Ways for Teachers to Supplement Their Income

“The best thing a human being can do is to help another human being know more.” – Charlie Munger

I’ve been very blessed to be able to train teachers and teach students in over 20 countries. In 2009, I began my journey as a connected educator and learned how to use social media and web tools to share my knowledge and materials. In the process, I also discovered how to supplement my income. The clickable Thinglink image below provides resources and tips. I recently presented a webinar about this topic, which you can find on Simple K12. Teachers are rarely paid enough. I hope these ideas will help you find the funds to support your family, attend conferences free, get freebies for your class, or help you spread your ideas and passion! This is my gift to you for teacher appreciation week.


Try one of these ideas and share your resource with me so I can help you get the word out on my social networks.

If you enjoyed these ideas, you may want to get your copy of The 30 Goals for Teachers or my $5.99 ebook, Learning to Go, which has digital/mobile activities for any device and editable/printable handouts and rubrics.

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Mighty Sound & Fun!

Thanks to Mighty Dwarf and Lisa Christen, I had the opportunity to try this 360° miniature speaker with a built-in mp3 that turns any surface into a speaker. I rarely do commercial products on this blog and you will notice my sidebars are Ad Free. For the past few years I have been traveling to various countries to train teachers and teach students. I was excited when I received my Mighty Dwarf speaker and saw how tiny they were and easy to pack. Don’t let the size full you, though, because this speaker turn surfaces into speakers by using vibration resonance to amplify sound through the surface. I now use the Mighty Dwarf as my iPad/iPod/Android/laptop speaker and because they amplify sound they are even great for presentations. They come with a USB cable so it is easy to plug in and charge. The price is pretty reasonable for a speaker at $69.95, which includes shipping and handling. I was shopping for speakers for my iPad and found this one was cheaper and smaller than most on the market. Plus, the Mighty Dwarf is a lot of fun and comes in various cool colors. I chose a metallic dark blue. The best part about this speaker, though, is the fun and engagement factor. I have had tons of fun seeing how various surfaces amplify sound and have learned unintentionally about sound amplification, vibrations and surfaces. This makes the speaker a great learning tool as well! I won’t spoil any of your experiments but I really loved jamming to music by sticking the speaker to my friend’s refrigerator! This is a good option if you’re in the market for speakers and you will have a lot of fun with the Mighty Dwarf speaker. If you teach science or any kind of video/sound production class this speaker can also be used to teach certain principles and theories. Check out the video below and the Mighty Dwarf site! I really enjoyed this review of the Mighty Dwarf Speaker that shows you pictures of how tiny it is!

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Free Webinar: How to be a Viral Educator

On Thursday, September 8th, 2011, join me for a free webinar: How to be a Viral Educator! Thanks to SimpleK12, I will be offering this webinar as a part of a series.

Time: 1hr; 12:30pm Los Angeles, 2:30pm Houston, 3:30pm NYC, 8:30pm London, 9:30pm Paris, 10:30pm Istanbul/Athens

Register here to join & for more time zones, https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/703094890

You will walk away from this webinar with:

  • An understanding of the importance of letting the public know ways in which we are engaging students.
  • Some PR and Marketing tips for spreading your message.
  • Effective outlets and ways to spread a viral message.
  • Suggestions for leaving a positive digital footprint.

Upcoming Simple K12 Webinars I will be hosting:


Invite a friend or a few friends, after all this is a free event!

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Education Transformation Through Social Media

Part 1 of the Education Transformation Through Collaborative Voices series

ruth cohenson quote

In a recent #Edchat discussion I reflected, “There are more educators than politicians involved in education, yet politicians make the majority of education policy decisions. How do we change this dynamic?” One of the drawbacks of undergoing training as an educator is that we rarely get training in the art of spreading messages. We don’t learn how to connect with an audience, how to make our presentations/workshops memorable, or how to get a message to be viral through various media outlets. Fortunately, I started off in the business field. I went to a magnet school for 4 years that focused on business and weekly I gave presentations to persuade top business leaders to fund our school. I was a part of Toastmasters, marketing clubs/classes, and competed regularly in speech competitions. By the time I had entered college, I had already given presentations to an audience of over 500. In college I graduated with a minor in Communication and spent years studying communication theory and public speaking.

Why Educators Could Do With Some Marketing Training

This training has helped me immensely as an educator who cares about transformation, because the reality is that the media and politicians have a firm grounding in this type of training, therefore, know how to persuade their audiences into their beliefs. They may only be a few compared to educators but clearly this training and their connections provide them with the ability to be heard by audiences worldwide and implement various education policies. They spread their messages about what education reform should be, which include “firing teachers and focusing on standardized tests.” Examples of these messages include the recent Waiting for Superman documentary watched by millions, Michelle Rhee making the cover of Time, and Oprah’s various shows with John Legend and others voicing their opinions about education reform.

The Damage

Educators have seen how these policies harm children and the learning process. The typical child worldwide attends school 180 to 200 days a year. The typical child sits in a desk at least 4 hours a day and is drilled with information as the teacher lectures. Rarely do our children get to move, play, explore their interests, experiment with knowledge, or communicate what they have learned. Drilling, worksheets, and sitting in desks being silent does not motivate children to become lifelong learners. Instead, it kills their creativity and curiosity. Without a voice to question and figure out the meaning of what they have learned, students begin to lose the ability to problem solve and critical think effectively.

So How Do We Begin to Spread Our Message of Education Transformation?

