Mindblown Labs strives to make crowd-sourced funding a mainstream solution to achieving educational innovation. The Ed Tech startup uses a game, Mindblown Life (MBL), to teach young adults critical money management skills and is currently raising crowd-sourced funds through a Kickstarter campaign. In 10 short days, the campaign has raised more than $44,000 and needs just $15,000 more to reach its initial funding goal. Very few educational projects obtain significant levels of success on Kickstarter, but this isn’t the case for Mindblown Life. With 20 days remaining, MBL’s campaign is currently on pace to become the most successful mobile game campaign in Kickstarter history and to be the second educational game campaign to raise over $100,000 through the Kickstarter platform (the only other one is Code Hero, which raised nearly $171,000 in February, 2012).
The educational community is well-aware of crowdsourcing and its possibilities for the field. Often, we talk about crowdsourcing in education as though it’s a foreign concept. It is, however, rather well-ingrained in our system; crowdsourcing is an extension of the collaboration that we encourage in our classrooms. Examples of crowdsourcing in education include: content creation from such activities as compiling lecture videos and presentations from diverse internet sources; sharing, downloading and remixing lesson plans online; and such initiatives as California’s recent legislation to provide free, open-source textbooks to students in popular introductory classes. Additionally, teachers have been using Donorschoose.org to secure classroom resources since the site launched in 2000. This makes crowd-sourced funding one of the longest-standing applications of crowdsourcing in education.
While crowd-sourced funding is not new in education, it is also not generally done on a large scale. Tinkatolli, the second most successful educational game on Kickstarter, raised just over $30,000—half of Mindblown Life’s initial goal. Regarding the reason that Mindblown Life is using Kickstarter, even though it’s still unproven for educational projects, CEO and Founder Jason Young explains, “Crowd-sourced funding is a lot like voting, but with money. Each contributor is making a decision and adding his/her voice to a group declaring, ‘We want this!’ We believed there was a major need for a game-changing financial literacy solution, so we decided to let the broader community vote on our game.”
Young goes on to explain that fixing our education system is going to take a tremendous amount of work and effort from us all. He believes that crowd-sourced funding is a potent way to initiate and mobilize this collective effort. “We’re still early in the campaign, but we’ve received support from many different types of people throughout the country, up and down the socioeconomic ladder and across generations. Our contributors include business professionals, doctors, lawyers, tech entrepreneurs, and even the recently unemployed. They include administrators, teachers, parents, and students themselves.” Young and the rest of the Mindblown Labs Team believe that their campaign is blazing the trail for more educational projects on Kickstarter and other large, crowd-sourced funding platforms. They firmly believe that such an influx of ideas and projects on these platforms is necessary to stimulate more innovation in the field of education.
Crowd-sourced funding has substantial potential to improve our education system. As it stands, there are too many untested, game-changing ideas and too few individuals/institutions, who are typically very conservative with respect to funding, making decisions regarding whether to fund these projects. Educational, crowd-sourced funding projects, such as Mindblown Life’s, represent an opportunity to solve monumental problems with the support of the greater community. Each idea has the potential to positively and dramatically transform the education landscape. If you agree, add your voice to the clamor of Mindblown Life’s supporters and help make Kickstarter a place where educational innovations thrive.
Mindblown Life’s Kickstarter campaign runs through November 1, 2012. To contribute funds, visit mindblownlabs.com/ks.
Like MBL’s Facebook Fan Page at: facebook.com/MindblownLabs
Follow MBL on Twitter: @MindblownLabs
Visit MBL on Kickstarter (through 11/1) at: mindblownlabs.com/ks
Samantha Kotey is the editor for AvatarGeneration and has a background in educational technology and virtual worlds. A mom of two, she is passionate about all things related to toys and technology.