edshelf

edshelf Weekly - Tools for Makers

We are all makers, whether it’s a clay pot, apple pie, paper airplane, digital movie, personal essay, or computer program. Watch any toddler with a set of building blocks and you will see its earliest incarnation. Educators play an important role in fostering these skills. Here are a set of tools that will help you create an environment of makers.

  • Kodable - Teach programming in your school with a Kodable School Plan. Get 30% using this link. KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN SUPPORTER!
  • DIY - Make everything from soap to leaf jewelry to sound-activated electronic signs in this student-friendly community.
  • CodeHS - Bring computer science to your high school students with video tutorials, code examples, and coding puzzles.
  • Booktrack Classroom - Add audio tracks to ebooks, like sound effects, music, or even spoken words to make the stories come to life.
  • GIF Brewery - Convert your video files into animated GIF images, which you can use on your blog or tweets.

Want more? Check out these collections of tools created by members like you.

  • MakerEd - Curated by technology activist Kim Wilkens.

Enjoy these great tools for educators!

Want a fresh copy of the edshelf Weekly newsletter in your inbox too? Sign up with edshelf today!

- Mike Lee, Co-founder of edshelf


edshelf Weekly - STEAM Tools

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) gets lots of love these days, though there is an increasing number of educators that are starting to embrace STEAM too (the A is for Arts). After all, if you ask any engineer or technologist about their work, they will tell you that an ability to think creatively is an important part of their profession. Here are some tools to “STEAMify” your instruction.

  • Kodable - Get 30% off a Kodable School Plan when you request a quote for your school today. KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN SUPPORTER!
  • Robo Maths Age 3-6 - Help a robot solve math problems to navigate a maze and rescue kittens in this game for young learners.
  • My Incredible Body - Take a trip through an interactive, animated, 3D tour of the body’s skeleton, muscles, organs, nerves, and blood vessels.
  • Notezilla - Practice reading sheet music by listening to a song and watching its notes in sync on the screen.
  • Make It @ Your Library - Create a makerspace with this series of how-to guides from Instructables that have been curated by librarians.

Want more? Check out these collections of tools created by members like you.

  • STEaM Tools - Curated by technology teacher and integrationist Leslie Whittington.

Enjoy these great tools for educators!

Want a fresh copy of the edshelf Weekly newsletter in your inbox too? Sign up with edshelf today!

- Mike Lee, Co-founder of edshelf


edshelf Weekly - Tools for Early Learners

Teaching to early learners means teaching fundamentals in a supportive and engaging way. It is no surprise that many learning tools for young students include some element of gamification. Here are a few that teachers recommend.

  • Matific - Give your K-6 students FREE fun math games, like Spy-a-Meerkat, Monster Shop, and Guess What! KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN SUPPORTER!
  • Todo Math - The 20+ math games for young learners in this app also include many accessibility options.
  • Amazing Coin - Teach your students about US money in this interactive visual game.
  • Word Joust for K-5 - English learners and ELL/ESL students may find these word games engaging, such as Scramble and Hangman.
  • Reading Kingdom - Created by a developmental psychologist, this comprehensive reading program even has Cindy Crawford as a customer.

Want more? Check out these collections of tools created by members like you.

Enjoy these great tools for educators!

Want a fresh copy of the edshelf Weekly newsletter in your inbox too? Sign up with edshelf today!

- Mike Lee, Co-founder of edshelf


edshelf Weekly - Educational Tools for Students

The Kickstarter campaign for edshelf was successful! Thank you so much for your incredible support! I’m so honored to be able to continue serving the education community, and I look forward to many more years of service.

There is a growing number of tools for students offering benefits from organizing assignments to creating study groups to taking notes. Here are some notable options for your students to consider. Another of edshelf’s kind supporters, ClassOwl, is featured in this issue. Please give them some love!

  • ClassOwl - An interactive planner to communicate directly with students, keeping them engaged and on track anytime, anywhere. Sign up with code EDSHELF. KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN SUPPORTER!
  • Piazza - A free resource to create online discussion forums and study groups for university students.
  • GroupMap - Students can use this website to host and record collaborative brainstorming sessions.
  • Trello - A surprisingly simple yet powerfully visual to-do organizer students can use for all their tasks.

Want more? Check out these collections of tools created by members like you.

Enjoy these great tools for educators!

Want a fresh copy of the edshelf Weekly newsletter in your inbox too? Sign up with edshelf today!

- Mike Lee, Co-founder of edshelf


edshelf Weekly - Tools for Learning Engineering Skills

Only 5 days left for the edshelf Kickstarter campaign! I won’t be able to keep edshelf online without your help. And we are so close. Please share with your network to help keep this free service alive!

