Are you all too familiar with the limitations of school budgets? If you’re reading this, I’m pretty certain the answer is, “Yes.” You can see so many possibilities to engage and interest students, but you don’t have enough resources to make it happen.
That doesn’t have to be the end of the story though. Fortunately, there are resources to supplement your stressed education funds. Now you’re thinking, “Yeah, but where do I start?” That is an excellent question. The downloadable Chromebook and Tablet Grants is a great jump-start guide of resources about applying for grants, fundraising, and grant writing. Hopefully, the download, along with this blog, will help ease you into the process.
was published March 14, 2014.
Know What you Want
You realize that just asking for money for Chromebooks or Android tablets isn’t enough. In many ways, preparing and submitting for grants is like figuring out the budget of a building project. When you want to build or remodel something you need to have a thorough plan. You don’t wake up and impulsively decide to go to the hardware store and buy everything to remodel your bathroom. No, you spend quite a while planning and researching everything involved with the project.
Planning and Research
To write a grant you’ll need to do two phases of planning and research. The first should answer the particulars of how you will use your funds. The second phase is to figure out your best method of fundraising.
Formulating a Plan
A grant application, or any fundraising, will require you to answer the basic information gathering questions: Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How. Most grants will want all of these answered before they hand over funding.
Consider the following:
- Who are you and what qualifies you to request the funds?
- What will the money go toward? Purchasing Chromebooks? Android tablets? Education Apps? Ebooks?
- When do you expect to launch this program? Will it last indefinitely or will it last for only, say, a semester?
- Where will you use these resources? In one class? Across a school?
- Why is this important and do you have an established goal?
- How are you going use all of this? Do you have a master plan? Is this a pilot program? Is the grant to fund devices for a reading program? Possibly STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) related? Is it to give disadvantaged students access to technology? How are you going to measure your program’s effectiveness?
I know, I know, this might seem a bit daunting but there are resources to help you along. Chromebook and Tablet Grants has a list of great grant writing resources such as dailywritingtips and k12grants.org to help you get started.
Resources.promevo.com also has papers to help you plan. For instance, do you need to know what it will take to get your school ready? Read over Prepare your School for Chrome Devices. Do you want to see how other schools are using Chrome? Look over Chromebooks for Schools: 4 school case study. Maybe you want to see how devices compare against each other? Access the Straight Out of the Box-Chrome Device Comparison Sheet and look over hardware specifications as well as performance test results. Or, perhaps you want to see how users rate the devices? Visit chromebookbuyersguide.com and review user ratings.
Select a Path
Now that you’ve planned your project thoroughly, you have one last major research question to answer: What is the best way to get the funds you need?
The goals of your program planning should help you narrow your focus on fund applications. Is your plan a general, “get devices into the hands of students” design? If so, then a good grant to apply for might be Lowe’s Toolbox for Education or perhaps Enhancing Education through Technology State Program, which is a Department of Education program aimed at getting technology into the hands of students.
What if your plan is STEM-focused? Many technology companies provide grant sources for that. For example, Toshiba has a STEM-centered grant program, Samsung sponsors the Solve for Tomorrow Contest which is designed to increase the pursuit of STEM education, and Google, through its Global Impact Awards, provides startup materials for new math and science classes.
What about your community? Just as looking over your grant plan will help you focus your applications, so might surveying your city. Many corporations have set up grant programs to be administered in areas that they have facilities or provide services. Corning has the Corning Incorporated Foundation that provides grants for areas that the company has locations. Great Plains Communications’ Grant Program awards education funding to schools in the company’s telephone and cable television service areas.
An emerging source for education fundraising is crowdfunding. While this involves more than simply submitting a well-researched application, it does allow you to appeal to a much larger pool of financial backers for your project.
For general fundraising Kickstarter.com is one of the best known crowdfunding sites. Other such sites include Razoo.com and Crowdtilt.com. For a more education-focused site look at DonorsChoose.org. Not long ago, DonorsChoose partnered with Google. The collaboration resulted in enough money to get devices to over 19,000 students. All of these fundraising sites have their limitations, such as you might not receive funds if your project doesn’t achieve enough pledged support, but using them does free you up from being totally reliant on grants to fund your programs.
How you teach is changing quickly. A classroom limited to books is steadily becoming inefficient for teaching. Students are embracing new technologies to seek out and use information and so should their schools. Unfortunately, these new technologies aren’t free and schools, faced with limited resources, are sometimes apprehensive to invest in them.
Fortunately, there are alternative sources for schools to fund technology initiatives. So go, look over Chromebook and Tablet Grants, and start researching your best way to bring new technologies to your school.
Want to Browse More Resources?
Here at Promevo we love to provide you with tips about Chrome and Android devices, as well as Google Apps to help you along on your Google journey. If you would like to look over more guides and white papers, check out Promevo’s Resource Page.
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