As an educator who cares about transformation I believe we need to collect our voices worldwide and collaborate to impact education policy worldwide. We can do this through social media. With Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter alone we have the ability to spread a message to millions and impact an audience of millions worldwide. We have the ability to impact our world in a positive manner. In a series of posts, we will explore various ways to spread a message through various social networks in order to transform current education systems. I describe this in my Keynote that I gave for the Plymouth E-Learning Conference in April.

5 Tips to Keep in Mind When Crafting Your Message

Although we will explore how to craft our messages in the various social media outlets, there are some tips to keep in mind for spreading any type of message. These include:

  • Remember your audience- We have a tough audience, because parents, students, community leaders, administrators, and other educational stakeholders have experience in the education system. They have formed opinions based on them getting through the traditional style of education and believe often if they did it then our students should be able. Even if they should, why educate this way? When we craft our messages we have to step into their shoes, figure out the arguments and preconceived notions we have to combat.
  • Appeal to the senses- We live in a multimedia world. Our presentations should be visually appealing, drive to the point versus being littered with words, and include effects that reinforce the media. The Shift Happens videos have 20 million views and have had an impact worldwide. You will notice they are professionally done with great music, visuals, and effects.
  • Share stories- Stories and examples of what you do in your class and how students respond are powerful. Often seeing students excited about learning changes many minds.
  • Craft your message according to the medium- Remember that each social media forum has its own language. The way we impact an audience on Facebook is different than the way we send that message on Twitter. On Twitter we have hashtags but this won’t appeal to many Facebook users who do not use Twitter. Knowing the language of the medium helps us understand the best way to craft our messages. This is why I take time to lurk and observe the way people communicate on the medium.
  • Convey Your Passion- The most important tip to remember is to believe in your message and inspire others with your passion. I have seen presenters speak without any of the 4 above but had so much passion their audience was held captive. Passion impacts and transforms opinions. If you lose your passion then move onto the message you are passionate about.

I believe that when enough of the educators in social networks gather and begin to spread their messages of what education transformation looks like to the rest of the world, we will begin to see the transformation take place. We will drown out the voices of the politicians, celebrities, and media who think firing teachers and focusing on standardized tests is education reform.

What tips do you have? What do you believe education transformation should look like? How will you spread that message?

More Resources


Reflect on what messages you spread about education transformation. Do the messages reflect your passion? What can you do to spread your message to a wider audience?

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Education Transformation Through Collaborative Videos

Part 2 of the Education Transformation Through Collaborative Voices series originally posted on the Teach Paperless Blog!

Social media is having an incredible impact on various aspects of our lives. CNN and the Huffington Post reported the impact of social media during the recent tragedies that have struck Japan. The underlying message was that social media has allowed people to communicate important messages through powerful real-time images and sharing their experiences. With Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube alone we have the ability to spread a message and impact an audience of millions worldwide. We have the ability to impact our world in a positive manner. Visuals are powerful as are stories shared through multimedia. In a series of posts, we will explore various ways to spread a message through various social networks in order to transform current education systems. I describe this in detail in my Keynote that I gave for the Plymouth E-Learning Conference in April.

Why Try to Spread Your Message?

Education is one of those hot topics. Everyone has an opinion because everyone has experience with the education system. Powerful stories and messages are already being heard by millions regarding education. You have heard the ones spread by Oprah, Michelle Rhee, John Legend, and various presidents, prime ministers, and leaders worldwide. These are the most prominent messages that have impacted wide audiences. Waiting for Superman was a documentary heard by millions that basically shared powerful stories. The audience was motivated by these stories to act. Education policy was impacted by the stories shared in this documentary.

What is missing is the voices of educators who are already transforming the way their students learn. We live in educator communities where we witness the beauty of what our colleagues are accomplishing with their students, but outside this community lies the general public and people who decide education policy and they rarely hear about the amazing learning taking place. We need for the stories of educators impacting education in a positive way to go viral and drown out the other voices negatively impacting education policy and hindering transformation.

Collaborative Voices on Video

In 2005 YouTube was created and is still one of the best tools for spreading a message. Web Monitoring reports that in 2010 Youtube exceeded 2 billion views a day which is double the prime-time audience of all 3 major US broadcast networks combined. Educators have a free powerful tool that attracts audiences worldwide to spread their messages about what they believe learning should look like.

Can an educator’s video go viral or even be heard by large audiences? Yes! Scott Mcleod’s and Karl Fisch’s Shift Happens videos have been seen by over 20 million people worldwide. Their message about the importance of effective technology integration has impacted many schools worldwide.

So how do you spread your message through video?

  • Define your vision and determine your message
    • It must be succinct, clear, and powerful
  • Ask a group of educators to help you support your vision
    • Organize this through a Ning, Wiki, or Google Doc
  • Combine with a nice video/audio editor (I recommend Camtasia)
  • Add creative commons music
  • Have each contributor spread it like fire in presentations, through blogs and social networks, in e-mails to colleagues, or in the staff newsletter
  • Make it available for anyone to download and upload through a Creative Commons License
  • Upload in various video channels including Youtube, BlipTV, and Vimeo

Examples of Collaborative Videos

My We Connect Project with various versions seen in various countries

Daniel Pink’s What’s Your Sentence? video is seen by over 12,000 worldwide

Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir – ‘Lux Aurumque’ is seen by millions worldwide

My newest collaborative project to spread the word about our free online Reform Symposium e-conference to get a wider audience to hear more messages! By the way, please feel free to attend our upcoming confern

What message will you attempt to spread to transform education?


Try spreading your message of what great things you do in class!

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