This (Free) Education Technology Product Index Offers Structured Reviews of Products as Well as Events, Grants, Jobs, and More.
I love this idea. EdSurge reviews, databases, and categorizes education technology products (some free, some paid). When a consistent approach is used to do this, just imagine how useful can be! Heard about a new product and want to know what other educators think, and get informed insights about it without having to take the time to wade through the first 10 or 20 Google Search returns on it to see if there's something useful there? This is the promise of the EdSurge Edtech Index.
Not only does the index provide structured information on the products it has in it's database, the EdSurge site also has listings for Opportunities like Grants,Â Challenges, and Prizes, and upcoming Events, and Jobs. Great stuff! Do you know of any other tools that let you do this sort of thing?
Categories, Subcategories, and Filters (Oh My!)
The EdSurge Index uses 5 Categories to group all of their products. Within each Category there are roughly 10 to 20 or so Subcategories. As of the writing of this article they have over 800 products reviewed in total.
Here's a listing of their Categories:
- Curriculum Products … “products that teach concepts”
- Teacher Needs … “for keeping learning on track”
- School Operations … “to keep a school humming”
- College Resources … “for students and institutions”
- Everything Else …”anything else in ed tech”
How Does it Work?
To give a sense of the how the Index it works, let's say you look under the Category “Teacher Needs” and click on the Subcategory “Lesson Plans”. As I write this, there are 25 products reviewed there. There are also “Filter” and “Cost” Parameters on the left that can help you narrow down the type of product you are looking for. Without even having to use the filters, I see in the little windows that they display for each product that “Common Curriculum” is free and I read the brief explanation that indicates that it is a “Tool for lesson and unit plan creation, collaboration and sharing created by teachers.” When I click on it, I see this screen (click on the pic to bring up a larger copy of the image):
Here we see an Overview, and structured information about “Characteristics”, “Audience”, and “Platforms”. Each product reviewed on the Index will have a mix of fields like this defined for it – which fields are defined for each product varies a bit from one to the next, but it's still a level of structure this is quite useful.
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