Be Connected: Hacked, Attacked, and Pwned – Oh My!

This week on Be Connected, we’ll jump headlong into one of the chief concerns for all digitally-connected organizations (including schools) today – the threat of being hacked. In particular, we’ll look at the website www.haveibeenpwned.com and discuss how students and staff alike can use it to discover if their personal credentials have ever been hacked and dumped in a documented data breach.

Be Connected is a weekly webinar series from the LTC focused on facilitating open discussions about pertinent topics within Illinois’ edtech community. Hosted by the LTC’s Chris Wherley and Eric Muckensturm, each session will focus on a specific topic and provide space for participants to ask and answer questions in a relaxed, supportive environment.

Each week will feature a different core topic and a fresh opportunity to connect with your peers. So, be sure to check the LTC events calendar routinely so that you can join in the discussion and Be Connected.

Be Connected: NetRef Internet Bandwidth Report

Ensuring digital equity in our schools first requires knowing exactly what capabilities your institution does and does not possess. Join the LTC’s Chris Wherley as we discuss NetRef’s Internet Bandwidth Report, one of the best available resources for appraising your district’s digital capacity. NetRef’s Internet Bandwidth Report offers a detailed look at how your students are using the internet and allows you to allocate your resources based upon current standards and best practices for digital resource utilization.

Be Connected is a weekly webinar series from the LTC focused on facilitating open discussions about pertinent topics within Illinois’ edtech community. Hosted by the LTC’s Chris Wherley and Eric Muckensturm, each session will focus on a specific topic and provide space for participants to ask and answer questions in a relaxed, supportive environment.

Each week will feature a different core topic and a fresh opportunity to connect with your peers. So, be sure to check the LTC events calendar routinely so that you can join in the discussion and Be Connected.

Navigating Copyright and Fair Use as an Educator

Copyright, fair use, public domain – these are all terms that may sound familiar to you as an educator. Even without a lot of training on the subject, most educators today know that these terms relate to how original works (including movies, music, books, and photos) are shared and distributed – or more specifically, who is allowed to share those works and in what context.

Along the same lines, it’s a common misconception that educators are broadly permitted to utilize copyrighted materials in the classroom, so long as their use is educational in nature. The truth, however, is more nuanced – especially as digital learning management systems (LMS) become more common in today’s schools.

As such, there’s never been a better time to brush up on key elements of US copyright law as it applies to educators and educational institutions. With this knowledge, you’ll be better able to ensure that you are staying within the letter of the law while also modeling legally-complainant practices for all of your students going forward.

Note: All information included in this guide is based upon publicly-available interpretations of current US copyright law. Examples and interpretations presented herein should not be taken as definitive or be construed as legal advice. Readers should always consult with their institution’s legal counsel when seeking further information on copyright issues.

Common Terms

Before getting too far in, it’s important to understand common terminology surrounding copyright and fair use. Here are just a few of the most important terms you, as an educator, need to know:

Copyright

Under US law, creators of all kinds are entitled to special protections when it comes to the distribution of their work. This is called “copyright” and in most cases, it extends throughout the life of the work’s creator plus an additional 70 years.

If the copyright is not renewed before that expiration date, the work enters what is called the “public domain” (see below). This includes works that are still regularly published. For example, on January 1, 2021, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s widely-taught classic The Great Gatsby entered the public domain.

Copyright does not apply to all published materials, however. Established facts, government documents, and some printed maps are not covered by copyright, for example. There are also some middle-ground cases where special care and attention should be paid. This includes newspaper reports, which are typically copyrighted by their publisher, even though facts presented in that story are not eligible for copyright protections.

Copyright Exceptions

At their core, copyrights exist to protect creators of original works while encouraging those same creators and others to similarly create more new works. These rights are not absolute, however, and several important exceptions exist. The most important, as it applies to schools and the educational process, is the educational exception.

In essence, US copyright law states that “teachers and students have certain rights to publicly display and perform copyrighted works in the classroom” (Section 110 of U.S. Copyright Law). These uses are considered “fair use” (see below), meaning that the participating students, teachers, or educational institution cannot be held liable for utilizing a copyrighted work in a manner that would ordinarily be illegal.

This educational exception also does not apply to all educational institutions. US copyright law specifically dictates that this exception applies only to nonprofit institutions (which is to say, most public schools).

Other Exceptions

Another noteworthy exception that may come into play in a school setting is the parody exception. This legal carveout allows individuals to substantively reuse key elements (such as the characters or plot) from a copyrighted work if they are parodying it. As a result, students may be allowed to utilize portions of copyrighted materials in their own work if they are analyzing that material in a comedic or critical manner.

In the US, this exception is also applied to certain kinds of transformative works. For example, fan-made fiction writing, or fanfiction for short, is legal in the US, even if it utilizes characters, plots, and other defining elements from a copyrighted work. Typically, though, this exception is only permissible if the fanfiction creator is not profiting off of their derivative work.

Fair Use

As stated in “Copyright Exceptions” above, US copyright law allows for several special cases in which a copyrighted work may be utilized or distributed for certain productive purposes (namely, education). As a whole, these exceptional uses are called “fair use.” This means that copyright permissions need not be sought in advance, so long as certain criteria for fair use are met.

Based upon established case law, here are the four factors that educators should take into account while striving to determine if their specific situation qualifies as “fair use”:

Fair use criteriaApplicable situation
1.Purpose and character of useCommercial purposes are rarely considered fair use, while educational uses are more likely to be viewed as fair use. All educational uses are not fair use by default, however.
2.Nature of the copyrighted workFactual works (such as a government report) are more likely to obtain fair use clearance compared to a creative or artistic work (such as a novel or piece of music).
3.Amount and significance of the portion used (in relation to the entire work)Smaller, purposely-selected portions of a copyrighted work are more likely to be considered fair use compared to larger, broader selections of the same work.
4.Effect of use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work Limiting physical distribution of a copyrighted work to a non-market audience (such as a class of students) is more likely to be treated as fair use compared to posting the same resource online.

Fair use standards are intentionally broad and flexible. As a result, both students and teachers should always err on the side of caution if they believe their use of a resource would not qualify as fair use.

Public Domain

Under US law, a work in the “public domain” is any work that is not covered by any legal means of intellectual property protection, including copyright, trademark, or patent laws. As a result, the general public is said to “own” these works, rather than a specific creator or author. In turn, the public is allowed to use, distribute, adapt, and transform these works without needing to ask explicit permission from the owner.