Engineering skills are becoming increasingly necessary in today’s job market. Fortunately, there is a range of resources to help students from kindergarten to middle school. Another of edshelf’s kind supporters, Kodable, is featured in this issue. Please give them some love!

  • Kodable - An iPad curriculum teaching kids K-5 the fundamentals of programming. Get the free app now! KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN SUPPORTER!
  • Geared - A fun physics-based iOS puzzle game of putting gears together to pass each level.
  • WolframAlpha - This vast resource of visually organized information covers everything from engineering to history to linguistics.
  • Electrical Toolkit - A simple but handy iOS reference guide and unit conversion app for electrical engineering.
  • Roominate - Build do-it-yourself dollhouses with circuits, lights, fans, and other interactive moving parts.
  • GoldieBlox - Or build do-it-yourself contraptions that include a stories around inventor Goldie and her friends.

Want more? Check out this collection of tools created by a member like you.

Enjoy these great tools for educators!

Want a fresh copy of the edshelf Weekly newsletter in your inbox too? Sign up with edshelf today!

- Mike Lee, Co-founder of edshelf

P. S. Want free educational iPad apps? Check out the Happi Teacher Program!


edshelf Weekly - STEM Tools

Only 12 days left for the edshelf Kickstarter campaign! I won’t be able to keep edshelf online without your help. Even if only 5% of your followers, friends, and colleagues contribute just $1, $5, or $10, we will be able to keep this free service alive!

Providing a solid STEM curriculum is a priority for many schools. Here are some tools that can help you assemble STEM engaging lessons. Also, one of edshelf’s kind supporters, Matific, is featured in this issue. Please give them some love!

  • Matific - Hundreds of free math activities and worksheets for grades K-6! KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN SUPPORTER!
  • VideoScience - A video library of over 80 hands-on science lessons, brought to you by the Science House Foundation.
  • FluidMath 2014 - This iPad app interprets handwritten math to help visualize pre-algebra through calculus equations.
  • Pick-a-Path - A game where you traverse a path of numbers based on powers of ten, negative numbers, fractions, and more.
  • SimpleRockets - Test your knowledge of physics and build a rocket ship to explore the solar system.

Want more? Check out this collection of tools created by a member like you.

  • STEAM Apps - STEM + Arts = STEAM. Curated by the digital learning specialists The Tech Chicks.

Enjoy these great tools for educators!

Want a fresh copy of the edshelf Weekly newsletter in your inbox too? Sign up with edshelf today!

- Mike Lee, Co-founder of edshelf

P. S. Want to try out quality paid iPad apps for free? Willing to write a review for each for a chance to win an iTunes gift card? Check out the Happi Teacher Program.


Halfway Through Kickstarter

My jaw drops every time I look at the edshelf Kickstarter campaign. It is so humbling to see how many generous pledges have poured in.

Many people have told me, and still keep telling me, that this isn’t going to work out. They are all very kind people with the best of intentions. They have even held their own Kickstarter campaigns aimed at the education community. I take their advice to heart, especially since their campaigns sadly did not work out.

So I am cautiously optimistic. We are halfway through and there is still a tough mountain to climb, though these generous voices of support always fill me with hope:

From Michael Britt:

From the Tech Chicks:

From Michael Boll:

From Greg Walkup:

Please help me continue spreading the word. Every foot is a foot closer. If there are organizations that you think may be interested in helping, please let me know and perhaps I can work out a mutually-beneficial arrangement. I have already been in contact with some groups and have potentially exciting plans in motion, but more is always merrier!

And finally, a great big Thank You from my daughter and I for your wonderfully generous support!

Thank you so much!

- Mike Lee, Co-founder of edshelf


edshelf Weekly - Fun Educational Games

The generous support for the edshelf Kickstarter campaign has been amazing. There’s still a ways to go, and I would love your help in spreading the word on blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media. (Also, more t-shirts are available!) Thank you so much!

A fun game can be a great way to deliver instruction, especially during a break from school. It can make education more engaging for even the most recalcitrant student. And sometimes they can be pretty fun for adults too.

  • Tesseract - Looking for a challenge? This four-dimensional puzzle requires rolling a sphere to each side of… a hypercube.
  • The Fluid Ether - For a physics puzzle with fewer dimensions, in this game you use water currents to propel balls around.
  • Numblr - Here is another twist on an old classic: crosswords using mathematical equations!
  • SparkleFish - Or how about Mad Libs, but recording your own voice to fill in the missing words?

