Digital Wish is on a Mission to Solve Technology Shortfalls in Classrooms
Digital Wish believes that every child deserves a technology-rich education that will provide them with the skills necessary to excel in the global economy. Every day, Digital Wish develops new online tools and promotions that empower teachers and their supporters to get new technology for their classrooms and enhance learning for our children. Every resource we develop in local schools is made available nationwide through Digital Wish.
Behind the scenes, our dedicated staff works in local schools to implement one-computer-per-child initiatives and study the complex process of technology integration in schools. Digital Wish is working to streamline every step in the process of classroom technology integration and craft step-by-step models, useful automation tools, videos, downloadable resources, and instruction so that schools nationwide can replicate the same processes that have been successful in our schools.
In 2006, Digital Wish founder Heather Chirtea’s 7-year-old twins were enrolled in a small, rural elementary school on the brink of closure. In order to keep the school open and preserve its small class sizes, 62 kids embarked on a letter writing campaign to the local community describing the value of the school and explaining to community members exactly how they could help. In just 3 months, those 62 kids helped raise over $20,000 in donations, in-kind help, and volunteer hours that saved the school. Members of the community reported, “I wanted to help the school, I just didn’t know how until the students’ letters arrived.” It was a powerful lesson. The community was ready to help, but they needed an organized mechanism to do so.
From this experience came the idea for a website to empower teachers to solve their own technology shortfalls by connecting classrooms with their communities using the Internet. A year later, Digital Wish launched its website with a simple wish list feature and a few technology products. The need for classroom technology was so great that 1,000 teachers posted wishes in the first month. With such high demand, we began the process of turning Digital Wish into an official nonprofit organization.
In September of 2008, Digital Wish was officially became a nonprofit and one week later Digital Wish received its first grant to scale operations and rebuild its website to serve the ever-increasing demand from teachers.
Since August 2009, Digital Wish has granted over 30,000 classroom technology wishes and delivered over $13 million in technology products to American classrooms. However, we’ve still only scratched the surface of the need.
We are striving to make Digital Wish the most comprehensive technology integration resource for teachers on the internet.
Join us and grant a classroom technology wish!
Meet our Founder
Executive Director/Founder, Board President
Heather Chirtea is Digital Wish’s founder and Executive Director. Previously, as the longstanding president of Tool Factory, an educational software publisher, Heather traveled widely throughout the United States to conduct over 400 lively seminars on classroom technology integration each year. She watched as funding for education technology continuously declined, and today over 75% of teachers classify themselves as “often in need of” or “desperate for” technology resources. Heather created Digital Wish to empower teachers to solve their own technology shortfalls at a local level, and to prepare our student workforce with the skills necessary to succeed in the changing workplace.
With a dual B.S. in communications and operations management (statistics) from Syracuse University, Heather has co-authored five books on classroom technology; designed more than 60 hands-on technology seminars for educators; launched online services for classroom clip art, worksheets, lesson plans, and formative testing and assessment; and written over 5,000 standards-based test questions. She serves on the board of directors for VITA-Learn (VT) and New England ISTE technology associations. Heather’s foray into charitable work began by setting up a $50,000 grant program with Olympus that progressively expanded each year due to overwhelming demand. Based on the success of that program, Digital Wish was born.
1:1 Implementation Expert
Director of 1:1 Programs
After teaching grades 4 and 6 for 12 years in Blue Ribbon and California Distinguished Schools in Southern California, Eric Bird now brings his experience, knowledge, and passion gained from working in the classroom to the team at Digital Wish. Eric joined the Digital Wish team in December of 2009 as a peer coach and classroom trainer for Digital Wish’s 1:1 computing program. In addition to being a master teacher, Eric designed Digital Wish’s 7-unit IT curriculum and oversaw implementation of 1:1 programs in 30 schools. He’s now one of the premier experts on 1:1 implementation in the country, providing essential training so that students, teachers, and parents can use technology more effectively.
As a Technology Trainer, Eric has traveled the country to train fellow educators, administrators, and district technology experts using creative, entertaining, and easy-to-use cross-curricular technology, such as podcasting, digital cameras, digital video, and numerous educational software programs. In addition, Eric helped design hands-on seminars for educational conferences and co-authored a workbook on classroom technology.
Eric holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing from the University of California, Irvine, a Professional Clear Multiple Subject Teaching Credential for the State of California, and a Cross-cultural, Language, and Academic Development Credential. In addition, Eric spent two years working with the University of California, Irvine Writing Project.
About Digital Wish
At Digital Wish, teachers make technology wishes, and donors make those wishes come true with contributions, bringing technology to needy classrooms in all 50 states. Since August 2009, Digital Wish has granted over 30,000 classroom technology wishes through its online network of over 62,000 teachers, and delivered over $13 million in technology products to American classrooms directly impacting over 500,000 students. In research, Digital Wish secured over $1.2 million in stimulus funding to put 1:1 computing into 30 towns, reducing the planning time for technology adoption from 18 months to just 4 weeks, and achieving measured gains in student engagement and 21st century skills. Read the research.
Learn more about Digital Wish