Adobe pledges $300M to Obama's ConnectED digital literacy project

Adobe touted EchoSign alone could save schools up to $250 million over the next five years at a rate of $20 per document filing.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

The White House's ConnectED Initiative got a big financial boost this week as Adobe has pledged more than $300 million worth of software to the digital literacy project.

Unveiled last summer, the ConnectED Initiative is President Obama's game plan for enabling wider and better access to next-generation broadband, mobile, and digital learning technologies for both teachers and students nationwide in schools covering grades K through 12.

Some of familiar solutions from Adobe's portfolio that will be made available to more than 15,000 schools include Photoshop Elements, Premiere Elements, Captivate, Presenter, and EchoSign.

Using EchoSign as an example, Adobe touted that the document filing feature could save schools up to $250 million over the next five years at a rate of $20 per document filing.

Furthermore, the digital signature software should also reduce water consumption by 171 million gallons and reduce landfill by 14 million pounds thanks to cutbacks in paper costs and use.

The software giant also boasted that its donation is the largest to date for the ConnectED program, which now has more than $1 billion in donations from the private sector.

Leaders from the federal government have been touting partnerships and reliance on the private sector -- notably the tech industry -- for a variety of purposes that ultimately link back to each other.

Last fall, the Obama administration tapped several tech giants (namely Oracle, Google and RedHat) for help repairing Healthcare.gov.

Earlier this month, the White House unveiled a new (and voluntary) cybersecurity framework, stressing that the National Institute of Standards and Technology worked with private businesses in order to narrow down "best practices and globally recognized standards so that companies across our economy can better manage cyber risk to our critical infrastructure."

Then this week while speaking at the 2014 RSA Conference in San Francisco, FBI director James Comey asserted that the private sector is the "key" to outsmarting cybercriminals.

Comey admitted the FBI (along with other government and law-enforcement agencies) often keep select information under wraps -- sometimes much to the ire of businesses and consumers. But he also acknowledged a greater need for transparency, positing we need to find a way to provide assurances and routinely share information at "machine-speed, not human-speed."

Effective partnerships are one way to do this, he concluded.

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