There are four common ways a work can enter the public domain:

  • Copyright expiration (see “Copyright” above)
  • Failure to renew copyright
  • Deliberate release into the public domain (or in other words, forgoing copyright)
  • Creating a work that is not eligible for copyright (or other intellectual property protection) from the onset

Well-known examples of current public domain works include:

  • All of William Shakespeare’s sonnets and plays
  • NASA photos (and all other documents produced by the US government and its constituent agencies)
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • The Bible
  • The Star-Spangled Banner (both the lyrics and the music)

Creative Commons

While searching through publicly-available education resources (particularly online), you may run into a fairly new term – Creative Commons. “Creative Commons” is an innovative type of licensing that allows an individual to specify how they’ll permit others to use their creative works. In the process, the creator does not give up their inherent copyright; instead, they refine it using a widely-recognized licensing system that is honored both professionally and legally.

Creative Commons licenses are readily available for free through the Creative Commons organization. When registering a Creative Commons license with them, individuals (including educators) can require any or all of the following criteria when others utilize or share their original work:

  • Attribution – Requires those who share or utilize the work to give explicit credit to the creator
  • ShareAlike – Requires those who share or utilize the work to apply the same licensing criteria to their derivative work
  • Non-Commercial – Prevents those utilizing or sharing a licensed work from doing so for commercial purposes. In other words, they cannot profit from any work that utilizes the licensed work in whole or part

Recommendations for Sharing with Students

Within the education sphere, educators are most likely to run into questions about copyright and fair use when it comes to sharing materials with their students. Though legal consequences for copyright infractions are not likely, it is still important for teachers to keep copyright best practices in mind, whether they are sharing a single copy or many, both online and in print.

Accordingly, here are a few recommendations that teachers of all grade levels and subject areas can use to keep them on the right track toward certifiable fair use:

When Making Multiple Copies

When making multiple print or digital copies of an article, book chapter, or other print segment for educational use, always ensure that there is a clear connection between the chosen text segment and your stated pedagogical purposes. This can often be done during the lesson-planning process.

Next, always ensure that your chosen text segment is only as long as necessary as your pedagogical goals require. In other words, make sure that your segment is tailored such that it focuses only on the parts you need to communicate your lesson goals.

When pertinent, include a full list of attributions on each copy of the copyrighted work. This list should, to a reasonable extent, be scholarly satisfactory for the level you are teaching.

Finally, when sharing a copyrighted resource online, always limit access to that online resource as much as possible. For example, you can either limit access only to classroom members or make the resource inaccessible to anyone after the conclusion of the relevant course. In either case, your institution’s LMS can provide system-level options for adhering to this particular recommendation.

Recommendations for Sharing with Peers and Colleagues

Within professional learning networks and in the education community at large, it is common and accepted that educators share resources with one another – often at no cost. However, even if a fellow educator isn’t requiring you to pay for the use of their lesson plans or teaching material, it is still a best practice to include attributions in your records. That way, if your lesson plan is shared with your peers, they’ll know where the original idea came from.

When Making a Single Copy

Teachers are generally permitted to make single copies of larger copyrighted works, so long as it is for their exclusive educational use. For example, chapters from a book, charts or diagrams from a periodical, and short stories and poems may be copied for fair use teaching purposes.

However, so-called “consumable” works – including workbooks and standardized tests – may not be copied in this manner. Instead, teachers who wish to reuse these resources must obtain new copies each time they wish to utilize them.

Utilizing Cooperative Resource Marketplaces and Platforms

Today, many teachers utilize education resource marketplaces, such as Teachers Pay Teachers. These platforms allow educators to exchange instructional materials and access ready-made digital tools for a reasonable price, both for buyers and sellers. As a result, these platforms are a great place for teachers to find innovative lesson materials that build on the work of their peers across the country and the world.

However, teachers should be fully aware that copyright laws still apply when buying and selling on this type of platform – despite the fact that it is set within the education sphere. In fact, because these platforms allow individuals to profit from what they share, users must take special care to only share materials which they have wholly created or to provide proper attribution to other creators whose work was referenced or derived in their own work.

Often, educators on these platforms utilize Creative Commons licensing, which encourages broader collaboration and dissemination of creative works. If you sell materials on these platforms that utilize a Creative Commons license, you must be sure to follow said license’s specific criteria (particularly if it forbids commercial use of the original work).

Along the same lines, educators who utilize resources from these online marketplaces should not claim the copyrighted material as their own – even if changes or modifications are made. Always ensure that the original creator’s name remains affixed to the resource, including all lesson plans or lesson materials. That way, if one of your peers in your department wishes to utilize those plans or materials, the original creator will still receive their due credit.

To learn more about how Teachers Pay Teachers handles copyright and trademark issues, visit their policies page.

New and Forthcoming Copyright Considerations

Even before the switch to wide-spread digital learning in early 2020, many schools were already laying the groundwork for online learning through the implementation of a learning management system (LMS). Now that LMS use is becoming commonplace, schools and educators must take into account current laws pertaining to digital distribution of copyrighted materials.

Namely, educators should familiarize themselves with the TEACH Act, a piece of federal legislation passed in 2002. This law makes special provisions for the limited use of copyrighted works during online and distance learning. However, fair use standards in this context differ from their traditional counterparts.

If you’re interested in learning more about the TEACH Act and its implications for sharing copyrighted materials on your institution’s LMS, check out this concise resource from the University of California.

The Bottom Line on Copyright and Fair Use

At the end of the day, copyright and fair use may not be a front-of-mind issue for all educators. Even so, it is important that you know and understand these laws to prevent you or your institution from being placed in legal peril.

At the same time, adhering to copyright law is the ethical thing to do, regardless of whether or not you think you will get caught. In many ways, your choice to actively follow copyright laws can help model similarly ethical behaviors for your students, especially when it comes to citing their work. In turn, these behaviors can help your students flourish into productive digital citizens who respect the rights of creators and seek out those same protections for their own original work.

Resources and Further Reading

There’s even more to learn about navigating copyright and fair use in the education sphere. Here are more resources to further your understanding of this important topic:

Common Sense Education – Creativity, Copyright and Fair Use

University of California – Copyright in the Classroom

Connect Safely – The Educator’s Guide to Creativity & Copyright

Edutopia – A Teacher’s Guide to Copyright and Fair Use

American Library Association Fair Use Evaluator

An Introduction to the Structure and Procedure of Creative Commons

Creative Commons – License Types, Purposes, and Provisions

A Special Thank You

A special “thank you” to Renee Bogacz (@mrsbogacz) of Channahon School District 17 for her contributions to this guide. Her insights ensured that this guide’s recommendations and terminology were well-aligned to the needs and views of today’s educators.

Professional Learning Services

Professional Learning Services

Interested in Custom Professional Learning?

Let us work with your organization to determine your needs and provide your audience with the cutting-edge EdTech professional learning they require to prepare our students for tomorrow.

