The Power of the PLN

Technology does not come cheap. In fact, it’s a huge expense for any school. So what do you do when your budget just won’t stretch far enough to teach how you want to teach? Well, when elementary technology specialist Karen Winsper was faced with this problem, she looked to technology and her PLN for a helping hand.

Teacher's Creative Fundraising Gets 3D Printer For Classroom

Thanks to an innovative approach and her connections on Twitter, Karen was able to seize an opportunity that would not have presented itself to many ‘disconnected’ educators.

She saw on Twitter that MakerBot was trying to get a 3D printer into every school in America: “I jumped on it and put in a proposal through Donors Choose and within a week it was fully funded by the MakerBot company“.

In fact, not only was the effort to get a 3D Printer aided by Karen’s Twitter connections and knowledge of the Donors Choose platform, but the coverage that her class and school received on CBS would not have happened without this amazing network.

These integral professional and personal connections we are able to build, share and nurture online offer so many new opportunities. Whether we are looking for a something as ambitious as a 3D printer, or just a solution to a small problem, it’s time to do as Karen did and “get over the fear“.

Reach out to communities. It doesn’t have to be ‘Donors Choose’ or Twitter. It could be reddit. It could be Quora. It could even be a simple status update on Facebook. Be open with your challenges and you never know where help and opportunities might spring from.

The bottom line is, try to explore options. You know, what is available, whether it be a grant or through Donors Chooseor other outside alternatives to your typical budget.

Have you been part of any other innovative ways of overcoming budget or technology restrictions in your school? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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