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Home » Policy & Funding » School Technology » Free Software

Free Software

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The following software programs are helpful for interpreting data in ways that help bring patterns and trends to light. Below you'll find important updates, tutorials, trainings, and frequently asked questions for software programs available to Washington state school districts, educators, and students.

Donors Choose

Donors Choose is a platform used to help schools collect materials. Public school teachers post requests for a classroom project — everything from pencils to video projectors, to musical instruments and much more. Citizen philanthropists browse these requests and donate to a project(s). Donors Choose then delivers the materials to the school.

SketchUp Pro

As of December 1st, 2021, the IP address approval requirement for all grant licenses will be removed. This change means that the educational grant licenses in your admin account can be applied freely. We encourage schools to continue utilizing the licenses until they expire at the beginning of July 2022. Since your license will no longer be protected by the IP address approval system, we ask that you continue to use discretion to ensure that they are not shared outside of qualifying schools in your territory.  

Since its launch in 2010, the Statewide License Grant program has been the primary channel of distribution for SketchUp Pro, a popular 3D modeling software. Teachers take advantage of this tool to visualize ideas, data, places, and objects to strengthen core curricula with realistic visualizations. 

With the launch of SketchUp for Schools, there’s now a K-12 specific product that is available free to schools without the need for software licensing. As a web app, SketchUp for Schools is compatible with Chromebooks and features built-in training tutorials and curriculum to help students and teachers quickly gain confidence and improve their 3D modeling skills.  

SketchUp Pro is not free for students who want to use the 3D software modeling tool at home. We recommend SketchUp Make, which is free and designed for home use. 

GIS Software

Free licenses are available for Washington state K-12 schools to use Geographic Information System (GIS) software for instructional purposes. Esri’s GIS software makes it possible to visualize, question and interpret data in ways that bring relationships, patterns and trends to light. Educators use this valuable software to help students understand geography, earth science, social studies, math, language arts and more. Learn more about the ConnectED initiative or sign up for your free account. 

Once you’ve downloaded GIS software, take it out for a test drive. We’ve compiled tutorials that demonstrate instruction basics, and data sets (boundaries, census, education, environmental, geographic and transportation) that you can use as instructional support.  

Emergency Connectivity Fund Support

The Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) is a $7.17 billion program that provides 100% funding to schools for connected devices, such as laptop or tablet computers, and/or broadband access for students and teachers during the pandemic. The ECF is funded by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.  

Interested in learning more? Please complete this quick Emergency Connectivity Fund questionnaire. If you have immediate questions or concerns, the State E-Rate Coordinator is available to assist you. Please contact Susan Tenkhoff

Data pulled from the first round of applications found that:  

  • 57% of Washington state school districts successfully applied for ECF funding 
  • 170K laptops/tablets were identified as being needed to support unmet needs 
  • 30K hotspots were identified as being needed to help close the digital learning gap for Washington kids 
  • $74M of eligible expenses were requested (eligibility based on FCC guidelines - approx. $94M total was requested) 

 

What is unmet need?  
The FCC intends ECF to be an emergency connectivity program to meet unmet needs, not an optimal 1:1 connectivity program. There will be other state funded grant opportunities (HB 1365) for 1:1 programs to continue to close the homework gap 

Is there assistance available?  
OSPI’s State E-Rate Coordinator, Susan Tenkhoff, is working in partnership with Educational Service Districts (ESDs) and the Procurement and Strategic Planning Lead, to assist districts to facilitate the ECF application process 

What support will be provided?  
Support will include assistance with strategic planning, providing resources to support data collection, and assisting with creating and submitting ECF applications 

What happens after the application is completed?  
Post ECF application support will include guidance on purchases to ensure alignment with agreements and funding requirements, collaboration with ESD staff in the successful delivery of goods and services in accordance with ECF rules, reimbursement requests, and training 

Can't find what you're looking for? Review a full list of Emergency Connectivity Fund Support Frequently Asked Questions

 
  • OSPI ECF Coordinator: continue to support districts with ECF application questions, assist with the post application procurement process, and paperwork requirements 
  • OSPI Educational Technology Department 
  • Digital Equity & Inclusion Program Supervisor: Collaborate with the ESD team and with other state agencies, and implement the HB 1365 Digital Equity & Inclusion Grants (1. Identify districts with unmet 1:1 device needs who were unable to apply for ECF funds. 2. Identify districts who requested above the eligible ECF expenses and have demonstrated support needs). 
  • Data & Strategic Planning Program Specialist: Collaborate with the ESD team and provide assistance with data collection, support districts with implementation and planning 
  • Educational Service Districts (ESDs) and the Association of Educational Service Districts (AESD) 
  • Educational Technology Lead (AESD): Provide guidance and leadership to the ESD team. Collaborate with the OSPI team 
  • Educational Technology Coordinators: Directly support districts with professional development and assist with procurement needs 
  • ESD Procurement Team: Leverage DES contracts to maximize savings for technology purchases