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Learning at its Best

IncitEd: Tools for a Learning Revolution

IncitEd: Grassroots Educational Innovations

The crowdfunding platform designed for educators, by educators

My friend Alan Burnce is an experienced high school English teacher, having taught in inner New York City and rural Oregon for nearly a decade. Incidentally, he’s a graduate of Stanford and of Harvard’s school of education. In other words, he’s a well educated, experienced teacher, and he’s passionate about mentoring students. He’s the kind of  educator all young people should have the opportunity to work with.

Last spring, Alan was laid off due to budget cuts. But he hasn’t given up the work he’s been doing with students. He learned of an innovative education model in Massachusetts called North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens and decided to replicate that model, has students ready to join, and is currently seeking funding.

A nonprofit called P:ear “builds positive relationships with homeless and transitional youth through education, art, and recreation.” For eleven years, they have worked respectfully to rebuild the whole person, helping to lift youth out of desperate situations and return hope to their lives. P:ear operates like a school, even holding regular school hours, but they aren’t qualified for school funding.

Ten years ago, a mother started a homeschooling cooperative called the Village Home Education Resource Center where families can meet and learn together in a loving environment. She worked under the public system for two years, but after being stifled by their regulations, she finally had to cut ties with the district and look for private funding.

These are all real stories of real educators in Portland, Oregon, and stories like these exist all over the world. I could go on for hours (or pages) about educators I know personally who are fighting the good fight to make education relevant, alive, and consequential for their students. But as we know all too well, these efforts often persevere in isolation, behind the closed doors of a classroom or organization that is doing brilliant work.

How can we make such efforts more collaborative, public, and grassroots? How can we support educators every step of the way as they bring their good ideas to life?

Educators are often missing two vital elements when they want to implement creative solutions in their classrooms, homeschooling cooperatives, nonprofit organizations, after-school programs, etc.: Funds and a unifying platform to bring people together.

They have the ideas, the passion, the drive. But in a system that’s drowning in debt and bureaucracy, educators often don’t have access to the money or tools necessary to bring their innovations to life. I’ve been working with a team of people to remedy this problem.

Introducing IncitEd: Grassroots Educational Innovations, the brainchild of my business partner and fellow educator, Kevilina Burbank, and me. We want to give education back to educators, broadly defined.

Maybe an educator looks like someone keeping kids safe and in school in Syria or keeping them off the streets in Portland. Maybe an educator works at a homeschooling cooperative, providing kids and families a place to learn together. Or maybe it’s someone who teaches kids to fly, literally. Whoever educators are, and however they’re defined, they deserve a chance to make the difference most of them have been working fervently for their entire careers.

IncitEd is just getting started. Right now we’re testing our idea among friends, family, and other teachers via our IncitEd crowdfunding campaign. We’ll be doing our alpha test in three weeks with two projects (to fund P:ear’s GED program and to fund Alan’s efforts to start a North Star replication in Portland). Our beta test will follow shortly after with a dozen or more projects.

We’re asking for two things to help us incite this learning revolution:

  1. Go to our Facebook page, “Like” us, and tell your friends about us.
  2. Visit our Incited campaign to learn more about what we’re up to, and let others know about it if you think IncitEd is worth promoting.

If we democratize change, helping it catch fire from the ground up, innovation will spread faster and be more connected to the people who need it most: learners around the world. That’s our hypothesis anyway. What do you think?

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About jaimerwood

Jaime R. Wood is a writer, educator, and co-founder of IncitED: The Crowdfunding Community for Education, www.incited.org. She is passionate about helping teachers and supporters of education bring worthwhile education initiatives to life.

Discussion

4 thoughts on “IncitEd: Tools for a Learning Revolution

  1. Reblogged this on and commented:
    Kevilina and Jaime are doing important work here. There are more than enough people and organizations around to galvanize a genuine worldwide revolution in school and education. But there is and always has been a disparity between us. Now though we have the tools to connect with each other. IncitEd will give us the opportunity to provide and access financial support to and from education models we believe in, and finally create some alternatives and competition in what has for too long been a stagnant educational marketplace. We will also have the means to scale other organizations models around the world e.g. if you wanted to open your own Sudbury school or Summerhill. Please have a look at the IncitEd website and if you can, donate a little. We have an opportunity to more effectively change people’s lives, and we shouldn’t waste it.

    Posted by bernardmoran | December 10, 2012, 7:06 am
  2. Thank you for this work and sharing it. I’ve been aware of places like North Star and the Purple Thistle for a while – it would be great to support the kinds of work they do and support partnerships between schools and similar organizations that can help schools be more like those organizations.

    As IncitEd picks up projects, I hope you’ll showcase their work here, as well as on the IncitEd site.

    All the best,
    C

    Posted by Chad Sansing | December 11, 2012, 10:18 am
    • Hi Chad. Thanks for your comment. We’ll be sure to keep everyone updated on our progress. We’ll be alpha testing our site in the next three weeks, and we plan to launch a beta test in 3-6 months with at least 12 projects, some of which will be international. It’s very exciting to see all the ways we’ll be able to support innovative programs once we’re up and running full force.

      Posted by jaimerwood | December 11, 2012, 11:20 am

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: Resources for the Revolution « black board, white chalk - December 21, 2012

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