EdShelf is like the Wikipedia of Edtech wrapped up with a little Common Sense. Not too far off in mission from Graphite, EdShelf is a self curated directory of websites, mobile apps, desktop programs and electronic products for teaching and learning.
While Graphite by Common Sense Media provides some of this same functionality they’re doing it with an internal group of experts. EdShelf was basically curated by the community and a trusted resource for edtech savvy teachers across the country.
There are over 90,000 iOS apps in the education category of the iTunes App Store, and over 90,000 Android apps in the education category of the Google Play marketplace. That’s 180,000 mobile apps between iOS and Android. If you throw in the hundreds of thousands of educational websites and desktop apps as well, that is a lot of edtech through which to wade.
How in the world is a busy educator, parent, or student to know what is worth their money and time?
- Add their favorite websites, mobile apps, desktop programs, and electronic products to our directory
- Search for relevant tools by price, age, subject, platform, or category
- Curate collections of their favorite tools for their classrooms, departments, schools, colleagues, and students
- Rate, review, and share usage suggestions of tools they have tried
Mike Lee started EdShelf after polling 22 teachers in a kind of craigslist fueled research experiment. Lee posted an ad to Craigslist offering an Amazon or iTunes gift card in exchange for an hour of a teacher’s time. It was in those interviews that he discovered one of the real pains for teachers is discovering the best in edtech. “they wanted a yelp for edtech” Lee said, so he created it.
EdShelf exploded, taking on a life of it’s own and becoming more Wikipedia.
A problem started to surface, a big one.
Lee couldn’t find a way to monetize EdShelf that actually made sense. With the crowd based reviews and suggestions for EdShelf content it would go against the grain of the site to start taking traditional advertising dollars. Most good edtech companies would love the exposure to the EdShelf audience but then if teacher’s didn’t like the product what would happen?
Lee tried to secure grants, loans and investors. After exhausting his options and his savings, Lee announced that he was going to shut EdShelf down.
Once he made that announcement though, there was an outpouring of tweets, and emails from across the country. Lee hadn’t realized what an impact EdShelf has made for many busy teachers.
Many members of the EdShelf community suggested that Lee take to crowdfunding to #saveedshelf. The #saveedshelf hash tag was born and as soon as Lee started a Kickstarter campaign teachers immediately started showing their support with their wallets. EdShelf started getting backers even at the $1000 dollar level.
With 19 days to go at the time this article was written EdShelf has about $20,000 to go to hit it’s goal.
If you use EdShelf you can help keep the site running with as little as $10 here.