Contact the LTC →

The State Leader in EdTech Professional Learning

A significant part of the LTC’s mission is to provide forward-thinking, impactful, technology-related professional learning to all Illinois school districts, schools, educators, and school personnel. Our regional services teams and subject matter experts provided 750+ professional learning events to 24,000 participants during the 2020-21 school year. All of our professional learning events are customizable to meet the unique needs of the target audience, and we frequently work with whole counties, district, school, and school-level teams. 

We are committed to providing the highest quality professional learning experiences possible. We utilize knowledgeable presenters and facilitators with extensive and diverse EdTech expertise. Presenters range from our own highly-trained and experienced LTC staff members to local and national practicing educators and experts. And since the LTC is an Illinois State Board of Education program, our professional learning programs are free or low cost to Illinois school districts.

Common Types of Professional Learning Experiences:

  • In-Person and Virtual Workshop
  • In-Person and Virtual Networking Events
  • Sessions at State Conferences
  • Summits and Conferences
  • Online Courses and Microcredentials
  • Webinars
  • Year-Long Professional Learning Series and Capacity Building Programs
  • Informational Presentations (Board Meetings, Parent Nights, etc.)
  • Customized Professional Learning Experiences

Our Focus Areas

Digital Learning Models

The approach to teaching and learning at a classroom, building, or district level.

  1. Technology Frameworks & Paradigms
  2. Virtual, Remote, and Blended Learning
  3. Technology-Enhanced Personalized Learning

Digital Teaching & Learning

The application of technology in education.

  1. Technology in the Content Areas
  2. Digital Citizenship
  3. Computer Science and Computational Thinking
  4. Creation and Creativity
  5. Emerging Technologies and Trends

Digital-Age Leadership & Capacity Building

Planning and leadership development.

  1. Leadership
  2. Technology Planning and Evaluation
  3. Technology Funding and Access
  4. Instructional Technology Coaching Practices and Models

Digital Tools, Apps, & Resources

Focused on specific tools and resources.

  1. Platforms: Apple, Google, Microsoft.
  2. Other Digital Tools, Apps, and Resources
  3. Open Education Resources

Technology Leadership & Support

Supporting technology leaders.

  1. Data Privacy
  2. Cybersecurity
  3. Information Technology Management
  4. Purchasing

Online Catalog of Example Topics

Administrator Academies

  • Connected Leaders: Leveraging the Power of Social Networks for Professional Growth

    This course will provide the knowledge and skills required to become connected leaders by focusing on multiple social media platforms (Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, etc.) and productive face-to-face networking opportunities (EdCamps, PLNs, etc.) to help them leverage the power of social networks for professional learning and community engagement.

    Duration: 6 hours

  • Growing a Culture for Effective Technology Coaching: The Principal-Coach Partnership

    This six-week online session will explore these topics and provide specific strategies to create and/or strengthen the technology coach/principal partnership, and ultimately, the coaching program. Three times during the course, participants will meet in a 60-minute synchronous video conference.

    Duration: 6 hours

Workshops

  • A Design Thinking Approach to Education

    By the time our students enter the working world, the technology that we teach them today will more than likely be obsolete. How then, can we best prepare them for the workplace that they will encounter? The answer lies in two concepts that will never become obsolete: innovation and creativity. The Design Thinking framework gives us the ability to develop a creative problem-solving mindset when looking at situations. This framework can be brought into our classrooms to create an atmosphere that focuses on collaboration, research, and creativity. Participants in this workshop will engage in a deep dive into the Design Thinking framework while completing hands-on challenges. We will also dedicate time to discuss and work through ways it can be implemented in the classroom.

    Duration: 3 hours or 6 hours

  • Breakout EDU

    Learn about this team building, critical thinking hot topic! Participants will experience a “breakout”, see where they can find free games and learn tips and tricks for managing this at all levels from kindergarten through adult!

    Duration: 3 hours

  • Creating Multimedia with the Chromebook

    Unlock the creative potential of the Chromebook and move beyond using the device for word processing, productivity, and organization. The session will explore the creative potential of the Chromebook to give your students the ability to craft amazing multimedia masterpieces! Participants will explore various apps, web tools and extensions available for students to create multimedia such as interactive images, video, and audio. In addition, learning strategies and thoughtful approaches to Chromebook creation will be woven throughout.

    Duration: 3 hours or 6 hours

  • Creating Video in the Classroom

    As more and more devices enter into our classrooms, teachers are presented with an opportunity to expand the way students are able to demonstrate their learning. Traditionally, teachers opt for written work or have students stand in the front of the room to present on a topic. Now, with all of the technology currently available to students, alternate ways of presenting knowledge are readily available. Video creation and screencasting can be powerful alternatives to traditional ways students demonstrate their thinking and understanding in the classroom. In this workshop, participants will be presented with the benefits of student-created videos, the steps to take when implementing a short video project with students, and the tools for creating those amazing videos using mobile devices, Chromebooks, and laptops.

    Duration: 3 hours

  • Diving Into Google Classroom

    In this workshop, participants will learn the ins and outs of Google Classroom and best practices for integrating this amazing tool with their students! In this session, we will do more than just walk through Google Classroom. Participants will also deep dive into how Classroom integrates with other apps and extensions, and how teachers can successfully manage their digital workflow.

    Duration: 3 hours

  • Google Educator Level 1 Certification

    The Level 1 Certification workshop will prepare participants to take the Google Educator Level 1 certification exam. Level 1 certification indicates a fundamental understanding of using Google Tools in the classroom and confirms standard technology implementation skills. Educators who pass the certification test will be able to advertise their status with a personalized certificate and badge. Certification lasts 36 months.

    Participants in this workshop will learn about:

    • Tech Integration with the 4 C’s
    • Digital Citizenship
    • Utilizing Google Drive with efficiency
    • Creating, sharing, and collaborating with Google Docs
    • Creating, Formatting, and Analyzing Data with Google Sheets
    • Developing and Using Google Forms for Quizzes and Data Collection
    • Design and Edit Google Slides
    • Set up and Operate Google Classroom
    • Personalize your Gmail Account & Create User Groups
    • Engage with Google Groups incorporating Text & Video Hangouts
    • Manage your Google Calendar, Tasks, and Google Keep
    • Create a Google Site
    • Develop YouTube Channels and Playlists
    • Use Google Help to Find Answers, Join a Google Educator Group & Professional
    • Learning Network

    Duration: 6 hour

  • Google Educator Level 2 Certification

    The Level 2 Certification workshop will prepare participants to take the Google Educator Level 2 certification exam. The Google for Education site states: Level 2 status indicates that an educator is able to successfully integrate a wider range of Google for Education tools and other technologies in order to transform their teaching practice. Educators who pass the certification test will be able to advertise their status with a personalized certificate and badge. Certification lasts 36 months.

