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In this new series, author and educator Aaron Quigley shows you how to stay up to date with the latest educational technology and classroom management techniques. Each week, he'll introduce you to a new tip you can use to be more efficient, and increase student achievement. Aaron covers concepts like the flipped classroom, Common Core Standards, and the role of social media in education. The series also covers a variety of productivity apps, learning management systems, and other technologies, using a project-based approach that simulates the real K–12 or university classroom environment. Check back often for new tutorials, every Monday with Teacher Tips.
When it comes to using Crowdfunding in your classroom it's important to choose the right platform that fits the needs of you and your students, as well as the project that you're pitching. There's a lot of Crowdfunding platforms available including things like Kickstarter.com that are more generic. However, for the education market there are some very specific Crowdfunding websites that are tailored to the needs of education. The three platforms we're going to look at in this video are DonorsChoose.org, IncitED.org and AdoptAClassroom.org. All three of these platforms have pros and cons.
And, it's important to choose the right platform for your particular project. The first platform we're going to look at is DonorsChoose.org. Now for DonorsChoose.org, we'll look at some ways that it's really useful for your classroom, and also a few heads up for things to be aware of before you decide to use this particular Crowdfunding platform. It's great for class supplies. They have huge list of vendors where you can choose art supplies, science supplies, math manipulatives or even textbooks for your classroom. It's also great for finding funds. DonorsChoose.org is a huge network and they do a great job of promoting your project.
And even sometimes give out incentives to other people to help fund your project. Such as two-for-one deals. They're also great at starting small. DonorsChoose does not allow you to come on and put up a $1,000 project your first time. They give you some scaffolding to it. And that takes us over to the heads up. DonorsChoose uses a point system. When you first sign up for DonorsChoose you get a certain number of points. And based on the overall cost of your project, it costs a certain number of points. So, for example you can start by asking people to help you buy maybe two or $300 worth of classroom supplies.
And then, after you've received funding for that first project, and you've sent thank you letters, and you've done a variety of other things that help you earn points in the system, you're then eligible for higher point projects. Such as field trips or classroom technology. Another heads up is that there's no Apple products available through DonorsChoose. So, if you're looking to create an iPad classroom, then DonorsChoose is probably not the location for you. And that's because you have to use their stores for buying supplies. When people donate money to your DonorsChoose account, you can then spend those funds at pre-designated stores inside of the DonorsChoose website.
So, it's a great way to help make sure your project gets funded, but it's not the most flexible for how you can spend those funds. The next platform we're going to look at is incited.org. Incited can be really helpful for partial funding of projects, unlike DonorsChoose where you have to have the entire project funded in order to receive those supplies. You can actually create a project on incited, and you can still receive the partial funding. It's also great for research, because it allows you to receive cash for your projects you can then choose what you do with that cash.
And using incited it is a great way to think about how to fund your potential research. For example, if you wanted to build a brand technology lab for your school, it's really hard to pinpoint the exact cost of that lab. However, with incited, you can create an overall project, estimate the costs and then as funds come in you can continue to work on fulfilling the dream of that big project. A few things to keep in mind, you do pay a fee to use incited, it's 5% of the project, if it reached its 100% goal. Or if you fell short of your goal, you pay an 8% fee.
You also have to pay the credit card processing fees which is typically around 2.9% of all the money that's donated to you. These fees are important to keep in mind because if you want to buy, let's say, a new computer for your classroom, and that computer costs $1,000, you need to build on an additional 5%. So, we're now at $1050. And then you need to add an additional 3% for the money that's donated. So if you don't take in consideration these fees, you might end up getting a project that's fully funded, but not giving you all the cash that you need to complete your project. Also there's low traffic to incited.
It takes a lot of your energy and your social networks to really spread the news about your project, otherwise your project is not likely to get funded. The last crowdfunding tool that we're going to look at is AdoptAClassroom.org. AdoptAClassroom is great for on-going funding. It allows people to really partner with your classroom. They become invested in what you're doing in your classroom and you can have the same donors coming back year after year. It's also great for starting small. It gives you the ability to focus on having only a few donors to your particular classroom.
There are some downsides to AdoptAClassroom.org, however. It's credit based. Meaning that when people give you money, that money becomes credits inside of the AdoptAClassroom store. You can then choose to spend those credits on whatever supplies you need for your classroom. And because it's credit based, that means there's limited stores that you can choose to buy through. Now they do have a wide offering of products, but sometimes those products are more expensive than you can find at the office supply store down the street. It's also very time intensive. Because you're focusing on partnering with your donors, and making them feel as an active participants in helping push your class forward.
It can take a lot of time writing thank you letters and keeping them up to date on how your projects are going. Now, I say it's time intensive as a heads up, but sometimes that can also be a benefit to using AdoptAClassroom. Because of the connection and the partnering you have with people that fund, you can then reach out to those networks for chaperones on a field trip or to come into your classroom and help with a class project. I hope this week that you found a Crowdfunding tool that's appropriate for you and your classrooms and that this can be a great way to help your students achieve even more in the coming years.
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