Thinking Outside the Box

wetpaint.comI want to share with you an exciting opportunity that has come up. For a long time I have been an advocate of the wiki service Wetpaint.com. Recently, Wetpaint and I have been discussing how we can work together in promoting their services. This has resulted in an agreement between myself and Wetpaint.

Back in December when I quit my job here at SAS, many of you will remember that I was looking to do something different. Through that search of finding ‘something different’, I struck up conversations with different Web 2.0 companies. These were companies that I felt had great products that could be leveraged for educational purposes and were looking for an educational consultant to help them improve and spread the word in the educational community about their services.

I have actually been in contact with Wetpaint since November when I found out teachers at our school had started some 30+ wikis on the site. At that time, I knew very little about Wetpaint but knew there must be something different about this product. Jason Welker (a true Wetpaint educational master) gave an after school presentation in early November at one of our Tech Wednesday’s and that was all it took. By the end of the month, we had Wetpaint wikis everywhere. I had to send out an all mail to our staff to find out who was creating them there were so many!

At that time, Jason Welker and I started talking to Wetpaint about offering ad free wikis for educators. We offered wikis created by SAS staff as test sites as they played around with taking ads off sites. Our teacher’s loved it and on November 6 of last year, Wetpaint officially launched their ad free network for educators. This demonstrated to me that Wetpaint was a company that was dedicated to promoting educational technology.

About that same time however, China decided to block Wetpaint. I started receiving e-mails from staff who were frustrated that the sites they had been working on, had been using, and had students using, were all of a sudden blocked. I contacted Wetpaint right away to see if they could help. I have to admit they were awesome! They tried everything they could on their end including trying to move all the SAS wikis to a new server and IP address. On our end, we tried to find a way to allow access and after a month of trying with no success to unblock the sites, they went dormant (you can still see many of them on Wetpaint if you search for SAS).

Within all this, I had started to communicate more with Wetpaint and in December when I quit my job here at SAS, I contacted them with an e-mail that had the subject: Thinking outside the box.

In the e-mail, I outlined what I thought I could offer the company. Our conversations went back and forth and to make a long story short, starting June 1st, I entered into a partnership with Wetpaint as an educational consultant for their community called ‘wikis in education’.

My Job has two parts:

1) To introduce Wetpaint to educators around the world

2) To help build and facilitate a community of educational users at Wetpaint

I’m excited for the opportunity to work with a company that is willing to think outside the box and understand that the educational needs of these products are different than the corporate or open social-network world. The conversations that I’ve had with Wetpaint via e-mail and Skype have been exciting. I look forward to collaborating with them on new projects and helping to establish a supportive community of educators.

Why do I tell you all of this?

Because I tend to write about what I’m thinking and doing, my blog is still my blog, but I want to be up front with everyone. I will, to the best of my ability, give full disclosure statements on all posts that I write that deal with what I’m working on with Wetpaint (and all other companies and organizations I have agreements with).

I am excited about this opportunity. I’m not sure what it all means at this point for me; but I wanted to do something different, and having opportunities to collaborate with forward thinking companies like Wetpaint, is part of that!

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