    Participants in this workshop will learn about:

    • Advanced organizational strategies & skills with Google Drive
    • Exploration of new learning models to help personalize the learning experience, including: Blended, Learning, the Flipped Classroom, and Project Based Learning
    • Collaboration and HyperDoc lesson building strategies with Google Docs
    • Research strategies and tools with Google Scholar
    • Advanced data analysis with Google Sheets
    • Advanced formative Assessment and data collection with Google Forms
    • Increasing efficiency with Gmail and Calendar Labs
    • Organization of information, communication, and collaboration with Google Sites
    • Utilizing Advanced Search Techniques in the classroom
    • Research and exploration with Google Maps and Google Earth
    • Utilizing Chrome Add-ons and Extensions with students

    Duration: 6 hours

  • Homegrown PD: How to Create Professional Development Activities for your Staff

    See examples of professional development that can be implemented within individual schools. Explore options for personal professional development as well.

    Duration: 1 hour

  • Integrating Technology into Project Based Learning

    Project-based learning continues to be an amazing way to bring real-world problem-solving skills into the classroom. While PBL can take place without any technology at all, the learning theory lends itself to the seamless integration of technology. In this workshop, teachers will discover the how and why of PBL and dive into technology resources they can integrate into their PBL lessons.

    Duration: 6 hours

  • Let’s make a Podcast!

    Podcasting is growing as one of the top forms of media in the world. With the technology available to our students, anyone with simply a smartphone can start a podcast. The question is, how can we leverage this medium with our students? What tools are available, and appropriate for our students to use in podcast creation? This workshop will explore how you can bring the power of audio to your classroom, and perhaps, develop the next #1 podcast on the iTunes chart!

    Duration: 3 hours

  • Media Literacy & Digital Tattoos: Growing Up in a Digital Age

    In today’s world, students are immersed in technology. From social media to cyberbullying to fake news to strangers online, students encounter countless technological challenges on a daily basis. How can we as educators help our students be outstanding digital citizens? Are we doing all we can to teach students the skills they need to safely navigate the World Wide Web? In this workshop, teachers will gain insight and learn about how to help students “Be Internet Awesome.”

    Duration: 3 hours

  • Integrating Add-ons and Extensions into your Google Classroom

    Unlock the creative and innovative power of Chrome and move beyond using the core suite of Google tools for simple word processing, productivity, and organization. In this workshop, we will explore various extensions and add-ons that give students the power to do more with Chrome. When teachers know where to find these amazing tools, our students’ learning experience is enhanced to a level never before seen.

    Duration: 3 hours

  • Introduction to Coding in the Classroom: No Experience Required

    Focused on K-6 code.org’s free curriculum. Explore the program and learn how to manage it in a K-6 setting. Learn about Hour of Code and other coding programs that are free to educators.

    Duration: 2 hours

  • Introduction to G Suite for Education

    Are you new to G Suite for Education? This workshop will dive into the ins-and-outs of this amazing platform and help get you on the road to success. From Google Drive to Docs to Forms to Sheets and everything in-between, we will explore how you can get the most out of your G Suite experience!

    Duration: 3 hours or 6 hours

  • STEM (STEAM) for the Non-STEM (STEAM) Content Area Teacher

    STEM or STEAM continues to be one of the most used buzzwords in education, but when looked at practically what does STEM actually mean? Teachers outside of science, technology, engineering, and math are often asked to bring STEM activities to their classroom but lack any ability to connect STEM to their curriculum. This workshop will work with those teachers on how the principles of STEM can be applied in their classroom s. While this will be designed for non-STEM area teachers, teachers in the STEM disciplines are welcome to attend!

    Duration: 3 hours

  • Take Your Classroom to Hyper Speed: Using the HyperDocs Concept with all Google Apps Tools

    HyperDocs create an interactive learning experience for students, allowing them to explore content, create and curate digital artifacts that demonstrate what they know, think, feel, and understand. The misconception about HyperDocs is that they are simply Google documents with hyperlinks in them. However, when used appropriately, they can transform teaching and learning into interactive, engaging, student-centered environments. Similarly, a HyperDoc doesn’t have to be only a Google Document, in this session we will explore how to use the HyperDoc process to transform the learning experience using the full Google Suite: including Slides, Forms, Sheets, Drawings, and MyMaps.

    Duration: 3 hours

  • The Art of Reflection

    Formal opportunities for reflection allow us to pause, look back, and analyze the points we can and should improve upon as we move forward. Great teachers regularly engage in reflection, if our first lesson of the day did not go well, we reflect back on what needs improvement and adjust to ensure that the same mistakes do not happen again. If, as teachers, we use the power of reflection to improve student learning, then it should be important to promote reflection with our students. In this workshop, we will explore how technology can help students in the reflection process. We will look at strategies, apps, and web tools that will assist students in the reflection process, and allow them to grow as learners.

    Duration: 3 hours

  • Using Twitter to Tell Your Story

    Twitter can be used professionally both for teachers’ professional growth and bringing the world into their classrooms. In this workshop learn tips and tricks on how to get the most out of Twitter for your Professional Learning Network.

    Duration: 2 hours

Networking Events

  • Instructional Technology Roundtable

    A facilitated discussion around the theme of technology infrastructure, support, and services. During the session, the facilitator will briefly introduce the topic, provide a list of resources, and then facilitate an informal discussion that explores emerging trends, challenges, and benefits.

    Duration: 2 hours

  • Technology Roundtable

    A facilitated discussion around the theme of technology infrastructure, support, and services. During the session, the facilitator will briefly introduce the topic, provide a list of resources, and then facilitate an informal discussion that explores emerging trends, challenges, and benefits.

    Duration: 2 hours

  • Future Ready Roundtable

    A facilitated discussion around the theme of the Future Ready Framework. During the session, the facilitator will briefly introduce the topic, provide a list of resources, and then facilitate an informal discussion that explores emerging trends, challenges, and benefits.

    Duration: 2 hours

  • #GoOpen: Open Education Resources Roundtable

    A facilitated discussion around the theme of #GoOpen and open education resources. During the session, the facilitator will briefly introduce the topic, provide a list of resources, and then facilitate an informal discussion that explores emerging trends, challenges, and benefits.

