|Can’t Wait For Classroom Tech? Advertise Your Wishlist With Digital Donors!
Use these inside tips to score a range of cool tools on DigitalWish.com.
Bringing the 21st century to your classroom has never been easier — or more under your control. Whether you aim to excite learning with podcasting plans or modernize art class with digital imaging projects, you will find a new window of funding opportunity on the web at www.DigitalWish.com.
There are two ways to win by registering your classroom and submitting tech-centered lesson plans to the website: 1) Become eligible for rotating monthly awards of software products that cover content areas from reading and math to movie making and painting, and 2) add a “wishlist” to your profile to attract additional donor attention anytime. Anyone who finds your profile can make an instant donation online of tech tools to fulfill your classroom needs. Keep reading to uncover the specific strategies that will help make sure your online efforts reap rewards.
Tip #1: Log Hours Profiling Your Classroom
The secret to winning these technology awards is beefing up your online “profile,” which is an easy-to-complete web template that allows judges — and potential benefactors — to get familiar with you, your students and your plans to incorporate technology in the classroom.
Your profile is your application. The more creative and extensive you make your profile, the better chance you have of winning one of the monthly awards and attracting independent donors’ dollars, explains Heather Chirtea, fundraiser for Digital Wish and president of Tool Factory, which, together with Olympus, provides the software-based grants awarded on the website.
Helpful: To view one of Chirtea’s current favorite profiles, click on “classroom locator” on the website’s top navigation bar, search for Southern Columbia Middle School and go to Victoria K.’s profile. Take tips from her efforts to make your own page stand out.
Behind-the-scenes info: To swing the odds even more in your favor, be active on the site as much as possible, shares Chirtea. Site administrators track stats such as how often individual users log in and how many lesson plans they upload.
What to do: Keep your activity rating high by using the site frequently, maintaining a current, robust profile and expanding your network of online “friends” who get linked to your page, Chirtea advises.
While the Digital Wish website is just getting started, your competition is likely to grow quickly. News of the service is spreading rapidly by word of mouth. Since the late summer more than 5,000 teachers have registered on the site, says Chirtea, who was expecting only 1,000 users by Christmas.
Tip #2: Write Lesson Plans Other Teachers Want To Steal
Even more important to winning these tech tools is a unique lesson plan that catches other teachers’ attention.
Every lesson plan on Digital Wish can be viewed, shared and rated by other educators. The more popular your lesson plan becomes with your peers, the more likely you are to win a grant, Chirtea says.
Hints: Make sure you elaborate on your idea; lesson plans that are less than 100 words don’t make the cut, according to Chirtea. Make sure the lessons are relevant to your curriculum and demonstrate effective use of a specific technology (such as digital cameras) in the classroom, Chirtea adds. Additionally, judges look for projects that exhibit a high degree of student involvement; brainstorm ideas that involve the entire class in a variety of capacities for a group project, or where each student gets the opportunity to build their own project. (And, of course, be sure your submissions are free of grammatical and spelling errors and other typos.)
Don’t: Avoid submitting ideas that are overdone; producing a school newspaper is one example of a project that’s too commonplace, Chirtea says. Instead, rise to the top with a novel — even community-conscious — idea.
Example: One winning teacher proposed producing a calendar that featured the local wetlands, which the class then sold to the community, shares Chirtea. The funds the group raised went towards a wildlife cause.
Tip #3: Take Advantage Of Networking Resources
Don’t miss out on these additional benefits of getting involved with Digital Wish:
- Check out the expanding library of free lesson plan ideas submitted by other teachers.
- Search dozens of additional funding opportunities from a wide array of grantmakers, which are listed on the website as a free service to users.
- Access fundraising resources: Print Digital Wish flyers to promote your wishlists with parents and in the community. Get additional solicitation ideas, such as info on how to run a letter-writing campaign.
- Keep up with new technology offerings so you can add them to your wishlist; the program plans to expand shopping options to include more tools such as video cameras and digital whiteboards, Chirtea says.
Sum up: Keep your students on the fast track to future success by filling your classroom with educational tech. Don’t get buried by thousands of other applications by vying only for traditional grants; get an edge by putting your classroom’s needs front and center on the web.
Resources: Register and start building a profile: www.digitalwish.com/dw/digitalwish/register
Review winning grant applications: www.toolfactory.com/olympus
Contest; access the full grant awards calendar: www.digitalwish.com/dw/digitalwish/grants_sched.
Copyright 2007, Eli Research. Reproduced with permission. For subscription information, call (800) 874-9180.