Want more? Check out these collections of tools created by members like you.

Enjoy these great tools for educators!

Want a fresh copy of the edshelf Weekly newsletter in your inbox too? Sign up with edshelf today!

- Mike Lee, Co-founder of edshelf


Saving edshelf with Crowdfunding

When I started edshelf, I didn’t want to take money from educators. I believed - and still believe - that it is possible to have an ethical and self-sustaining business by charging edtech companies instead [1].

So it was with mixed feelings that I launched edshelf’s Kickstarter Campaign.

I didn’t want to ask educators for money, but the incredible outpouring of support from the #saveedshelf convinced me that I needed to try this last-ditch effort. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I didn’t.

The Effect of #saveedshelf

Many have asked how the #saveedshelf campaign was going to help. Was it going to bring renewed interest from investors? From acquirers? From benefactors? From something else? Honestly, I wasn’t sure.

Then the emails and calls poured in. No, not from investors. But from lots and lots of brilliant people looking for ways to help. Some were fellow edtech entrepreneurs with partnership possibilities. Some were similar services with acquisition offers. Some were educators with lots of helpful suggestions.

Most, by far, were companies interested in edshelf’s assets - specifically, the email addresses of edshelf’s members. I turned down those offers right away. No price will make me give up edshelf’s members like that.

The Crowdfunding Possibility

Of all the emails, the crowdfunding suggestions stuck with me. I was originally advised by people at the popular crowdfunding sites that this wouldn’t work for edshelf. The amount that I calculated I would need to raise in order to remain competitive in this market was too high. Competitors were well-funded and had large teams. To stay relevant, I thought I would need at least a small team.

But the suggestion was still stuck. It was in my head like “Let It Go” from Frozen. So, like, a lot.

Then I thought: what if I “rebooted” edshelf? What if I started over and, knowing what I know now, built edshelf the way it should have been built? Meaning: make it revenue-generating and self-sustainable from Day One. Make it able to sustain just me, then grow from there, slowly and steadily?

Except for one huge benefit: I’m not really starting over. I’m starting with a really passionate membership of edtech early adopters and a set of features that they’ve grown to love. So it’s like starting over at Day Seven.

With that plan in mind, I calculated how much I would need to get edshelf to self-sustainability. $30k. Compared to how much of my own savings I’ve already invested in the last 2.5 years, it’s a small number. But I think it’s a realistic number. And now I can’t wait to set the plan in motion and get edshelf back on track!

I Need Your Help

If you’ve enjoyed edshelf’s newsletters, collections, and search capabilities - and look forward to evolved versions of each - please consider supporting edshelf’s Kickstarter campaign. Even a small donation would mean a lot. And more than anything else, please share the campaign with your colleagues, friends, and neighbors.

Educators deserve good tools. Together we can make sure educators are always equipped with them.

Thank you so much!

- Mike Lee, Co-founder of edshelf

[1] One plan is to offer edtech companies various ways to promote themselves on edshelf within approved channels. I’ve already been listing some as sponsors of the weekly newsletter and will continue that. In terms of the business, I don’t care to squeeze out every dollar I can by putting deceitful advertising everywhere; that’s not why I started this business. I believe I can sustain edshelf using only ethical advertising channels. (i.e. Search results will NEVER be influenced by paid advertisers. Like Google, I may place sponsored listings that are visually separate from the search results.)


edshelf Weekly - Digital Storytelling Tools

Yes, edshelf is still around for at least another 30 days! With your help, perhaps it can be around even longer. Please share the edshelf Kickstarter campaign with your colleagues and PLNs. Thank you so much!

Storytelling is an important art for both students and working professionals. Give your students the power to craft a story as a way to learn a topic, think critically, increase literacy skills, and express their creativity.

  • Rory’s Story Cubes - Shake nine virtual cubes for story prompts. Try using all nine prompts for a fun challenge!
  • Shadow Puppet Edu - A kid-friendly project-based learning and digital storytelling app with Common Core activity ideas too.
  • Plotagon - Create a 3D animated story by writing in a movie script format. Characters come with a library of animated actions.
  • 30hands - This slide-based storytelling app also works as a presentation creator and allows images, videos, and audio.
  • Storytelling Alice - A PC-based application that teaches students (particularly girls) programming through creating 3D animated movies.

Want more? Check out these collections of tools created by members like you.

  • Authors R Us - Curated by the digital learning specialists The Tech Chicks.

Enjoy these great tools for educators!

Want a fresh copy of the edshelf Weekly newsletter in your inbox too? Sign up with edshelf today!

- Mike Lee, Co-founder of edshelf


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