The short answer is, The Kindles magically arrive on my stoop, shipped from generous donors across the country.
But it’s a little more than that. Here are the steps by which a used Kindle comes to the Kindle Classroom Project.
1. A person comes upon an extra Kindle.
Maybe they upgraded to a Kindle Voyage. Or maybe Santa brought them an iPad.
One donor from Houston recently sent me six Kindles — from the Kindle 2 model all the way to the Kindle Fire. Now that’s a serious reader and Kindle enthusiast!
And then there was a donor last January from Colorado, who sent me seven Kindles — all part of a research and development project (that led to a patent).
But usually, the person has one Kindle and a decision to make: What should I do with this?
2. The person finds the KCP and makes a generous choice.
Here’s an important part of the story. Most people, when finding themselves with an extra Kindle, may think to recycle the device, or else to give it to a family member, or maybe to a community organization, or to a library.
Not KCP donors. They’re thinking big and generously, and for the most part, they’re thinking the Internet.
I haven’t asked too many people how they’ve found the KCP, but usually, it’s in one of three ways: (a) via a Google search, (b) via word of mouth, (c) via another online post (like this one from my friend Iris, or this recent one on Edutopia from my colleague Bob).
And then comes the most important step.
3. That generous person fills out the Kindle submission form.
The potential donor navigates to Donate Your Kindle on Iserotope and sees the modest form in the middle of the page. Filling out the form takes a lot of trust.
After all, it’s not like Iserotope is a polished, professional website run by a corporate-funded non-profit organization. It’s just me, right? But I do think donors see and can feel the KCP spirit.
In a leap of faith, the potential donor — wherever he or she is (New York? Iowa? California? Kansas?) fills out this form.
4. I get an email receipt of the form and write a quick note back.
This is the part that always seems like magic. Maybe it’ll be at home, or maybe at work, or maybe on my phone. Each time, the email is a wonderful surprise, no matter if it’s the first form submission I’ve gotten in a week or the second that day.
I quickly write a short but personal note back to the donor, letting him or her know my thanks and where to send the Kindle. Donors have told me that they appreciate that they receive a return email quickly and that it’s clearly written personally and just for them.
5. The generous donor ships the Kindle, and it arrives safely.
Let’s pause and consider what’s happening. A complete and total stranger has decided to donate a working e-reader — which retails anywhere from $69 to $199 — to students in the San Francisco Bay Area. That’s already generous.
What’s even more generous is that most people also contribute a Kindle case and Kindle charger, plus they ship everything (another expense) to my address. It’s a big deal.
Also, you can tell how much generous donors love their Kindles. They really know how to keep their Kindles safe! The packaging is always exquisite: bubble wrap, packaging tape, sturdy boxes. Like this:
6. I thank the generous person and register the Kindle.
Now comes the fun part. The donor gets an immediate thank-you email message, and I write a thank-you card that includes my business card (thanks, Iris and Donovan).
Charging and registering the Kindle doesn’t take too long. The serial number, donor, and Kindle name are copied on Amazon’s website as well as on my Kindle Inventory spreadsheet. Everything is ready to go!
7. The Kindle goes to an eager student.
The best step, of course, is the last one. It’s when the connection is made between the generous donor and an eager student.
The generous donor, by taking all the steps to contribute his or her Kindle, cares deeply about young people and their reading lives.
The eager student, by accepting the Kindle and agreeing to take care of it, is reclaiming his or her love of reading and embarking on a reading journey.
When I meet with students, I identify the donor by first name and the donor’s city of residence. Students are always surprised and grateful, no matter if the donor comes from San Francisco or Saskatoon.
In just seven steps, now a new student has a Kindle in his or her backpack and a library of books to read.
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Note: Most Kindles are donated this way. But not all. Over the past two years, more than 30 Kindles have come new to the KCP, thanks to generous donors. Right now, students in San Francisco and Hayward are reading on Kindles that generous donors bought on the KCP Amazon Wishlist. I thank those donors, too!
And please tell your friends!