Budgets are tight. Districts, schools and teachers are striving to do more with less. It's a tough time to request funding — even for the professional learning opportunity of a lifetime.
We hear from a lot of educators who would love to attend the ISTE Conference & Expo but just don't have the budget to swing it. If you're one of them, here are four ways to get financial support for your trip to ISTE 2015 in Philadelphia:
1. Enter our social media contest.
We can think of hundreds of reasons to attend ISTE 2015. We want to know yours. We're offering free conference registration and a four-night hotel stay to one lucky educator who participates in our social media contest. Just take a photo of yourself with a sign declaring why you want to go to the conference, and post it to your favorite social network using the #ISTE2015 hashtag.
2. Join Project ReimaginED.
Project ReimaginED is a community of educators who are redesigning their curricula for the digital age. When you and your colleagues join this passionate community, you get the chance to collaborate on and publish new learning activities aligned to the Common Core and ISTE Standards — and compete for a free trip to ISTE 2015 for up to four members of your team. It's a win-win for both you and your students.
3. Become a PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovator.
Submit a short video showing how you're using digital tools to drive student achievement in your classroom, and you could be one of 30 applicants selected for a three-day, all-expenses-paid trip to both ISTE 2015 and the PBS LearningMedia Digital Summit. Apply by Feb. 11 to win.
4. Apply for a professional learning grant.
There are plenty of organizations that offer professional learning grants to help educators attend conferences. Here are a few places to start:
NEA Foundation. The NEA Foundation has awarded more than $7 million in grants to help public school educators build their skills. Apply by Feb. 1 to receive notification in time for ISTE 2015.
Association of American Educators Foundation. You don't have to be an AAE member to apply, but members do get extra consideration for these competitive scholarships. Apply by March 1 to get reimbursed for up to $500 of your travel expenses.
Fund for Teachers. Design your own professional learning experience this summer with a Fund for Teachers grant. This flexible program offers up to $5,000 for individuals. Apply by Jan. 29.
This list is far from comprehensive. Many other organizations offer professional learning scholarships for educators within specific subject areas or geographic regions. Know of any others? Share the link in the comments below.
Need help from your school or district?
Securing a slice of your organization's precious professional learning dollars can sometimes be a simple matter of making a compelling argument to the right person. To help you cut through your school or district's red tape, we've compiled a few resources that demonstrate the incredible value you'll receive at ISTE 2015, including a helpful infographic you can share with your administrator.
Sometimes all it takes to get what you want is to ask!