Share this project

Done

Share this project

Done
A socially curated directory of websites, mobile apps, desktop programs, and electronic products for teaching and learning.
A socially curated directory of websites, mobile apps, desktop programs, and electronic products for teaching and learning.
Created by
290 backers pledged $30,553 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

edshelf - Socially curated directory of education technology project video thumbnail
Replay with sound
Play with
sound

$30,553

290

Updated Aug 23 - The Final edshelf T-shirt!

Here is the winning t-shirt design!

The votes broke down like this:

  • I literally meant figuratively. - 67%
  • Decimals have a point. - 23%
  • A rule of grammar: double negatives are a no-no. - 10%

Thank you everyone who voted!

Updated Aug 21 - Which T-shirt Design Do You Like Best?

I've seen a bunch of different t-shirt design preferences, so here is a poll. Which t-shirt design do you like the best?

Vote on your favorite design now!

Updated Aug 19 - A Few More Mentions

Just found a couple of other blog posts about this campaign:

We are getting so close! Just a little more to go!

Updated Aug 17 - Spreading The Word

It's amazing how far and wide the story of edshelf has gotten. Here are a bunch of articles and blog posts I've found so far.

I can't even begin to express how gracious and humbled I am from all of this support. And this doesn't include the hundreds (perhaps thousands?) of #saveedshelf tweets. If you've seen any other articles or blog posts out there, please let me know.

There is only a week left for this campaign and we are sooo close. Please continue sharing and spreading the word. Just a little bit more is needed.

Thank you so much everyone!

Updated Aug 13 - My Development Priorities

Just to keep you all in the loop, here is what I will be working on if this campaign is successful, sorted by priority order:

  • Migrate to new web host for improved performance.
  • Stabilize the site. You may have noticed some site outages. I will be hiring a really sharp developer to help me optimize the code and protect it from traffic spikes and other anomalies.
  • Add vendor accounts, so edtech companies can manage their product listings themselves. There will also be premium accounts that include sponsored listings in the newsletter and search results, listing analytics and premium features, etc. These are revenue-generating features. I will be hiring a contract designer and developer to help me with all of this.
  • Improve current features. While edshelf has a respectable number of tools, there are still many more to be added and updated. I'll improve the Add Tool flow, as well as Search, Member Profiles, and the Create Collection flow. Also, I'll rename Collections as "Shelves," since that's what everyone calls them :)

If the campaign raises more than its target, there are a number of stretch goals I have as well. Some of these may change a bit based in the input of edshelf's members and the education community in general. If there are particular features you would really like to see, let me know and I can shift them around.

At $33,000:

  • Add a recommendations wizard. I've spoken to a few teachers and schools about this already. Edtech tools are just a means to an end. More important than edtech are the instructional goals. I'll be looking into ways to map these goals to edtech, instead of the other way around. There are revenue-generating promotional opportunities here too.
  • Add support for Common Core State Standards. For schools that are adopting CCSS, this has been a common request within the Search functionality.

At $36,000:

  • Add additional tool evaluation features, such as a comparison matrix, leaderboards, buying guides, personalized recommendations, etc. The exact feature mix is still TBD, but the goal is to help educators compare and evaluate various products. Many of these will offer revenue-generating promotional opportunities as well.
  • Add tool certifications. Products that pass specific objective criteria, like security measures, data portability, etc, can earn a certification so you know which companies are doing a thorough job.

At $40,000:

  • Add additional topic-specific newsletters. If you would only like to learn about new math tools or iPad apps, these topic-specific newsletters will highlight notable products more relevant to you. For edtech companies, these offer a great way to reach out to a relevant readership.
  • Add additional school & district administration features. This will allow administrators at the school or district level to manage the teachers within their domains, set up organization-wide privacy and communication controls, see tool usage metrics, and more. I may consider making some of these features as premium features, though any schools that have supported this campaign will get a free trial :)

What do you think?

Updated Aug 8 - The edshelf T-shirt!

I would like to finally reveal the edshelf t-shirt! Ta da!

This design won over a more corporatey "company logo on a t-shirt" design. As a collector of funny t-shirts and bad puns, I wholly approve of this choice :)

There are some other puns that could be used. If there is a lot of demand for another pun, I'll use that instead. Here are some choices:

  • I literally meant figuratively.
  • Decimals have a point.
  • To write with a broken pencil is pointless.
  • My computer is so slow it hertz.

I hope you like this t-shirt!

Update Aug 8 - Just Added an FAQ

Since I've been getting some frequently asked questions, I figured, you know, to have an FAQ. The questions include:

  • What will happen if this campaign does not succeed?
  • Is $30k really enough?
  • Would you be interested in partnering with my company in some way?

If you have any other questions, let me know and I can add them as well. Thanks!

Update Aug 5 - A new "edshelf for Schools" reward!

Several schools and universities, as well as bloggers and entrepreneurs in other industries, have reached out to ask if they could have their own version of edshelf. With that in mind, I've been gathering requirements for a new "edshelf for Schools" product. This will be a subscription-based premium product.

