Selecting Digital Tools for Your Classroom



There are so many technology resources available for educators to use in the classroom that it can be overwhelming to select the appropriate one that is the right fit for you, your purpose and your class.

According to the Ed Surge article “Resources to Help You Choose the Digital Tools Your Classroom Needs, nationwide, 51 percent of teachers select up to half of the education technology they use. With such a large number of teachers selecting most of their own digital tools, the need for a good resource to aid them becomes really important. The article goes on to say that “More than half of the teachers we surveyed said they rely primarily on recommendations from other teachers to choose technology.” Experience and advice from colleagues can be valuable and helpful, but how do we make sure that we are exposed to the best options and resources out there? The articles says, that fewer than 2 in 10 teachers currently use educator-specific online resources to learn about digital products. There are many online communities that are focused on rating digital tools and creating valuable reviews that can assist educators while selecting tools for their classroom. 

I wanted to take a look into these online resources and evaluate which one I thought would be the most effective for teachers to use. The four online resources listed in the article were Ed Surge Product Index, Common Sense Graphite, Learn Trials and Learning Assembly. I began to search through them and their reviews and descriptions, and get the general feel of navigated the websites.

I began to think of the components that were important to me when navigating these resources. I settled on four main components that I look for: Ease of Use, Up to Date information, Quality of the Descriptions and Reviews and Ease of Access. I then used the online tool iRubric to create my own rubric I could evaluate these resources with

I knew from exploring the resources that two of them were a better fit for me. I decided to evaluate the Ed Surge Product Index and Common Sense Media’s Graphite.

Ed Surge Product Index:


Ease of Use: 3. I thought that this resource was easy to use and categorized in a way that was concise and pleasing to the eye. It was easy to go in and look up a digital tool based on what need you have in your classroom.

Up to Date: 2. Most of the resources seemed up to date, but some of the reviews were over a year ago, with little action since.

Descriptions and Reviews: 2. There were good reviews on some products, but others didn’t have a description or review. I think it is valuable that the reviews are submitted by educators, but it would be helpful if there was an initial review. If there was no review submitted, then some of the tools had no information. However, Ed Surge does have Ed Tech Concierge which would be a very valuable tool that can be catered specifically to your school’s need. I did feel like this was a feature that would mostly be used by tech leaders or administration.

Ease of Access: 3. The Product Index was easy to access, and you can look up any information without logging in or creating a member account. This was important for me because it makes access and use so much more efficient.



Ease of Use:  3. Graphite was extremely easy to access. The organization was very pleasing to the eye. Each product is displayed on a thumbnail with a graphic of the app and summary presented. There are also many different ways the tools can be categorized and looked up.

Up to Date:  3. All of the tools, descriptions and reviews seemed to be very up to date. It also appeared that Graphite titles the recent reviews and descriptions by season and year.

Descriptions and Reviews: 3. The description and reviews are very high quality. There is a separate review from Common Sense and from Educators, so I think you get two different perspectives.There are also tons of other resources like video links and related resources, even recommended ways to use the tool.

Ease of Access: 3. Graphite is very easy to access and you don’t have to be logged in to view information on tools and products. Although, you get the best access to Common Sense Media in general when you are logged in with your account.


Overall, Graphite is the resource I would choose and recommend to others to use when selecting digital tools for a classroom. It is concise, easily organized, pleasing to the eye with valuable reviews and extra features.

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