Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is beginning to solicit applications for its part in the White Houses’s ConnectED initiative, a program that will seek to improve the technology in U.S. classrooms and connect 99 percent of American students to “next-generation” broadband and high-speed wireless in the classroom by 2019. For its part of the program, Apple will provide schools with iPads, Macs, and educational content, plus Apple Professional Development training for teachers.
Apple chief executive Tim Cook has begun sending out letters asking for applications to its grant program. The company is looking to make grants to schools where 96 percent or more of students qualify for free or reduced price lunches. Apple is investing $100 million in the initiative, and as The Washington Post reports, last week a superintendent received a letter saying that if his school is selected, the company will provide not only Apple products and educational content, but also the wireless infrastructure that would enable the school to take full advantage of the technology.
As the White House’s website notes, both the FCC and a number of companies have committed to ConnectED initiative, which has no government grants, but instead relies on investments like the one Apple is making into the program. In addition to Apple, Adobe (NASDAQ:ADBE), AT&T (NYSE:T), Autodesk (NASDAQ:ADSK), Esri, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), O’Reilly Media, Prezi, Sprint (NYSE:S), and Verizon (NYSE:VZ) have all made various commitments to the initiative. A total of over $2 billion in private funding opportunities will provide schools with devices, software, curricula, broadband, and training. The special focus of the program on bringing disadvantaged and rural schools up to date emphasizes how integral to learning technology is considered by schools, companies, and the Obama administration.