SMCEDU Needs a Grant + Our Purpose, Our Goals

First, thanks to the members of SMCEDU for creating a strong foundation for a real community, and a real global initiative to improve the quality of social media education in our school systems. We have some wonderful stories of on campus successes, some great resources have been pulled together and most importantly some wonderful connections have been made between teachers.

In short, for being an idea, staffed by a hard working but part time intern (big thanks to Yong C Lee for making this possible), SMCEDU is an early success. But there is much harder work to be done and there is a real need in the overall academic community for the type of support we are seeking to provide.

So today I am writing to seek your help in finding a volunteer grant writer and some foundations to get funding that will take this SMCEDU initiative to another level and help us hire Yong C Lee as a full time program manager. We need $250,000 so we can hire Yong, a "curriculum curator" and another part time program manager to work on developing specific initiatives with our teachers and administrators from around the world. We can start with something as small as $50,000 so we can at least hire Yong full time but we need to go for more so we can expand our efforts and do it right.

So that the vision is a bit more clear, here is a current draft of what I have set out for the program goals

  • Develop a set of resources and links to resources that reside elsewhere which professors can use to help them get social media related classes approved in their schools and offer the best social media focused education possible – ie, case studies, syllabus, courses, suggestions for getting past no, etc…
  • Build the most comprehensive directory of teachers offering social media globally and become the source for schools looking to see what people are offering. This requires building out additional resources on top of the Ning network, ie coding/programming
  • Develop and encourage the development of Open Courseware programs that are Creative Commons licensed and available to other teachers to use and improve upon (using non-comercial share and share alike licenses)
  • Create relationships between local Social Media Club chapters around the world and their local universities so that we can create a path to professionalism for those seeking to be a social media professional, or merely those seeking a chance to use social media as a part of their chosen career
  • To encourage the on-campus development of Social Media Club chapters, empowering students to create their own local communities that can be connected and supported by our global network
  • Offer internship and mentorship programs so as to develop real world professional experiences to supplement the classroom education
  • Develop and offer training for those teachers seeking to offer Social Media classes at their school and/or using social media as part of teaching other subjects
  • To identify and review other social media education offerings outside of our domain
  • Support and increase awareness for other important initiatives of interest to social media professors including but not limited to Classroom 2.0 and Social Media Classroom. To expand this global web of support and partnerships so as to form a network of similarly oriented initiatives for mutual benefit and support.

My recollection from my very early youth is that an education is supposed to prepare you to enter the world and be a valuable contributing member to society. Is that still true? If it is, then the goal of SMCEDU is straight and true. My purpose for SMCEDU has never been more clear – it is to prepare students to be better critical thinkers when it comes to interacting with the world around them, especially focused on a broad set of skills I reference as media literacy. It is also focused on preparing them to enter the real world of work, to provide current workforce literacy which means an understanding of how to interact, create value and leverage social/web technology for the purpose of the organization as opposed to the individual. More broadly, I hope to imbue a sense of community in students so that they see the interconnectedness of the world around them and can take that education to make their world, and ours by extension, a better place.

We could really use your help in securing a grant (or grants) in order to fulfill this mission. Please let us know your thoughts and help us if you can.