    Duration: 2 hours

Information Sessions

  • Budgeting for Digital Learning

    The goal of this session is for participants to learn more budgeting options for digital learning. Participants will:

    • Learn more about budgeting for digital learning
    • Collaborate with colleagues on key questions related to digital learning budgets
    • Acquire resources to support budget planning and considerations
    • Develop and maintain relationships with other district and state leader

    Duration: 1 hour

  • Collaborative Leadership for Digital Learning

    The goal of this session is for participants to learn more about how collaborative leadership supports strategic planning around digital learning.
    Participants will:

    • Review the key components for collaborative leadership to support digital learning
    • Learn about strategic planning tools for digital learning implementation
    • Think about who the appropriate education leaders are in your state/district to coordinate the strategic planning process
    • Discuss with colleagues what teaching and learning would look like if leaders from across disciplines (i.e., academics, assessment, technology) collaborated on aligned digital learning solutions
    • Discuss some of the key policies and practices that impact and support learning in the digital age
    • Develop and maintain relationships with other district and state leaders

    Duration: 1 hour

  • Connectivity

    The goal of this session is to provide participants, typically school and district leaders, with the opportunity to gain knowledge and resources to develop and enhance their infrastructure to support digital learning.

    Participants will:

    • Learn more about connectivity options for networks, Wi-Fi, and devices from colleagues and experts
    • Hear from colleagues on best practices for implementation
    • Collaborate with colleagues on key questions related to connectivity implementation
    • Acquire resources to support infrastructure planning and implementation
    • Develop and maintain relationships with other district and state leaders

    Duration: 1 hour

  • Educational Research: Understanding Today's 21st Century Learners

    When was the last time you looked at educational research? This workshop introduces educators to various research and survey sources that will help them understand how today’s students learn and what their views are regarding technology in education.

    Duration: 1 hour

  • Google Workflow Tips and Tricks for Teachers

    This workshop is meant for teachers to increase their productivity using Google tools.

    Duration: 1 hour

  • Homegrown PD: How to Create Professional Development Activities for your Staff

    See examples of professional development that can be implemented within individual schools. Explore options for personal professional development as well.

    Duration: 1 hour

  • Introduction to Digital Citizenship

    The goal of this session is to provide participants, typically school and district leaders, with the opportunity to understand the issues and responsibilities around digital citizenship.

    Participants will:

    • Learn more about digital citizenship
    • Discover best practices from peers
    • Discuss how your school/district is addressing digital citizenship
    • Explore resources used by other schools/districts
    • Develop and maintain relationships with other district and state leaders

    Duration: 1 hour

  • Introduction to Homework Gap

    The goal of this session is for participants to learn more about the homework gap and strategize potential solutions.

    Participants will:

    • Learn more about the homework gap and its impact on digital equity
    • Strategize solutions with peers
    • Collaborate with colleagues on best practices
    • Develop and maintain relationships with other district and state leaders

    Duration: 1 hour

  • Introduction to Instructional Materials

    The goal of this session is to provide participants, typically school and district leaders, with the opportunity to gain knowledge around the implementation of digital instructional materials.

    Participants will:

    • Analyze definitions of quality instructional materials including the elements necessary for quality digital materials
    • Collaborate with peers
    • Determine best options for curating digital instructional materials
    • Learn more about how policies and practices can support the implementation of quality instructional materials for all learners

    Duration: 1 hour

  • Introduction to Interoperability

    The goal of this session is to provide participants (typically school and district leaders) with the opportunity to gain knowledge and resources to better understand interoperability standards and how to best address interoperability needs as current technology based education resources are reviewed and new resources are considered for purchase.

    Participants will:

    • Understand interoperability needs
    • Review national interoperability standards and tools
    • Hear from exemplars on how to overcome challenges
    • Interact with your peers to learn what tools they use
    • Develop and maintain relationships with other district and state leaders

    Duration: 1 hour

  • Introduction to Procurement

    The goal of this session is to provide participants (typically school and district leaders with the opportunity to gain knowledge and resources to develop and enhance procurement and RFP management to support digital learning.

    Participants will:

    • Learn more about procurement and RFP management
    • Identify procurement challenges and success stories
    • Collaborate with colleagues and develop solutions for challenges
    • Discuss how changes in state/local policies can improvement the procurement process
    • Develop and maintain relationships with other district and state leaders

    Duration: 1 hour

  • Introduction to Student Data Privacy

    The goal of this session is to provide school and district leaders with the opportunity to check in and discuss current student data privacy practices, and to identify areas for improvement.

    Participants will:

    • Learn more about data privacy
    • Collaborate with colleagues to learn the current status of privacy programs
    • Assess the strengths and challenges of your school’s privacy program
    • Explore ways to engage parents
    • Acquire resources supporting student data privacy
    • Develop and maintain relationships with other district and state leaders

    Duration: 1 hour

  • Global Projects via Social Media: Share & Tell Your Story

    See examples of how to leverage social media to connect with other teachers around the world for projects. Explore examples of projects you can do via Twitter to share with others.

    Duration: 1 hour

  • Professional and Personal Portfolios

    Do you have a professional portfolio to accompany your curriculum vitae? Learn how (and why) to create personal and professional portfolios.

    Duration: 1 hour

  • Using Technology for Formative Assessments

    Technology makes it easy to see if our students are understanding what we are teaching. Explore technology tools that allow for “real-time” assessments of understanding and begin thinking about where these tools fit into your curriculum. Tools featured are free.

    Duration: 1 hour

Prioritizing your Mental Health with Summer Self-Care

Pause for a moment. Take a breath. You’ve made it to the end of a school year unlike any before. You’ve dealt with new developments, mastered new technologies, and likely found your students to be more resilient than you’ve ever imagined. You deserve this summer to rest, recover, and find new ways to further your craft as a valued educator.

As you start down that path, take some time for a mental health check-in. Ask yourself: how am I doing? What do I need right now? Am I feeling more anxious, stressed, or depressed after this whirlwind school year?

No matter how you are feeling, as an educator and as a person, this summer is a perfect opportunity to establish new self-care routines that can help bolster your mental health. That way, as you move into the next school year, you can practice a variety of productive habits that can keep you feeling mentally balanced, both in the classroom and at home.

Self-Care Essentials

Self-care is often touted as the first step toward a healthier mental benchmark. But for all the press about “self-care” in general, many educators still struggle to find a form of self-care that helps them navigate their personal and professional life with confidence. Some may not even know what qualifies as “self-care” in the first place, especially on a busy educator’s schedule.

In essence, “self-care” is any habit or activity that allows you to take time for yourself and feel present in your own feelings. Self-care allows you to step aside from the cares and concerns of your busy life and turn inward, where you can reflect on the joys and hardships in your life.

As a result, self-care can take on many forms, depending on what you find relaxing and rejuvenating.  For some folks, that means exercising regularly. For others, that means meditating while listening to relaxing music. As long as you can point to it and say “this time is just for me,” then it qualifies as self-care.

Going Solo

That leads to another important aspect of certifiable self-care – it should ideally be done solo. That’s not to say that you can’t speak with or do activities with other people to help you rest and recharge; communal activities and therapy can be beneficial for mental health in their own way. But when it comes to effective self-care, practicing solo can help free you from distractions that might otherwise cloud your capacity to feel truly grateful or self-reflective.