I just added a reward for donors that have the financial means and desire to support their local schools. With their generous pledge, I'll provide any school they choose a free one-year "edshelf for Schools" subscription. These schools will also have the ability to work with me directly on the features they need.

If you know of anyone who may be interested, please let them know! Thanks!

Update July 29 - $50 Rewards and Higher, Now with T-shirts!

Sorry everyone, I should have given t-shirts to all of the rewards at the $50 level and higher. I just finished negotiating with a t-shirt vendor and have more t-shirts to give away!

If you pledged $50 or more, you can change your pledge to one of the limit-number reward alternatives to get your t-shirt. Get them now while supplies last!

Thanks everyone!

What is edshelf?

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?

Edshelf is a socially-curated directory of education technology. Educators can:

  • 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

How edshelf started

The idea for edshelf originally came from classroom teachers. In the winter of 2011, I posted a Craigslist ad offering local teachers an iTunes or Amazon gift card in exchange for an hour of their time. Twenty two replied. During those interviews, I asked for their top frustrations as a teacher. I ended up with a loooong list ideas. As I researched ways to solve each one, I realized that solutions existed for many already.

I shared this observation with some of those teachers. Two in particular expressed how enthusiastic, yet exasperated they were of the growing number of edtech solutions on the market. They suggested the idea of a "Yelp for edtech" and added, "Go build this please."

In the next few weeks, I developed a quick prototype. I shared it with a group of teachers and presented it at an edtech meetup. From the positive feedback, I encouraged a group of friends to join me and together, we built edshelf.

Why I need your help

The growth of our membership has been steady. It's a straight line up. Our original approach was to raise funding from investors, but they didn't believe our growth and product could translate to a massive ROI for them. Massive growth isn't always realistic in education though; sometimes slow and steady is better. And for me, I'm more interested in serving the education community than a financial ROI.

I looked at everything from grants to bank loans and everything in between, but unfortunately none of them worked out. My team eventually parted ways because their personal savings dried up. So I stubbornly pressed on by myself, though the company's and my personal savings are now at their end.

I was in the process of shutting edshelf down when something amazing happened.

Educators began using the hashtag #saveedshelf. Others wrote amazing blog posts. WOW!

Some of the amazing tweets I've seen:

And emails:

And videos:

The overwhelming enthusiasm and encouragement of these incredibly generous educators has convinced me to keep going.

If you are not an educator, even a small donation will mean a chance to help keep educators aware of the best and most relevant tools for their work. Edshelf takes away the chore of sifting through edtech so educators can do what they do best: teach and inspire our children.

Educators have a significant impact on a child's future happiness and success. By helping educators, we all are not only helping our own children, but future generations and societies as well.

What I plan on doing

If this campaign is successful, here is what I will do:

  • Strengthen the codebase and infrastructure. The site has been experiencing some outages that can disrupt educators who are sharing their collections at webinars and conferences. So at the very least, I need to make sure what is currently online stays online in a stable fashion.
  • Work on a sustainable business model. My aim is to earn enough revenue so this service can remain alive. This is a passion project, something I care deeply about, and I don't need to turn it into a huge corporation or anything. I just want to make sure I'm not back in this place next year :)
  • Evolve the service. I have a laundry list of features that have been requested by educators. I will start working on those. Also, there are some things that edshelf does well and some things that edshelf doesn't do well. For instance, there are already a lot of great services with in-depth research and reviews of edtech being done by intelligent and passionate people. So instead, I'll find the best way edshelf and I can serve the education community.
  • Give back to the community. There are so many ways I want to give back to the community. Like many other software developers, I rely a lot on open source software. So I plan on releasing some of the software I've built as open source. There are also lots of lessons I've learned that I'll share with other aspiring edtech entrepreneurs. And I'm really excited about the possibility of speaking with some of you and your students! Talking to educators and students has always been the most enjoyable part of building edshelf.

For the funding I'm raising from this campaign, here is where it will go:

  • Monthly and yearly expenses. These are the expenses I need to pay to keep edshelf running, such as web hosting, domain management, email providers, legal fees, accountant fees, taxes, etc.
  • Premium software packages. There are some great software packages out there that will enable me to add features to make edshelf much easier to use, though they have a price tag.
  • Contractors. I won't be able to do everything myself, so I will need to hire developers and designers to help with some features. This is where the majority of the money will go.

Corporate Supporters

Some really kind-hearted companies have been talking to me about supporting edshelf outside of a Kickstarter pledge. As the deals are confirmed, I'll list them here.

  • MailChimp - This company is what powers the edshelf Weekly newsletter. They've offered a generous discount to help keep costs down. Yay!
  • Synthesis Hosting - This company offers high performance and security benefits, in addition to web hosting for WordPress-based websites. They can help edshelf handle its growing traffic! Yay!

Thank You!

And to everyone who has pledged and supported this campaign, from my family and I, thank you so much!

Risks and challenges

It is possible a competitor will rise up and offer a better service than edshelf, though I think the amazing community around edshelf will tell me way beforehand if I am doing something stupid.

