About the Program
How is one selected to participate in the Teacher Wallets program?
Teachers in the Meridian Joint School District #2 (ID), iZone (NYC), Piedmont School District (AL), and Utica Community School District (MI) can apply to participate by filling out the online application. DonorsChoose.org and SRI International will invite a group of teachers to participate in the program based on the applications received and provide further details and instructions to those selected.
Teachers can apply as an individual or as part of a team of teachers. If you opt to apply as a team of teachers, fill out the online application and, when prompted in Part A, complete the questions asking you to provide information about your other team members. DonorsChoose.org and SRI International will consider these team applications together.
If you received funding during the summer pilot program, you can apply again for funding in the fall—but we can’t guarantee that you’ll be selected again. Unlike the summer pilot, the fall program is only for K-8 teachers.
What is the benefit if applying as a team of teachers?
There are overall benefits for applying as a team. If teachers are doing planning or other curricular work collaboratively as a department or team, they are better served by applying as a group because, otherwise, they may not all be awarded individual wallets. We are offering group and individual applications because we want to better understand if / how engaging in this process with colleagues affects adoption and use.
If three teachers, for example, opt to apply as a team, is that equivalent to three wallets?
Yes. If selected, the team of three teachers will receive the equivalent amount of three individual wallets to use in their classrooms. It is important to note that a team of teachers can only apply for funding for one grade level within K-8 and for one core subject area class. For example, a team of three 5th grade science teachers can apply for funding to support digital courseware use for their three 5th grade science classes. Note that when teachers apply as a team they should individually indicate in their application how many students they teach in their individual classrooms (e.g., 26) and not the total amount of students for the three teachers (so not 78, for example).
For additional information, check out a behind the scenes
look at how the purchasing process works through DonorsChoose.org. You can also download the audio version of the informational webinar
that walks you through the purchasing process from start to finish.
Choosing Digital Courseware
What can I buy?
You can request any type of student-facing courseware (i.e., educational games, apps, or other software to be used on desktops, laptops, or tablet computers), provided that the total cost doesn’t exceed your wallet’s funds. The courseware must be intended for student use in Math, English/Language Arts, Science, or Social Studies. Digital courseware only applies to instructional software programs and does not include hardware, such as tablets or laptops. Additionally, no course management tools
can be purchased solely for the teacher’s benefit. Make sure to check with your district’s point of contact to see if your district places any other restrictions on the types of courseware you can use.
How do I request my resources?
If you are selected to participate in this program, you need to register as a teacher on DonorsChoose.org and create a project for the digital courseware materials of your choice. Make sure that the total cost of your project is less than the amount you’ve been granted. (You can find this amount in the email confirming your participation in the program.) A week after your project is approved, DonorsChoose.org staff will review your project and provide full funding as long as it is (1) entirely made up of digital courseware, and (2) the total cost aligns with your grant from the Gates Foundation. You’ll then receive an email with further instructions on how to access your courseware.
How do I request digital courseware not available on DonorsChoose.org?
If the courseware you need isn’t available through AKJ Books, you can still request it. Place a special request for digital courseware by selecting “Special request for materials not available through the DonorsChoose.org vendor directory” in Step 2 of the project creation process, and provide as much information as you can. The DonorsChoose.org operations team will work with you to obtain licenses for those products.
Can I request additional funds from the DonorsChoose.org donor community for my project?
Yes, DonorsChoose.org will be able to contribute to these projects while they’re on their site. However, we recommend that you keep your total project cost under your wallet limit; otherwise, we can’t guarantee that your project will be fully funded.
Is there training involved with any of the courseware options?
Training requirements and availability vary by vendor and product. Apps, for example, don’t come with training, but comprehensive products like Reasoning Mind often do. The wallets will only cover training and professional development when it is bundled with the learning technology itself, like with Reasoning Mind or ST Math. The wallets don’t cover training or professional development independent of products, meaning that they don’t provide general training on teaching with digital courseware. It’s up to the teacher / school / district to investigate the products. We suggest you use Graphite and EdSurge’s product reviews to do so, as they provide comprehensive coverage of most of the leading digital courseware on the market.
Is the courseware available compatible with my district’s technology requirements?
Generally, the products listed for purchase are compatible with school technology needs and requirements. However, it is up to the districts to investigate the products, including tech requirements, and handle implementation.
Purchasing Digital Courseware
What are points?
DonorsChoose.org uses a points system to guide teachers to submit projects that are likely to be funded. Teachers must use points in order to post classroom requests and earn points back by responding promptly to emails and requests from DonorsChoose.org.
As a participant in this program, you’ll have guaranteed funding from the Gates Foundation so DonorsChoose.org will adjust your account to at least 6 points, allowing you to create a project for more than $800. If you aren’t seeing at least 6 points in your account one week after confirming your participation in the program, contact the DonorsChoose.org team.
How do I receive my resources once my project is fully funded?
If you’ve ordered your courseware through AKJ Books, you’ll receive an email with instructions on how to access your courseware. If you’ve ordered other kinds of courseware through special request, DonorsChoose.org work with you to make sure you get your digital courseware.
When will my digital courseware license expire?
The courseware provider will determine the expiration date of your license. Check your courseware’s listing and details to determine when your license will expire.
Am I able to return a product I am not satisfied with and request a new one?
If you need to return or exchange an item, immediately contact DonorsChoose.org and they will work with you to determine whether they can return your product.
Who will handle the contracts with the courseware vendors?
DonorsChoose.org oversees this process and handles all relationships with courseware vendors for courseware purchased through their website (once teachers create and submit a project).