Last year as I was finishing up the edits for my Learning on the Blog collection of blog posts from my decade of blogging, I decided to take whatever royalties the book earned over its lifetime and give the money to a deserving group, school, educator, etc. Here’s what I wrote in the introduction:
Finally, I’ve decided to donate all of the after tax proceeds from the sale of this book to support technology initiatives for schools that need them the most. Once a year, I’ll detail those efforts in my blog, the first installment of which will come in May 2012. I’ve reaped more than enough rewards from these posts in their online form; hopefully they’ll help some deserving kids make their own forays into the blogosphere in meaningful ways.
Now while I was hoping the book would sell hundreds of thousands of copies and that I’d be able to give away six-figure donations (#smiling) the reality is that in the four months it was out in 2011, it sold…um…a few. Enough to make my royalty payment about $1,000. (NOTE: This is a great reason to go out and buy the book this year so that I’ll have lots more money to throw around next year! #shameless)
Anyway, here’s my dilemma: my thinking about how to give away the money has changed a bit. I’m not sure how much of an effect $1,000 will have on any one school’s ability to change practice in a big way. I know it could provide opportunities for teachers and students to learn with technology, but I’m wondering if there might be a more effective way to put it to use.
My new idea is to offer it up as a grant that would be open for anyone to request with the following guidelines:
- The requestor should be a classroom teacher.
- The money will be used to create and share an artifact of high quality. (No “burping into VoiceThread” as our friend Gary Stager would say.)
- Students must be involved in the process.
- Finally, the product should be something that provokes larger conversations around the effects of technology on learning.
As I’ve written often here, I’m convinced we are at a very important moment in this conversation, and I’m convinced we need to do whatever we can to change the narrative. I’m wondering if $1,000 is enough for someone to get really creative and motivated to make something that will do just that.
So, what do you think? THIS IS NOT THE CALL TO SUBMIT IDEAS FOR THE MONEY! ;0) I hope to do that in a week or so when I flesh out the process. This is, however, the call to get some feedback on what you think I should do.