardian abusing alcohol or
The group suggests that school train staff to identify students who need intervention, which would
improve schools' ability to keep Ohio students in the classroom.
"School is often the only safe place for children, and recognizing trauma can reduce the need to
remove children from school for misbehavior," CDFO Policy Director Sarah Biehl said. "One school
principal in Washington saw an 85% drop in out-of-school suspensions after implementing a traumainformed approach to discipline."
ConnectED: President Barack Obama said progress has been made toward expanding high-speed
Internet connectivity and technology in classrooms though a more than $740 million commitment
from the private sector to provide devices, software, teacher training and home wireless connectivity.
Among the investment pledges are:
Apple -$100 million in iPads, MacBooks, and other products along with content and
professional development tools to support learning in disadvantaged schools.
AT&T -More than $100 million to provide middle-school students free Internet connectivity for
educational devices over their wireless network for three years.
Autodesk - $250 million by expanding the company's "Design the Future" program to be
available for free to every secondary school in the country.
Microsoft - Launching an affordability program open to all U.S. public schools by deeply
discounting the price of its Windows operating system.
O'Reilly Media - $100 million in education content and tools offered for free to every school
through a partnership with Safari Books Online.
Sprint - $100 million worth of free wireless service for up to 50,000 low-income high school
students over the next four years.
Verizon -Up to $100 million in cash and in-kind commitments through a multi-year program to
support the ConnectED vision.
Other support for the effort includes a $2 billion down-payment by the FCC's E-Rate program
to connect 20 million more students to next-generation broadband and wireless starting this
year, and more than $10 million in distance learning grants from the U.S. Department of