President Obama announced ConnectED Initiative in 2013 to invite businesses to aid in the technical education of the U.S. students. The White House announced Esri’s contribution to ConnectED to in conjunction with the White House Science Fair. Esri is giving ArcGIS Online for Organizations subscriptions to all K12 school in the US who request one. Amazon is helping out at the back end with its Amazon Web Services. Its home on the Web is here.
Esri has developed an ArcGIS Online group for educators to learn more about ArcGIS Online and how to implement it in their classrooms. K12 GIS Org offers instructional materials, links to maps, links to blogs and more. There are some new looking documents here that existing users might find helpful. I found: AGO Use Strategies: "50,000-foot level" guidance for educators about how to take advantage of ArcGIS Online's various login opportunities. (2-page PDF.) I also found: ArcGIS Online SkillBuilder - A 12 page PDF of skills educators and students can work though to gain competency with the software.
Per the press release the donation is worth $1B.
Headlines from other coverage:
Forbes: Billionaire Jack Dangermond's Esri Pledges $1 Billion Of Mapping Software To America's K-12 Schools - number of times the term "billionaire" is used: 5
THE Journal (The Higher Ed Journal): K-12 Schools Get Free Cloud-Based GIS Mapping Software - "Individual ArcGIS licenses run $10,000 per school. Through the program, the licences and hosting will be provided for free."
Ed Week Blog: Big Player in Geographic Systems Donates Software to Every School in Country - "The goal is to grant every school in the country access to ArcGIS Online, geovisual software that allows users to reference, store, manage and visualize information based on location—essentially merging maps and databases in order to see and analyze information in new ways."
Redlands Daily Facts: Redlands' Esri pledges $1B donation to schools - "Each ArcGIS online account is worth $10,000, according to the company." "Google Earth has long been a staple in classrooms, but the ArcGIS software allows students and teachers to map data they generate themselves."