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Home » Policy & Funding » School Technology » Free Software & Grants

Free Software & Grants

Contact Information

Educational Technology

The 2019 legislature allocated $150,000 in state funds for 2020-2021 for the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to establish the Media Literacy Grant Program. These funds have now been awarded through a competitive grant process to school teams to develop and share openly-licensed curriculum units on media literacy or digital citizenship, or both, that may be integrated into social studies, English languages arts, or health classes. Eight districts, two ESDs, and one charter school have been awarded grants ranging from $7,885 to $19,500, and an additional two districts have been awarded implementation grants ranging from $2,000 to $4,000.

  • Ballard High School (Seattle SD)
  • Bryant Elementary School (Seattle SD)
  • Columbia River High School (Vancouver SD)
  • Eatonville SD
  • ESD 112
  • Highline SD
  • Hockinson SD
  • North Central ESD 171
  • Royal SD
  • Selah SD
  • Snohomish SD
  • Soos Creek Elementary School (Kent SD)
  • Whatcom Intergenerational High School

Emergency Connectivity Fund Support

The second filing window is open from September 28-October 13, 2021.

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

Free GIS Software

Free licenses are available for Washington state K-12 schools to use GIS (geographic information system) 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.

GIS Training & Resources

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. These resources are posted on OSPI's EdTech Moodle. Also check out: GIS Resource Collections for Schools

Free SketchUp Pro Software for Public Schools

Take advantage of free K-12 licenses for SketchUp Pro, a popular 3D modeling software. View the complete SketchUp Pro system requirements.

Education licenses for K-12 schools and teachers are available at no cost. The offer is open to all Washington state schools and districts that make use of the licensing program administered through OSPI. Teachers take advantage of this versatile tool to visualize ideas and data, places and objects—any learning activity that can use the power of 3D graphics to strengthen core curricula with realistic visualizations.

How to Request K-12 Public School Licenses

District technical support staff can request SketchUp Pro licenses by completing the online form. Interested classroom teachers should contact their district technology leadership to make this request on their behalf.

Home Use for Students

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.

Technical Support & Training

Email-based tech support is available only to license administrators with active SketchUp Pro lab licenses.

Additional Grant Funding Opportunities

Donors Choose

Public school teachers post requests for a classroom project — everything from pencils to video projectors, to musical instruments and much more. Citizen philanthropists browse the requests and donate to a project(s). DonorsChoose.org delivers the materials to the school.