Grassroots ways to fund classroom technology
Classroom tech funding is often more elusive than a unicorn in a gumdrop forest. Educators are often left searching for creative ways to move their classrooms into the 21st century.
EdSurge recently interviewed several teachers who found success through creative means, and they compiled the below five tactics:
1. Leverage DonorsChoose.org. A popular platform teachers use fund classroom technology is DonorsChoose.org, a website started in 2000 by a teacher. The platform allows educators to fund everything from technology supplies to professional development trips.
2. Social Network Gift Exchanges. Social networks such as Reddit can also serve as a source of classroom funding for educators. Started in 2012, Reddit's teacher gift exchange works by pairing up educators and donors who sign up on the website. Donors send gift packages to teachers based on their requests. Last year, the exchange raised $21,665, and according to data released by Reddit, reached 24,955 students.
3. Websites: Digital Wish and Adopt a Classroom. Adopt a Classroom is similar to DonorsChoose, but instead of picking a particular project, teachers write an essay describing their classrooms and list some things they would like. People can then put money into teacher’s accounts so they can shop, spending as much or as little as they want of those funds.
4. Seek Grants from Philanthropies. Philanthropies and corporations also fund classrooms from time to time. However, the scope of projects taken on may be more narrow given the specific missions of the philanthropic organizations. The grant writing process may also seem a bit more tedious than websites like Donors Choose (that offer users editing support) since the philanthropies often do not offer users writing help.
5. Look to Your District. Not many school districts have cash laying aside, but some have begun to set up funds to help educators tech-up their classrooms. For instance, New York City’s Department of Education currently gives educators $250 (up from $220 last year) dollars each to help them buy any kind of classroom supplies they need.
Of course, a sixth option is to leverage TechLogix Charities. TechLogix actively participates in placing technology in non-profits--it was a founding principal for the firm. Additional information is available on the TechLogix website.