Helping Launch the “Possibly Related Classroom Projects” WordPress Plugin for DonorsChoose.org

I get a good number of emails from people asking me to plug their book, blog, project, etc, and normally I just delete them (okay, I save the doozies like, “I’d like to give you the opportunity to let me guest-post on your blog” for laughs on blue days).

But this one was hard to delete:

Hi. My name’s Joe Solomon & I’m a blogger and social media consultant for nonprofits (EngageJoe.com). I’m currently helping to spearhead Social Actions Labs (a grant funded, not-for-profit initiative) – where we’re building web applications that help people connect to actionable opportunities across the web.

More specifically, we’re about to launch a revolutionary DonorsChoose.org WordPress Plugin. You know the WP feature – “Possibly Related Blog Posts”? Imagine “Possibly Related Classroom Projects.” Our plugin will match relevant classroom projects from the DonorsChoose database of 10,000+ projects – and enable you to share them with your readers below your posts.

As a leading education blogger who uses the WordPress platform, would you be interested in test-driving this Plug-in? We would really appreciate your feedback and are eager to share your blog as one of the first to raise awareness for DonorsChoose projects using this new technology.

We set up a campaign on ThePoint – It would be awesome if you could pledge to test out the plug-in upon launch.

We think this could be *huge* and I hope you’ll make the pledge and help raise awareness of classroom projects that need help across the US.

I checked it out, expressed tentative interest, and then Joe sent me a screenshot of how the plugin would generate causes based on a McCain post I did recently.  Check out the “oops” factor:

Hi Joe,

It’s an interesting idea. I looked at the screenshot, and blast the luck, saw that I would be promoting Abstinence Education donation requests with that post you sampled.

That’s a red flag. Is there a way I can delete any causes for which I’m unsupportive? If so, I’m willing to play.

(Regular readers might remember my Friday Funny post about Abstinence-Only Sex “Education,” and its hilarious tendency to make sodomites of our virginity-obsessed teens – and let’s not even start to talk about the creepiness factor in the incest-tinged “Purity Balls” – no pun intended – these smarmy dads take their daughters to, complete with Hymen Pledges and other whacked insanities. So, um, support Abstinence-Only? Over my dead body.)

But Joe replied:

Hah.  Yes, our algorithm still needs some tweaking.  Many posts we’ve tested have had impressively spot-on results –  from political posts that then recommend projects that help students develop critical thinking skill for the election — to a post about Steve Jobs bout with cancer that then recommends classroom projects that cover the tough issues surrounding cancer.

Currently, though, our developer has added a feature that lets you add “%NORELATED%” and this will remove the classroom projects from your post. [emphasis added]

I hope this answers your question…

It did.

So, without further ado, I’m happy to help classroom projects find funding by matching donors and causes with this plugin. Check this bottom of this post to see how it works.

Oh. My. God. With all the scandalous words on this post, we might get some whacked results. But it’ll be an interesting experiment, and I should be able to delete the links if I don’t like them. We’ll see. :)

(And for the record, Joe allayed my reservations about any profit motive on his part with this info:

I totally understand about the making money.  Social Actions is a not-for-profit initiative and DonorsChoose.org (which supports this project) is a non-profit as well.  Check out my website to learn more about my work — engagejoe.com.

Finally, the method of using The Point website to encourage the “Collective Action” that Shirky mentions (and many of us have discovered) is so difficult is worth noting itself.  The idea is, you announce a cause campaign there, invite people to commit, and promise not to launch this campaign until X number of people do commit, giving you a “tipping point.”  (I notice Alan Levine of CogDogBlog is the only other e’blogger I know who’s also supporting this particular campaign.)

For more info about the plugin, this is from the WP Plugin page:

Possibly Related Classroom Projects” enables you to share relevant classroom projects from DonorsChoose.org based on the content of your posts.

DonorsChoose.org is where teachers submit project proposals for materials or experiences their students need to learn and succeed. Anyone can then choose projects to help bring to life. DonorsChoose.org usually has over 14,000 active proposals.

“Possibly Related Classroom Projects” makes it super easy to connect your readers to relevant classroom projects in need of help.

You’ll be amazed at the relevancy of many of these classroom projects to your posts (as well as the awesome and imaginative projects that are happening in classrooms around the US).

“Possibly Related Classroom Projects” is a project of Social Actions Labs.

For more info about the WordPress plugin, please see our project page.

For more info. about DonorsChoose.org, please see their Help section.

Okay. I promised, I waited, I tipped. I hope some of you will consider joining the cause.

(Now let’s see if any kinky links turn up about hymens, sodomites, or other whacked “classroom projects.” :P)

6 thoughts on “Helping Launch the “Possibly Related Classroom Projects” WordPress Plugin for DonorsChoose.org”

  1. Clay,

    Wow! Thank you so much for this post – it was a lot of fun experiencing our exchange through your eyes! ;)

    It was also fun to to explore your archives and discover matching classroom projects — I just clicked on your “My Suicidal High School Years – A Happy Ending Bullying Story” — and saw projects such as “No Bullies Allowed! Putting A Stop To School Bullying!” and “No More Bullies!”

    See — http://beyond-school.org/2007/12/17/my-suicidal-high-school-years-a-happy-ending-bullying-story/

    And I really like the unique way you made the plugin match your theme! Very cool!

    I feel very fortunate to have worked on this project — thank you for helping to make it happen!

    Best,

    – Joe Solomon
    http://www.socialactions.com/labs

  2. @Joe, sorry for the tardy, but just want to weigh in and say I’ve been constantly impressed by the matches I’ve seen for each post from your plug-in. I haven’t had to delete a single one.

    Well-done!

    Clay Burells last blog post..**Warning .. http:/ is a known spammer . delete this message

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