Department of Agriculture
The Rural Utilities Service administers grants and loan programs to assist rural and remote communities with the development of their telecommunications infrastructure. The Distance Learning and Medical Link Grant Program
supports telecommunications links for rural schools to provide students with access to advanced courses and other distance learning opportunities. Technical assistance and advice for rural communities are provided through the Extension Service.
Department of Commerce
The Telecommunications and Information Infrastructure Applications Program (TIIAP) awards matching grants to state and local governments, as well as nonprofit organizations, to finance their access and use of telecommunications. These grants are intended to demonstrate the potential impact of telecommunications networks and extend these networks into currently underserved areas. The Public Telecommunications Facilities Program
awards grants to public broadcasting and other noncommercial entities for acquisition of telecommunications equipment. Of 142 awards made with FY 1995 funds, 32 supported distance learning, some of which involved elementary and secondary schools.
Department of Defense
The Department of Defense conducts ongoing technology-based training and research and development for the instruction of military personnel and students in its K-12 schools. It is also conducting several targeted programs such as a research and development initiative on information-based technologies to dramatically improve learning and productivity in both professional development of military personnel and education with the Department's K-12 schools. Another program involves the Department of Defense schools as an exemplar for how technology can be used to substantially improve educational outcomes by integrating existing and planned technology, such as instructional software, into school programs. Another program works with Department-run schools as national models to effect systemic reform through the integration of technology.
Department of Education
The Department of Education focuses on leadership activities, including technology planning, K-12 school reform, evaluation, research and development, and dissemination of technology for learning. The Regional Technology in Education Consortia (R*TECs)
and other technical assistance services provide technical assistance and support professional development related to educational technology. Educational services for special populations, including low-income students, students with limited proficiency in English, and children with disabilities, are also provided. The National Challenge Grants for Technology in Education
fund several demonstrations of high-intensity use of technology in education. The Star Schools
grant program supports distance learning projects linking students and teachers over large distances using telecommunications technologies, such as satellites and fiber optic networks.
Department of Energy
Activities include the development of network technology; technical assistance to selected school districts; teacher professional development; and research & development through HPCC (see below)
Department of the Interior
The Bureau of Indian Affairs funds K-12 education on Indian reservations, including piloting innovative uses of technology.
Department of Labor
The Department of Labor provides leadership for training and funds state and local job training activities.
Federal Communications Commission
The FCC sets interstate policies on telecommunications and information infrastructure, with a focus on affordable telecommunications access for schools, libraries, hospitals, and clinics.
High-Performance Computing and Communications Program (HPCC) (Interagency effort)
HPCC is an ongoing joint research & development interagency effort to create an integrated system of high-capacity telecommunications networks that would link business, government, education, health care, and the public. Research & development areas include high-speed networking, simulations, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and digital libraries. Aspects of these efforts include projects to expose K-12 students to high-performance computing and create resources for teachers.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
NASA's Educational Technology Program focuses on developing of high quality, affordable learning tool and environments through the Classrooms of the Future program, which develops applications for aerospace education. Demonstrations of innovative technology and networking applications include KidSat which permits students across the country to interact in shuttle missions and download images in real time via the Internet. NASA also funds the development of network technology, teacher professional development, and research & development through HPCC (see above)
National Science Foundation (NSF)
NSF supports technology innovations and reforms that improve mathematics, science, and technology education, and funds research & development projects through HPCC. The Networking Infrastructure for Education Program develops model applications of telecommunications technology supporting school restructuring, professional development of teachers, and increased student achievement. The Educational System Reform program (Statewide Systemic Initiatives) funds several state projects that target the application of technology. NSF funding was instrumental in the development of the Internet.