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How One Teacher Used Crowdfunding, Grants and Collaborative PD to Become a Tech Guru

How One Teacher Used Crowdfunding, Grants and Collaborative PD to Become a Tech Guru

First-grade teacher Melissa Hunt wrote a post today for ASCD SmartBrief to share with fellow educators how she was able to purchase the latest edtech for her classroom using only a $75 budget from her school.

Crowdfunding, she says, helped her secure over $280,000 in edtech for her students to use and is sharing her tips on how to make crowdfunding as successful as she has.

"Through crowdfunding and grants, I’ve brought in more than $280,000 in new technology for my school. That’s more than 121 projects in the past three years,” Hunt says.

So how did she do it?

Three years ago, Hunt started her first crowdfunding project and was quickly able to secure headphones for all students in her classroom. From there, she began more ambitious "funding projects big and small, from winter clothes and African drums to mobile devices, laptops, and my latest purchase: an accessory that links students’ mobile devices to the interactive whiteboard,” she says.

To supplement her crowdfunding endeavors, Hunt says she also sought out grants to help fund both her class’ and her school’s needs.

The desire to help other teachers "inspired me to apply for a $105,000 Farmers Insurance Thank a Million Teachers Grant for my small school,” which she says she won and used to purchase technology for the entire school.

But Hunt didn’t stop here, as a truly great teacher wouldn’t. In order to make all the fancy tech Hunt acquired meaningful, she got together with her peers and used collaborative professional development to best understand and use the new tech.

"The collaborative PD model has worked so well, neighboring schools come to Stoddard searching for advice on how to get teachers and students using new technology. The best part about collaborative PD? It’s free,” she says.

"Without technology, there’s no way I would feel the same way about teaching. It’s the paper and pencil of our time, and it needs to be in the hands of every student and teacher. If I can be part of making that happen at my school, you can be the spark for innovation at yours.”

Read the full text of Hunt’s inspiring post here.

Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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