Teachers turn to website to fund technology

7:15 AM, Oct 3, 2013   |    comments
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BROOKLYN PARK, Minn. - Jennifer Tollefson's sixth grade classroom at Woodland Elementary is a busy place.  One group of students grab their books and head off in one direction.  Another huddles around Chromebooks to take an assessment.

As with many schools, the technology is wheeled in on a cart that can be shared to many classrooms.

Sharing technology is one way to keep students moving forward in the 21st century, but it's not ideal as teachers discover so much more learning could be happening if every student could access technology throughout their day.

"I wish that my students in Osseo had the same opportunities that any other student in any district had," explained Tollefson, "just because it's so much a part of their future, and it puts them at a little bit of a disadvantage."

The Osseo District is going to voters November 5th with two levy requests.  One addresses technology.  Tollefson would love to see it pass, but she firmly believes she has a responsibililty to create opportunities for her students, so she's turning to the website, Donorschoose.org for help.

The site allows teachers to crowdsource funding for classroom projects.

Tollefson's colleague, Melissa Sanchez used the site to get enough donations for a second classroom computer for her 4th grade classroom.

"It allowed more students to just be able to get on the computer, to access the skills and become a 21st century learner," said Sanchez.

Tollefson is looking to fund iPod Touches for her students.  She plans to use them for language arts, math, social studies and science. 

She is relying on the kindness of strangers, and while it's not a perfect solution, Tollefson sees it as an opportunity.

"Hopefully as more people see the power of this site and more donations come in, other colleagues could become involved and we could all have more technology involved in our classrooms," said Tollefson.

Donorschoose.org gives teachers a limited amount of time to reach their funding goals.  Tollefson has until October 13th to raise the money she needs.  You can view her project here

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