The Benefits of Self-Care

Self-care comes with numerous benefits as well, especially if it is practiced routinely. Many folks report being able to manage anxiety, stress, and depression through self-care while also finding space to process their previously unrecognized positive emotions. The American Psychological Association has also noted the increased focus, stress reduction, and increased mental flexibility that can derive from mindfulness practices like self-care.

Though results may vary from person to person, self-care can play an important and reliable role in living a balanced, productive life – both personally and professionally.

Self-Care – Myth vs. Reality

When it comes to practicing self-care, there are some prevalent misconceptions that can prevent educators in particular from fully embracing this beneficial mental health exercise. Consider the following as you begin down your self-care journey:

Myth: I don’t have time for self-care! I’m too busy!

There’s no question that today’s educators are overburdened with responsibilities. But no matter how much you have on your plate, there’s always time for self-care. Even if it means waking up a little earlier to meditate or giving yourself a quick breather during your planning period, self-care can become accessible to everyone. In fact, if you feel that you are too busy from sun up to sun down, that might be a sign that you need some self-care time all the more.

Also, it’s important to remember that self-care cannot simply be added to an already full plate. You need to make space for self-care and value it like it is a priority in order to make it a muscle memory. That may mean re-prioritizing some other tasks or cutting out activities that don’t benefit your mental health. However you accomplish it, be sure to be intentional so that these new self-care activities can become active habits as soon as possible.

Myth: Self-care time is lazy. I need to be productive all day!

Many educators are well-trained towards persistent productivity. Some even think about breaks and rest as something that needs to be “earned” through continuous work.

But the truth is, we cannot be truly productive and happy if we do not make time to rest and recuperate. Self-care can provide that break in the day, even if it is only for a few minutes. In that way, rest and self-care can be catalysts for your productivity, rather than the other way around. 

Myth: I’ve tried self-care time before, but I don’t think it’s for me

Self-care is for everyone because everyone needs to value their mental health. Chances are, you’ve tried one form of self-care or another and found that it didn’t meet your needs or your schedule. That’s perfectly okay because you get to decide what “self-care” means in the context of your life. So, if meditation or daily journaling aren’t for you, then maybe meal preparation or writing thank-you notes will be. Always be willing to try new things as you chart out the self-care habits and routines that are right for you. 

A Summer to Recover

For many educators, summer is a time to relax and catch up on things missed in the hustle and bustle of the school year. Without question, that break is well-earned. But the summer is also an excellent opportunity for educators to take a step forward towards more positive mental health, starting with the creation of a new self-care routine.

A self-care routine, at its most basic level, is a collection of self-care habits or practices that can help maximize your ability to rest, recover, and reflect on your present emotions. For many people, a self-care routine can be an effective way to set aside time for themselves in a convenient manner, whether that’s in the morning, evening, or somewhere in between.

To that end, summer can be a great time to form a self-care routine because most educators have more unstructured time while school is not in session. This allows you to be more intentional with your habit-forming practices and less rushed when it comes to reflecting on your emotions. This, in turn, can help solidify that routine in your day-to-day schedule and ensure that your self-care foundation is solid going forward.

Here are a few self-care practices you can use to build a routine that works for you:

  • Daily journaling
  • Yoga or other purposeful exercise regimen
  • Meditation (on your own or with an app)
  • Drinking a healthy amount of water over the course of the day
  • Establish a skin care regime
  • Turn off or avoid electronics for X amount of time
  • Avoid checking work email or other work communication for X amount of time
  • Recite personal positive affirmations
  • Go for a walk or hike in a park or out in nature
  • Hand-write a few thank you notes
  • Participate in a round of Roses, Thorns, and Buds on your own
  • Buy and read a book that is NOT about teaching
  • Cook your favorite meal
  • Listen to your favorite music and dance
  • Declutter a space in your home
  • Stretch in the morning and before bed
  • Pick up a new hobby
  • Sleep in
  • Meal prep

Don’t forget – self-care looks different for everyone. When it comes to creating your own self-care routine, start out simple and build in components that help you feel nourished mentally while also feeling more self-aware. So long as you are setting aside time just for yourself, you are on the right path toward practicing effective self-care.

A New Habit for a New School Year

Over the course of the summer, you may find that your new self-care routine can really go a long way towards supporting and balancing your mental health. But once the new school year begins to creep up in August, you may be concerned that your self-care routine will fall by the wayside between lesson planning, grading, and other teacherly duties.

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to carve out time for self-care, even on a structured teacher’s schedule. As before, you’ll need to evaluate your schedule and set aside time each day (or as often as possible) to enjoy at least one of your preferred self-care habits. That way, you’re still enjoying the benefits of self-care without needing to worry about daily time management. But remember – time spent on self-care is always worth it because you are worth it.

Along the way, you may find yourself hitting a few bumps in the road when it comes to making time for self-care. That’s okay, as long as you are committed to getting back on the path toward making self-care part of your every day. Always treat yourself with grace and know that your efforts toward caring for your own mental health are intrinsically beneficial to your overall well-being.

Also, it’s important to know that self-care is one great way to deal with and manage burnout. Each school year is long and can take a lot out of an educator, so it’s important to practice self-care to prevent your work life from becoming too overwhelming and impacting your mental health in turn. Even a bit of self-care can go a long way on this front, so consider making it a habit once the fall semester rolls around. 

Be Aware and Be Intentional

At the end of the day, self-care is all about you and making time for yourself to breath, reflect, and experience joy in your day-to-day life. For educators, self-care is critical because of the unique stresses surrounding the profession. As a result, self-care can be one way to keep an eye on your mental health as the months roll on, making it easier to identify both positive and negative emotions along the way.

Whether you’re starting this summer or looking to add new self-care habits for the next school year, always remember to be intentional and aware while you practice self-care. That way, you can always keep a close eye on one of your most valuable assets – your mental health – while striving to add even more purpose into your daily life. 

Mental Health Resources and Further Readings

As you begin to think more about the role self-care can play in your personal and professional life, consider checking out some of these resources for more valuable tips and tricks for making this practice a part of your daily routine:

Why It’s So Hard for Teachers to Take Care of Themsealves (and 4 Ways to Start)

5 Strategies for Teacher Self-Care

9 Self-Care Tips for Teachers

Mindfulness for Educators

Educating Mindfully

6 Ways to Easily Bring Mindfulness into the Classroom

Be Connected: LTC Technology Documentation Assessment Guide

Documentation is the name of the game if you’re looking to keep your tech department streamlined, efficient, and up-to-date. But even the best tech departments have room for improvement when it comes to tracking tech supports, software updates, and more. Whether you’re looking to make a few tweaks to your institution’s documentation system or you’re interested in a more holistic transformation, tune into this week’s Be Connected. Hosted by the LTC’s Eric Muckensturm, participants will receive a step-by-step walkthrough of the LTC’s Technology Documentation Assessment Guide, plus have a chance to ask questions and learn what documentation best practices work best for tech departments of all shapes and sizes.

