If you have been around the Miss Tech Queen site and YouTube channel then you know I love teaching my students about coding. And . . . one of my favorite coding tools is Ozobots! These small, robotic spheres are a great tool for teaching coding in the classroom. Today I'm here to help you over the number one problem with Ozobots . . . funding. Getting started with a new tech tool means money, probably more than a teacher wants to spend on their own. So we are going to focus on some easy ways to get Ozobots into your classroom!
Ozobots are an investment! But even with that in mind, there is still a substantial cost to getting starting with Ozobots. In fact, a class set of Ozobots is going to cost two to three thousand dollars. Okay – don't close this post yet! I know that is a lot of money, and that is EXACTLY why I'm writing this post.
As I'm sure you are all painfully aware, teachers are not made of money. Because of this, it can feel overwhelming to try to expose your students to fun new tech when you don't have unlimited funds to purchase everything you need.
Being The Tech Queen means I use a lot of tech in my classroom, but I'm not made of money, and I have the same school budget limitations that you do. I've had to find creative ways to fund technology in my classroom over the years. Here are some of my favorite ways to save money and still get awesome tech gadgets and tools for the classroom!
Sounds great, but how can I afford Ozobots?
While a classroom set of Ozobots is expensive, don't let that discourage you! These small robots are worth it! Not only will your students learn about coding but they will love it too! So, it's worth a little extra time and effort to find funding for Ozobots.
There are many options available to help you get funding for classroom resources. With a little time and tenacity, you can get the tech you need in no time. Here are some tips and ideas for getting funding for classroom resources like Ozobots.
Start with the School
Any time I need funding for my classroom I always start with the school. You never know if the administrator has some funding available unless you ask. By asking, you also have the opportunity to let your administrator know that this is a resource you are interested in pursuing if the school is not able to fund it.
In addition to your administrator, there are some other school related groups to check with. First, check with your school district. The technology department will likely have a different budget than your campus. They just might have some funds for new technology that can be used.
Many school districts also have an educational foundation that helps to support and fund purchases for the district. If your district has a foundation, reach out to them to see if they have funds available. They may have a specific grant program that you can apply to in order to get funding.
You can also reach out to your PTA / PTO organization with your request. These organizations exist for the purpose of supporting school events and activities. All those school fundraisers are generally run through the PTA / PTO, so there is a good chance they have funds available. Find out the process they use for dispersing funds and then make your request known!
If you can't get the funding you need through your school or district, don't worry! There are still many other options available. Don't be afraid to go out and ask businesses in your community for donations. Local businesses love to help teachers but don't always know how.
It's a Tax Deduction!
Think about local businesses that may be interested in investing in the education of their local youth. It's a good idea to have a donation request letter written on school letterhead. Not only will this legitimize your request, but it can also serve as a receipt if a donation is made. Have a donation receipt will allow the business to claim their donation as a tax deduction.
A lot of businesses make charitable donations every year. Let them know your class is an option and that you have a need. One of the best things about making a charitable donation to a school is it's tax-deductible! It also shows that the business has an invested interest in the community.
Many national chains have programs set-up for making community donations. Stores like Target, Home Depot and Chick-fil-A are all known for giving back to the community. Talk with a store manager to find out how to apply for their programs. But these big chains aren't the only ones that donate. Don't forget your locally owned small businesses too!
Some businesses to consider include:
- Parent Owned businesses
- Business near the school
- Businesses with a tech focus
Let Students Help!
Let your students be part of the process when it comes to requesting donations. Have them write a class letter explaining why this technology would benefit them.
If you want to go BIG, plan a tech expo and give your students the opportunity to show off their new learning to the community. Be sure to feature the local business that helped fund your new tech with a booth or big thank you posters featuring their name and logo. You can even invite your district media personnel to cover the event on their social media pages or local news! Free advertising is always a plus!
Organizations and Grants to Help Teachers
There are so many amazing organizations out there whose main purpose is to help teachers get the funding they need for classroom supplies. Some are geared specifically towards certain grade levels or subject areas, so be sure to check the requirements before applying.
Some of my favorite organizations that offer assistance to teachers include:
This awesome company helps you organize a fundraiser for your school or classroom by sending in old toner and inkjet cartridges they pay you for. Once you sign-up simply notify the school families of the opportunity to earn free money. Ask them to bring in their old printer cartridges instead of throwing them away. You can collect these cartridges all year long! Place a box or container in your school's front office or lobby area to make it easy for parents and students to drop off their cartridges.
Chances are, you have heard of Donors Choose before. This organization provides classroom teachers with a platform where they can make a public request for classroom resources. Then they pair these requests with people who want to support them. Think of it like crowdfunding for your classroom. It's simple to create a Donors Choose request. Once your request is live, make sure to look for any special matching programs that may be going on through Donors Choose. Also, make sure that you share your Donors Choose project with your friends and family. Get it out on social media and ask people you know to continue sharing it.
To get started use this link http://share.donorschoose.org/sP8ml. This special link allows you to receive a free $50 to start! When you submit your first project, Donors Choose will match donations to their project during its first week. That means if you get a donation of $20, it will automatically double to $40!!!
This unique organization not only pairs you with donors who want to support your technology needs, it also includes lesson plans, fundraising ideas, and networking opportunities for you to connect with other teachers. It's like a gift registry for your classroom!
These are only a few of the organizations that you can turn to for tech funding for your classroom. Also, consider spending some time talking to other teachers who have had success with funding projects. It's also a great way to get in some collaboration with other teachers.
Go Right to the Source
The folks at Ozobot.com are excited to help your students learn about coding. They want to reward amazing teachers with the supplies they need to get started.
With the Ozobot Certified Educator (CE) ambassador program, the Ozobot team recognizes outstanding teachers who use STEAM in their classrooms.
The two-year program gets you a FREE 12-bot Evo Classroom kit, Ozobot swag, the opportunity to be featured on the OzoBlog, and even co-present at events and webinars. It's a great way to get started with Ozobots! You can even learn from other teachers who are also using Ozobots in their classrooms at the same time!
Getting Started With Ozobots
Once you have your Ozobots in hand, you are going to be so excited to try out all of the fun coding activities your students will be learning. I have so many fun and engaging Ozobot activities in the Miss Tech Queen store. They are sure to fill the year with awesome coding activities your students will love.
To get you started here is one of my most popular Ozobot mazes for you to try out for FREE!
Be sure to pin this page so you can come back for helpful tech funding resources and Ozobot ideas any time!