The last couple of months, Corona has turned the world upside down. Or better say from outside to inside, and suddenly we found ourselves as part of an experiment in remote work and digital teaching, which neither of us had fully anticipated, nor schools or universities would have agreed to, if proposed.
Before Corona, using digital tools for teaching was an optional addendum to in-person classes and lectures: nice to have, but not essential. But then suddenly, digital teaching and learning became the only mode that schools and universities operated for weeks. By now, more and more of the social distancing restrictions are slowly lifted and face-to-face meetings become feasible again, but teaching will have changed forever.
Going Beyond Self-Publishing
At the end of June I met Tim Kantereit (@herr_ka_punkt) on Twitter: teacher, blogger, podcaster and organizer of the book sprint “Hybrid Teaching 101”. Jointly with 33 teachers and digital education enthusiasts throughout Germany he has written an entire book on hybrid teaching during and after Corona — and I am really proud that he chose Visual Ink Publishing to publish his book. It is our second #VIP project and you can download a free copy under the CC-BY-SA license from our website (German only)
At first, digital teaching may seem unfamiliar to many, lacking feedback once everyone’s Zoom video is turned off. Let alone choosing a conferencing platform in the first place that abides all privacy requirements. And when the meeting is all set up, there are numerous challenges for successfully transferring knowledge and relating to a course that is held entirely online.
How do I build a strong relationship with my students also digitally?
How do I motivated them in a digital learning setup?
How can I leverage the potential of both in-person meetings and digital tools?
The book offers a rich variety of examples and impulses how these questions can be answered in practice. It is also an invitation to develop ideas yourself and implement them early on in your teaching career. While it’s mostly targeted at young and aspiring teachers, also senior teachers will gain fresh impetus.
Starting with the Crowd
We released the ebook on Saturday June 27, 2020 in the morning, free to download as a PDF from the VIP website and on Apple books. Around noon Tim wrote to me that his Twitter were exploding and by the evening our release tweet had been liked and retweeted more than 200 times!
Within a few days, that number increased beyond 500 times, our book being downloaded several thousand times and becoming the fourth most downloaded free ebook on Apple books for a moment in time.
At this point we realized, that we were on to something exciting and huge. Within a few days, Tim and me came up with a pitch video, set up a crowdfunding campaign on Startnext and hit the start button just five days after the ebook release.
And the campaign took off. After three days of crowdfunding we had reached one third of our anticipated funding and gathered 30+ backers. Now, after just ten days we have surpassed our first crowdfunding goal of €2000 and it’s now time to say Thank You! for all the amazing support we have received.
As for any project the start is subject to lots of uncertainties and at first also Tim and me weren’t entirely confident whether crowdfunding would be the way to go. Especially since the ebook version is still and will ever be free to download as creative commons.
And that’s exactly why we were amazed and grateful for so many people supporting our campaign, which will now give us the chance to print a first edition both as softcover and hardcover at the manufacturing costs. Our goal with this is to reach out also to those people, that are not yet acquainted with digital teaching. But who would like to get a first impression and therefore prefer having a printed book right in their hands.
Reaching the first crowdfunding goal is just the beginning. At this point our campaign has been converted into a flexible campaign, which means, that all additional funding will reach us no matter whether we arrive at our second crowdfunding goal. But the more pre-orders we receive, the larger the first edition that we can print, which will help us to offer the book at a more attractive price even for long-term: more books printed =fewer printing costs per book.
Therefore, please keep sharing the link to our Crowdfunding campaign and tell others about this book project. Together we can inspire much more people within Germany and beyond to leverage the potential of digital teaching.
Some final words
This is the first time I am running a crowdfunding campaign myself and I am super excited how it is going so far. I will update this post after the campaign and share more of our experiences.