Be Connected is a weekly webinar series from the LTC focused on facilitating open discussions about pertinent topics within Illinois’ edtech community. Hosted by the LTC’s Chris Wherley and Eric Muckensturm, each session will focus on a specific topic and provide space for participants to ask and answer questions in a relaxed, supportive environment.

Each week will feature a different core topic and a fresh opportunity to connect with your peers. So, be sure to check the LTC events calendar routinely so that you can join in the discussion and Be Connected.

Connectivity and E-Rate 2.0

Connectivity and E-Rate

Resources, training, and support for obtaining state and federal connectivity funding

The Learning Technology Center provides support to schools as they apply for and utilize state and federal funding for technology initiatives.

The LTC’s knowledgable experts can help your institution apply for E-Rate and other special funding sources through our annual trainings, webinars, and other free resources.

Related Projects

Contact Information

Mindy Fiscus – Digital Access Coordinator
mfiscus@ltcillinois.org

E-Rate

  • Announcements
  • What is E-Rate?
  • Events & Trainings
  • Video Walkthroughs
  • Common Questions
  • Resources

Update #2 (6/11/21)

Here is where a second can be placed. Newest updates should be placed closest to the top, with a maximum of three concurrent updates. If a previous update has gone stale or has been superseded by a new update, it should be removed.

EBB and ECF Updates (6/10/21)

The FCC recently announced two new programs to support remote learning and at-home internet connectivity efforts. The Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) and the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) programs, their requirements, and their benefits are outlined in the following LTC blog posts:

EBB Blog Post ECF Blog Post 

Stay tuned to this page and the “E-Rate ” sub-group on the LTC Community for more updates about webinars, workshops, and other events concerning these new funding sources.

https://ltcillinois.org/resources/e-rateseries/

Overview of E-Rate

The Universal Service Schools and Libraries Program, commonly known as “E-Rate,” provides discounts of up to 90 percent to help eligible schools and libraries in the United States obtain affordable telecommunications and internet access. Administered by the FCC, the E-Rate program makes telecommunications and information services more affordable for schools and libraries. The ongoing proliferation of innovative digital learning technologies and the need to connect students, teachers, and consumers to jobs, lifelong learning and information have led to a steady rise in demand for bandwidth in schools and libraries.

Training Tour

The E-Rate Essentials Training Tour for the FY21 funding cycle was held in the fall and winter of 2020-21. These are annual events and the next series is in planning for fall and winter of 2021-22. Dates and registration will be updated HERE when training dates are announced.

E-Rate Essentials Training Series

The LTC provides approximately 30 in-person and online events each year to assist school districts with navigating the E-Rate process. Download Tour Series Flyer.

Audience: New or veteran E-Rate applicants

Fee: Free

Note: Due to COVID-19 precautions and restrictions, many of our tour sites are limited to virtual attendance only at this time. Sites that do have an in-person option are noted below and have limited registration mindful of current regulations. Every effort was made to offer consistency in offerings across the state. Specific locations are noted in accordance with previous tour destinations. Registration for all events is open to anyone, regardless of district location.

Upcoming E-Rate Events

Other Than E-Rate Essentials – June 3 at 10 AM

View all E-Rate Essential Events on the E-Rate Essential Training Series site.

There are no upcoming events at this time.

FY19 Video Walkthoughs

Completion of E-Rate 4-70

This video will demonstrate the completion of the E-rate 470 form. The E-rate 470 form opens the bidding process for the E-rate cycle each year.

E-Rate 471 Walkthrough

This video will demonstrate the completion of the E-rate 471 form, from the beginning, until choosing a category of service type. The E-rate 471 form commits to services for the E-rate cycle and is required each year.

E-Rate 471 Funding Request

This video will demonstrate the completion of a funding request for special construction on the E-rate 471 form. The E-rate 471 form commits to services for the E-rate cycle and is required each year.

E-Rate 486

This video will demonstrate the completion of the E-rate 486 form up to the certification process.

Adding Contract to E-Rate 471

This video will demonstrate how to add a new contract to the E-rate EPC system for your Form 471. Contracts must be uploaded prior to completing the E-rate 471.

E-Rate 471 FRN Copy Feature

This video will demonstrate the completion of the E-rate 471 form, using the FRN copy feature for Category 1 services. The E-rate form 471 commits to services for the E-rate cycle and is required each year.

E-Rate 471 Cat 2 Request

This video will demonstrate the completion of a funding request for category 2 services on the E-rate 471 form. The E-rate 471 form commits to services for the E-rate cycle and is required each year.

E-Rate 486

This video will demonstrate the completion of the E-rate 486 form including the certification process.

Common Questions

What does E-Rate Cover?

In recent years, the FCC refocused E-rate from legacy telecommunications services to broadband, with a goal to significantly expand Wi-Fi access. These steps to modernize the program are helping E-rate keep pace with the need for increased Internet access.

School districts can typically expect discounts on Category One (C1) services such as primary internet access, internet connections between buildings and construction required to obtain internet access. Category Two (C2) services include equipment and services used inside the school buildings to get internet access to student devices. Some of these items typically include routers, switches, and wireless access points. E-rate does NOT cover end user devices, such as computers or tablets. Each summer an Eligible Services list is posted for comment and then adopted by the program determining all items eligible for funding in that year.

How can I apply?

Districts who wish to apply for E-rate must follow an application process that includes multiple forms. The majority of this process is handled electronically within the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC). This dashboard provides access to the necessary forms and communications with Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC), who manages the process for the FCC. Individual forms walk applicants through a process of determining needed services, accepting bids, entering into contracts with providers and activation or completion of services. Districts begin the process of application up to a year before services are confirmed and implemented. This lengthy process containing multiple forms and timelines requires districts to oversee the applications and implementation of services over multiple years.

How big of a discount can your district receive?

E-rate discount levels are determined by district poverty level, primarily identified by eligibility in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP).

What state support is available?

Many state departments of education provide staff, or State E-rate Coordinators to help districts navigate the process. Melinda Fiscus, Digital Access Coordinator for the Learning Technology Center, serves as one of the State E-rate Coordinators for IL and provides support to school districts navigating the program and multiple forms. The LTC provides instruction, reminders, application workshops and general program guidance through ISBE support. Melinda also participates in national organizations that support the E-rate program such as the State E-rate Coordinators Association (SECA) and State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) E-rate special interest group. Affiliation with these national organizations help insure Illinois Districts are kept up to speed with changes in the E-rate environment.

