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Thinking big can reap big rewards. Julie Schnedler had only taught sixth-grade science for a year at Mediapolis Community School in Mediapolis, Iowa, before entering her 66 students in the inaugural Disney Planet Challenge. It was a leap from her previous efforts to engage students on the environment.

Roland Rios thought he'd found the perfect, inexpensive solution for interactive whiteboards in his Texas school district. But first he had to convince his lead tech specialist he wasn't crazy.


Until recently, when teachers at the Pennsville School District in New Jersey wanted to review their students' standardized test scores they faced a daunting task.

Traverse City is located in Northern Michigan on Grand Traverse Bay, a protected waterway of Lake Michigan. This region is known for its spectacular natural beauty, and rolling, wooded terrain interrupted by acres of cherry orchards.


Some things are just meant to roam free, like chickens in a farmyard. But students in a computer lab? Take 30-45 students, sit them in front of unmonitored computers, and you get a free-range social club and an Internet caf?—not a classroom.

The Lakewood Public School district near Lansing, MI, was coping with transportation cuts and struggling with a cumbersome routing system based on outdated technology, so Transportation Director Greg Tobias started talking to other districts about what software they were using to manage bus routing.

Teachers at Western Heights Public Schools in Oklahoma are used to being ahead of the curve technologically. So when the federal government offered a chunk of stimulus money, the district used it to go to the next frontier in interactive learning—an integrated, intelligent classroom.