We know that educators (and learners) are faced with an overwhelming array of choices when it comes to learning technologies. That's why we've assembled our expert team and put a lot of effort into developing a rating and review system that distinguishes the best products. Coupled with our filtering and search tools, we can help you surface options that meet your needs. Once you discover products, our comprehensive reviews provide incisive analyses and detailed information to help you decide whether and how to use them.
The editorial team that produces the reviews is made up of educators who are both great writers and deeply familiar with educational technologies. And our inaugural Common Sense Education Certified Educators: Graphite, who write our Teacher Reviews in a voluntary reviewer role, are selected from a highly competitive pool of educator applicants.
Graphite's unbiased ratings and reviews are conducted by expert reviewers and are not influenced by the developers of the products or by our funders. We never receive payments or other consideration for reviewing any product.
Understanding Our Rating
The Learning Rating is a five-point scale (1 to 5) that indicates learning potential, ranging from Not for Learning to Best for Learning, based on our evaluation along the following Learning Dimensions:
Subjects, Skills, & Standards
Every product review identifies the key subjects and skills that a product facilitates. For each subject and skill, we also highlight the sub-areas that are relevant (e.g., math is sub-tagged for algebra, fractions, etc.). Each subject that is identified also carries information on key standards alignment (Common Core State Standards for ELA/math, other national/state standards for science and social studies). Products are tagged with the most prominent standards that they support. This tagging is intended to help teachers find and cover content tailored to their specific needs. Subjects and skills are chosen to reflect both academic areas as well as 21st century skills for learning, living, and working. They are:
Language & ReadingReading, writing, listening, and speaking in English or other languages
MathArithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus
SciencePhysics, astronomy, geology, chemistry, biology
Social StudiesHistory, geography, government
ArtsReading, writing, listening, and speaking in English or other languages
HobbiesVisual arts, dance, theater, music, film
Thinking & reasoningLogic, strategy, problem-solving, thinking critically and analytically
CreativityDeveloping novel solutions, making new creations, innovation
Self-direction:Motivation, taking initiative, effort, personal growth, learning how to learn
Emotional developmentSelf-awareness, handling stress, developing resilience, empathy, perspective-taking
CommunicationConvey messages effectively using multiple forms of expression
CollaborationTeamwork, respecting other viewpoints, cooperation, meeting challenges together
Responsibility & ethicsIntegrity, respect, embracing differences, learning from consequences
Tech skillsDigital creation, evaluating media, social media, using and applying technology
Health & fitnessMovement, fitness, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, physical and mental health
Graphite Review Elements
Pros, Cons, Bottom Line
This section highlights the essential positives, negatives, and summary evaluation that aids busy readers in making a quick decision about a product.
A detailed evaluation of each product is the "heart" of the Graphite editorial review, which allows readers to dig deeper and learn more about what and how students learn with the tool, how to extend learning, primary intended population, tips for implementation in the classroom, how learning is assessed, and what kind of research/outcomes exist, if any. In this section, we also highlight standout assets or features of a product that may have particular merit.
How it works
This is a brief synopsis of what the experience is like -- a description of what happens in the course of interacting with the product.
Taken together with the product information, filtering categories, and a visual walkthrough of the experience, the Graphite product review offers a comprehensive compendium of data and analysis on a particular title.
Graphite is for teachers, by teachers. Educators like you rate products for learning potential ("Teacher Rating") and write Teacher Reviews. These are your user reviews and best practices for the learning technology products that have been reviewed by the Common Sense Education editorial team. Teacher Reviews provide teachers' perspectives and tips for implementation in educational settings. We've recruited and certified a volunteer corps of expert educator-reviewers who write Teacher Reviews for most products, but any registered user of Graphite can contribute to Teacher Reviews.
The Teacher Reviews section is also a place where our members can:
- - Rate products (LEARNING RATING, SETUP TIME)
- - Provide data on their own use of products
- - Make recommendations about specific uses (GREAT FOR) and specific audiences (GREAT WITH)
- - Write lesson plans that involve products
In this way, rigorous Graphite editorial ratings and reviews are complemented by robust recommendations from real teachers.