What is the Illinois E-Rate Matching Grant?

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has released a notice of funding opportunity/request for proposals (NOFO/RFP) for pending state funds to expand internet connectivity in schools. The funds would reimburse school districts for the cost of upgrading their broadband infrastructure to fiber optic technology. Fiber optic technology delivers the most affordable and fastest network speeds to schools and allows districts to scale cost-effectively to meet growing bandwidth needs in the future.

Nearly 75 districts across the state have been identified as having one or more school building in their district without access to this scalable infrastructure. Priority of funding will be given to districts that can demonstrate one or more buildings in their district is in need of a fiber upgrade.

In order to apply interested districts must:

  • Leverage E-rate funding and apply for special construction on their E-rate 470 and 471 applications.
  • Create a detailed RFP and/or Project. Guidance and sample templates are available from EducationSuperHighway, an Illinois Classroom Connectivity Initiative partner.
  • Compare bids and choose a winning provider, following E-rate timelines, rules and guidance from USAC.
  • Complete the IL E-rate State Matching Grant Form on the ISBE Broadband Information webpage.

EBB & ECF

  • Announcements
  • Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB)
  • Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF)
  • Events & Trainings
  • Common Questions
  • Resources

Update #2 (6/11/21)

Here is where a second can be placed. Newest updates should be placed closest to the top, with a maximum of three concurrent updates. If a previous update has gone stale or has been superseded by a new update, it should be removed.

EBB and ECF Updates (6/10/21)

The FCC recently announced two new programs to support remote learning and at-home internet connectivity efforts. The Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) and the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) programs, their requirements, and their benefits are outlined in the following LTC blog posts:

EBB Blog Post ECF Blog Post 

Stay tuned to this page and the “E-Rate ” sub-group on the LTC Community for more updates about webinars, workshops, and other events concerning these new funding sources.

Overview of the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB)

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, the US already faced a significant divide when it came to at-home internet connectivity. This divide became even more apparent as workplaces and schools became fully reliant on at-home internet connections to facilitate learning and labor alike.

Now a full year on, the FCC is taking steps to close that divide by opening the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program. This program will offer qualifying participants $50 off their monthly broadband internet bill. Participants will also have an opportunity to apply for other special benefits, including a one-time discount of up to $100 on a computer or tablet for household use.

As a general FCC program, these opportunities are not open exclusively to educational institutions or homes with students. However, educational institutions and their families may still choose to seek out support through this program in order to improve at-home remote and digital learning activities.

Learn more about the EBB – including who is eligible and how to apply – in this blog post.

Apply for the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB)

Parents and caregivers interested in applying for the EBB can do so here.

Applicants can also apply for this benefit by contacting their internet service provider directly (IL provider list)

Overview of the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF)

Prior to the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, the US federal government already identified a growing digital divide in schools and districts across the country. However, the pandemic greatly exasperated these issues, especially in districts with poor internet connectivity infrastructure and aging digital learning hardware.

In an effort to close that gap and help districts digitally prepare for the 21-22 school year and beyond, Congress appropriated $7.1 billion within the larger $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan stimulus package to the FCC for distribution to eligible schools and libraries across the US. The FCC, in turn, has decided to distribute these funds – termed the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) – through a process similar to their E-Rate application system.

Learn more about the ECF – including who is eligible and how to apply – in this blog post.

Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) Structure

The ECF will be applied for and distributed as two distinct rounds of funding. Each round will run for 45 days after opening. Opening and closing dates for each round of funding are TBA.

The first ECF round will cover connectivity and technology infrastructure costs incurrent from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022.

The second ECF round will reimburse for similar types of costs incurred from March 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021.

Apply for the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF)

Schools and libraries interested in utilizing ECF funds will apply for said funds through the existing E-Rate infrastructure. However, the ECF as a whole will act as a “special” round of funding. As a result, it will not impact eligibility for current or future E-Rate funds.

Connectivity Events and Trainings

Keep an eye out for upcoming events and trainings on a variety of timely Connectivity topics.

Upcoming E-Rate Events

Other Than E-Rate Essentials – June 3 at 10 AM

View all E-Rate Essential Events on the E-Rate Essential Training Series site.

There are no upcoming events at this time.

Common Questions

Who do I contact with questions about applying for Connectivity funding?

For all questions about Connectivity and other types of state and federal grant funding, contact Mindy Fiscus, Digital Access Coordinator, at mfiscus@ltcillinois.org

Resources

Check back here for useful resources and links for completing your Connectivity funding applications.

State of Illinois Programs

  • Announcements
  • Illinois Century Network (ICN)
  • IL State Matching Grant
  • Events & Trainings
  • Common Questions
  • Resources

Update #2 (6/11/21)

Here is where a second can be placed. Newest updates should be placed closest to the top, with a maximum of three concurrent updates. If a previous update has gone stale or has been superseded by a new update, it should be removed.

EBB and ECF Updates (6/10/21)

The FCC recently announced two new programs to support remote learning and at-home internet connectivity efforts. The Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) and the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) programs, their requirements, and their benefits are outlined in the following LTC blog posts:

EBB Blog Post ECF Blog Post 

Stay tuned to this page and the “E-Rate ” sub-group on the LTC Community for more updates about webinars, workshops, and other events concerning these new funding sources.

Overview of the Illinois Century Network (ICN)

Overview of ICN here!

Learn more about the ICN here!

Overview of the IL State Matching Grant program

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Learn more about the IL State Matching Grant program here.

Connectivity Events and Trainings

Keep an eye out for upcoming events and trainings on a variety of timely Connectivity topics.

Upcoming E-Rate Events

Other Than E-Rate Essentials – June 3 at 10 AM

View all E-Rate Essential Events on the E-Rate Essential Training Series site.

There are no upcoming events at this time.

Common Questions

Who do I contact with questions about applying for Connectivity funding?

For all questions about Connectivity and other types of state and federal grant funding, contact Mindy Fiscus, Digital Access Coordinator, at mfiscus@ltcillinois.org

Resources

Check back here for useful resources and links for completing your Connectivity funding applications.

Other programs supported by the LTC are:

Current workshop opportunities and general program information is offered below.

MakeCode

In this session, educators can learn about MakeCode and how it can be utilized to bring computer science to life for all students. With fun projects, immediate results, and both block and text editors for learners at different levels, this is one CS resource you won’t want to miss.

Minecraft: Education Edition

Time to take your classroom’s favorite game to the next level! This session will cover readily available worlds, lessons, and professional development resources for Minecraft: Education Edition. With these resources, you’ll be able to confidently and successfully teach STEM and coding in your classroom.