Sunday, 21 June 2015

Crowdfunding for Edu... in 3D?

Image result for 3dhubs
I wrote two posts yesterday which were at opposite end of the sales process, and at different stages of the technology adoption cycle in education. One article detailed how challenging educators can be to engage with initially, the other suggested how sales people in education could become a thing of the past

In one of these posts I made an offer of assisting Chris Beyerle with his Crowdfunding projectfor a 3D printer. Why focus on Chris' campaign when there are hundreds of educator crowdfunding causes out there? Good question. The answer is;

1) Because he asked! He asked if I could share details of the crowd funding... So I did.

2) I feel that alternative marketing models in EdTech are needed, and EdTech marketing budgets contributing to these projects makes sense to me.

3) Through my involvement with Get2ISTE I have had a few enquiries from educators asking for advice on their crowdfunding causes.

4) Chris supported #SaveEdShelf. As someone who frequently writes about culture and core values in my blog, these things matter to me... a lot! 

Furthermore, if you look at some of my ambitious goals in this Fox of EdTech post, not only does Chris seem to be a "selfless giver" helping others out as and when he can... the proposal below also involves collaboration and could help another organisation with their sales efforts.

But how can I effectively help with this project? Providing any assistance poses nothing but challenges... That was until last night. The problems included;

Lack of Funds
As a pre-revenue startup/aspiring Community Manager looking for work (Depending on what kind of day I'm having), I am not in a position to contribite financially. I wish I was! But my time is all I can offer with causes like this at the moment.

Parents and Educators
I understand that a lot of crowdfunded contributions comes from parents and educators. With parental contributions I would have thought this might be a duplication on anything that PTA would already be doing. 

If I share details of the campaign on social media the message will reach more educators than any other group. As far as I am concerned educator contributions kind of feels like "robbing peter to pay paul" with crowd funding causes.

Educators already clock up £7 billion of unpaid overtime and $400 of their own money on school supplies.

Surely there is a better model and source of potential funding than educators paying for other educators projects on top of these already shocking statistics?!

Echo Chamber
Then there is that fact any information that I send out may have already seen it via Chris' message. So there is a need to "get out of the Echo Chamber".

Education Suppliers
Education suppliers re-directing some of their marketing spend might be the most feasible option to the challenges above. But there are two problems with this;

1) "Selling" this idea to supplier has not proved successful so far.

2) Even if this was of interest, the demand for educator causes may be greater than any marketing budget suppliers contributed.

Some Solutions... In 3D?

4th Grade Inspiration

Just as I was about the hit publish on yesterdays post to look for support for Chris' crowd funding cause, Susan Bearden Tweets details of a collaborative project where her 4th grade class printed a prosthetic hand. Her students have been put forward for because of the inter-departmental collaboration.

Please share this link with as many people as you can...
These kids deserve the recognition for their hard work.
Through Tweeting information about these two educators 3D projects, some 3D printer organisations following me on social media. I check out their accounts and guess what I find? Not one, but two potential solutions to the above challenges.

3D Hub
My digging around leads me to 3DHubs website, I check the organisation out and find they have an interesting model... One that could see schools generate income and have more businesses engage with the school.

Own a 3D Printer?
So you bought an awesome 3D printer, but it's sitting idly most of the time? Put it to good use by sharing it with those around you and make some extra cash along the way.

3DHub is also looking for a Community Manager intern, I tweet out that I would be happy to help out in education with some community management work.

If you are in a school and have a printer please do yourself, Chris and me a favour, sign up to 3D hubs community and add your school to this map.

Local Partnerships
I'm sure a lot of schools are looking at 3D printers, and crowd funding may be the only way of procuring one. How many of these crowdfunding campaigns get fulfilled?

I've found 186 live causes with a total goal amout of $328,355 live campaigns with $36,298 raised (See Crowdfunding Causes 3D Printers doc), a lot of this will come from staff and parents.

But how many of these causes will be fulfilled, with $292,057 still to raise?

But what if... The schools crowdfund for a 3D printer was to save local businesses money? What if the schools fund-raising was pitched to local businesses as the printer being a shared resource for the local community? This would tie in with 3D Hubs mission, which is 

"To make 3D printing locally accessible to everyone by "unlocking" the world's idle 3D printers, facilitating transitions between 3D Hubs (Printer owners) and people that want to make 3D Prints (Makers)"

Where better to have a 3D printers than in education?

The Pitch
Write to local businesses and ask them for a contribution to the schools 3D printer crowd fund. In return for this contribution they would have access to the printer.

Who knows where this partnership could end up? This could be the start of some relationships that led to the kind of collaboration that Susan Bearden's students have been put forward for an award.

As this ties into 3D Hubs mission, perhaps they could help spread the word about school crowdfunding within their community... and educators could make sure that schools with printers were aware of 3D Hubs community.

Secure crowdfunding for edu, while helping 3D Hubs with their mission... and not a sales call in sight!

I'd be keen to hear any comments about this idea. In the mean time, to get the ball rolling...

3D Hub, I'd happy to do some Community Management work in edu and would appreciate if if you could make your contacts aware of Chris' project.

Educators, you may want to check out 3D Hubs offer for schools and their 3D Printing Contest

21st June Update 
After writing this post 3D Hubs got in touch and liked the sound of this idea

3D Hubs and Collaboration in Education

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