The Shortlist

Product Research

Your Shortlist is about using your approach to technology, instructional need, context and non-negotiables to create edtech search filters.

Where to Look for Products
 (Begin shameless plug!) A great place to start your search for tools is EdSurge’s Edtech Index (see below.) Another great place to look is Graphite created by Common Sense Media. This list places a greater focus on educational apps and has around 2,000 teacher reviews. They also have a nifty Common Core Explorer. Readers of Edudemic may have noticed that they maintain “Best OF Education Technology Resources” which is collection of, you guessed it, “Best Of lists”. A lot of fun for you Reddit and Buzzfeed fans!


Filtering with your Instructional Need

Now that you know where to look, you have to filter out all of the products that don’t align with your Instructional Need. It’s a process of elimination.

Begin by understanding what categories of tools might address your Pain Point. For example if you’re looking to build out student’s foundational math skills, you can automatically filter out non-Curriculum products. But if you need a way for teachers to share insights around how their students are learning math, you may want to also examine Professional Development or Sharing tools.

Once you’ve identified the categories of tools to include in your search, you begin applying basic filters such as grade level, subject matter, and hardware compatibility. For every category of tool, EdSurge’s Edtech Index lets you control these filters. Identifying the right categories of tools and applying basic filters will help reduce your list of potential solutions from several hundred to several dozen.

Filtering with your Approach to Tech

Paring down a list of several dozen potential solutions to a short list of 10–15 requires a deeper dive into each tool in order to understand how they align with your approach to technology.

Often it’s easy to find at least two products, especially if you’re looking for a curriculum, that claim to serve the same audience and promise the same outcomes. That’s why it’s important to see a demo or webinar that demonstrates different products’ instructional pace, student agency and teacher guidance.

Arriving at a Short List of Solutions

To arrive at a short list of 10–15 products that align with your Instructional Need, you’ll have to devote considerable time to your search. In addition to understanding how to navigate all of these resources, you’ll need to reach out to companies, get questions answered, secure demo accounts, and avoid the temptation of buying the first tool that looks promising.

EdSurge Concierge

Selecting Edtech is a Journey…

We know how much work has already gone into your edtech selection process thus far: from making sure that your approach to technology is aligned with your Theory of Learning to addressing your Instructional Needs. It can be overwhelming!

…EdSurge Concierge can be your guide. You’ll still carry out the questioning and planning that comes with defining an instructional need, but you will be able to talk to someone to clarify and verify that you’ve covered all your bases. More details about the service are included at the end of this playbook.

However you decide to carry on your search, it’s a great opportunity for your own professional development as well. The reality is that technology — inside and outside of the classroom — is a defining aspect of today’s student culture. As an education leader, you’ll want to have a strong opinion around technology, the same as you do for policy, pedagogy and school operations. Getting lost — and then finding your way — in the edtech discovery process is a great way to build competency.