It is possible I may not be able to find a sustainable business model, though I'm pretty confident I can because it is a priority this time around. Here are some of the ideas I will be trying:

+ Premium subscriptions for vendors to be able to manage their product listings and get performance analytics.
+ Premium subscriptions for schools that want a private version of edshelf just for themselves.
+ Sponsored listings in the edshelf weekly newsletter. I've already been doing this with success, and will continue this.
+ Sponsored listings around the site. I don't expect this to be a major revenue generator because it is more important to me that educators find good tools, than to click on a bunch of ads. Sorry, advertisers, that's just how it is.
+ Affiliate and commission income from purchases made from edshelf. I've been doing this already and though it's not a major revenue generator, I'll keep it on the site.
+ There are a bunch of other ideas that I'll be trying too. A lot of edshelf members have also given me great suggestions.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

FAQ

  • I'm afraid I'll have to unfortunately shut edshelf down :(

    Last updated:
  • It is the minimum amount I will need. The funding is going towards monthly operating costs, a contract designer, a contract developer, and basic living expenses. I've calculated that with these resources, I can establish a revenue model that will bring edshelf to "ramen profitability."

    If this campaign raises more than $30k, I have a set of stretch goals to share - such as giving away free copies of the "edshelf for Schools" product to some lucky schools and offering some lucky teachers free access to an "edshelf Premium" product :)

    Last updated:
  • Thank you for inquiring. I've gotten many such inquiries and am openly exploring all of them. Who knows where they'll lead me. If there is a good fit between our organizations and visions, let's chat!

    Last updated:

Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    For the price of a few coffees, get a great shiny digital "Donor" badge on your edshelf account or for your own blog!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    68 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Get a digital "Donor" badge on your edshelf account or own blog, plus I'll promote your DonorsChoose project on Twitter! (Or any other charity or cause of your choice.)

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    48 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  3. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    Get a digital "Donor" badge on your edshelf account or own blog, plus I'll promote your DonorsChoose project on Twitter! (Or any other charity or cause of your choice.) And a BONUS: Get a high-quality, tastefully-designed edshelf t-shirt made by American Apparel. I'll share some designs and will let the crowd choose their favorite one.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 22 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  4. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    Since the t-shirts were so popular, here's another chance to get one! Get a high-quality, tastefully-designed edshelf t-shirt made by American Apparel. And also, a digital "Donor" badge on your edshelf account or own blog, plus I'll promote your DonorsChoose project on Twitter! (Or any other charity or cause of your choice.)

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 30 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Get a digital "Donor" badge on your edshelf account or own blog, plus I'll promote your DonorsChoose project on Twitter and our newsletter! (Or any other charity or cause of your choice.) The newsletter exposure will help your message reach thousands of educators.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    20 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Same as the other $50 reward, BUT WITH A T-SHIRT!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 16 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Get a digital "Donor" badge on your edshelf account or own blog, plus I'll do a Skype call or Google Hangout with you, your class, or department and share my entrepreneurial journey, experience as a developer (e.g. how I use Math and English for my work), or any other relevant topic! If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area, I can come to your school as well.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    11 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Same as the other $100 reward, BUT WITH A T-SHIRT!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 7 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    FOR COMPANIES: Sponsor an issue of the widely read edshelf Weekly newsletter! Get a direct channel to thousands of educators.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    4 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    FOR EDUCATORS: I'll do a webinar, Skype call or Google Hangout with you, your class, or department on any topic you choose (e.g. how to use edshelf, how I use Math and English for my work, etc)! If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area, I can come to your school as well.

    FOR COMPANIES: I'll give you a promo in our educator-loved newsletter for one month and let members know that you're a generous donor who helped make the newsletter possible again! The newsletter has double the industry averages for open rates and clickthrough rates.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    4 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Same as the other $500 reward, BUT WITH A T-SHIRT!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 4 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  12. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    FOR EDUCATORS: I'll do a series of webinars, Skype calls or Google Hangouts with you, your class, or department on any topic you choose (e.g. how to use edshelf, how I use Math and English for my work, etc)! If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area, I can come to your school as well.

    FOR COMPANIES: I'll give you a promo in our educator-loved newsletter and homepage for one month, and let members know that you're a generous donor who helped make edshelf possible again! The newsletter has double the industry averages for open rates and clickthrough rates. Our homepage is visited by thousands of edtech early adopters daily.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    3 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  13. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Same as the other $1000 reward, BUT WITH A T-SHIRT!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 1 backer
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  14. Select this reward

    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    FOR COMPANIES: I'll personally work with you to craft a multi-channel campaign through edshelf to help you reach teachers, schools, and districts who may be interested in your product (i.e. A/B testing of ad copy, collaboration with your team, etc). This will span 30 issues of the edshelf newsletter and can be scheduled for any particular date you'd like. Also included will be guest blog articles written by me about your product and featured on edshelf's blog and other content partners.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 3 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.

Funding period

- (30 days)