FAQs

It's OK to have questions.

GEI is a new concept, and it’s natural to ask about how our program works.

Frequently asked questions for Teachers

Evaluation Questions

How long is the product testing period?

We ask you to use the product in your classroom for at least six weeks. You may opt to keep a product longer, but the average testing time is six weeks.

Do I have to use the product every day?

Some products lend themselves to everyday use, while others will be used occasionally or in small group centers.

What do I do with the product after the testing period?

We ask that you donate the product to a school or charity of your choice at the end of the testing period.

Does each student need to use the product?

No, but we suggest having as many students use the product as possible. Your feedback in the final review will be more comprehensive if you’ve been able to explore and implement the product multiple times and with multiple students.

Is there information online about this product?

It depends on the product manufacturer. Some have information on their websites. We evaluate each product to see if the teacher will need to seek out additional information or if the product is turn key.

What if I feel this product does not match my grade level?

If the product clearly stated an intended age range or grade level that matches your classroom, then indicating the product was not an appropriate match for your students will be valuable feedback for the manufacturer. If, however, you received the wrong grade level inadvertently, please contact our office at [email protected] or 1.844.GEI.SEAL (434-7325).

How is my feedback used by GEI?

GEI confidentially provides to manufacturers feedback and (if endorsed) testimonials from evaluations submitted by GEI reviewers. Feedback to the manufacturer includes no teacher name; testimonials published on the GEI website include the reviewer’s first name and the first initial of the last name. The testimonials and attribution may be used by the manufacturer for use in their marketing efforts. Again, only the first name and last initial is shared.

Can I test multiple products?

Yes — we welcome active reviewers. However, to keep the reviewer pool diverse and balanced, we also try to get products into the hands of many testers as possible. GEI’s executive team, which aggregates data from the field, watches for honest, detailed, insightful reviews – positive or negative. Those reviewers are most likely to be asked to review products again. When GEI receives a rubric review with minimal feedback (number ratings alone, with little commentary), It’s unlikely GEI would select the reviewer to participate again.

How do I sign up to be a product evaluator?

It’s easy — simply visit our Get Involved page and submit your name and email address. We’ll follow up with you soon.

How long after I sign up will I receive a product?

This depends if we have a perfect match for you! It might be within a week, a month, or a year. Stay tuned — you will receive an email from us when we’ve found a perfect product for you to review. In the meantime, enjoy digging into our blogs, exploring the most recently endorsed products, and following our Twitter feed!

Frequently asked questions for Producers

Product Submission Questions

What makes GEI Endorsement a great value?

Endorsement includes:

  • Connection to our growing social media presence
  • Professional and honest testimonials coming from our GEI Reviewers to use in your marketing material
  • A product page on our website, directing our massive teacher audience to your website
  • The rights to use our GEI Seal of Endorsement on all of your marketing material and product packaging
  • The rights to use professionally shot photography that showcases your product dynamically

Once endorsed, GEI will:

  • Recommend and promote your product through our growing social media outlets
  • Add your product to our growing list of searchable products and provide visitors with links to gain more information and to purchase
  • Feature your product on our homepage as a recently endorsed product
  • List your product in our quarterly email to our massive teacher following

Does GEI charge a fee for evaluating products?

Yes. Our goal is to review products and impact learning, and to do this, we charge a fee to cover distribution of the products to five school districts, creation of feedback reports, website and social media management, and other logistics.  The fee is based on the number of products submitted by the producer.  The GEI evaluation program provides some of the lowest-cost in-classroom customer research available. It’s a win-win opportunity for manufacturers in a range of categories. Please contact our office for product evaluation pricing at 844-GEI-SEAL (434-7325) x 102.

 

During the evaluation period, products are used by teachers in real classrooms for six weeks. At the end of that period, the GEI board of review considers teacher feedback based on three primary areas: effectiveness, durability, and value. GEI endorsement is based on this collective feedback and review. Products that receive GEI endorsement are featured on our website, receive reviewer testimonials, and are provided additional promotional opportunities. Products that are not endorsed receive detailed constructive feedback from GEI teacher reviewers, invaluable insights that can enhance future product development.

How many products do I need to send to GEI?

We leave this up to your discretion. The process requires that each product is reviewed by 5 different educators/classrooms. If you are submitting furniture or audio-visual equipment for review, we suggest one per classroom — so you’ll need to send five of the items to GEI.  On the other hand, if you’re providing a smaller item, such as game, you might want to send enough for a center of children to use (so, 2-3 per classroom). If this is a larger game that can be used by multiple children at one time, then 1 per class is sufficient. If the item is best used by the entire class, then we suggest 5 class sets (personal dry erase boards, for example).  If your product spans multiple grades, such as a PE resource for grades 2-5, we’ll need just 5 total for the review process.

GEI will place that product in different grade levels to get great feedback. In other words, you would not have to send 5 for grade two, 5 for grade three, etc. However, if your product has different content for each grade level, meaning this is NOT the exact same product, we will need to evaluate that at each level (x5).

Can I send used products?

Unfortunately, no. GEI only accepts new products for evaluation. This helps you put your best foot forward with the reviewers.

How long does the product evaluation process take?

From the time products are submitted to GEI, to your receiving feedback based on completed evaluation, should be 8-10 weeks. Educators must spend a minimum of six weeks using the product in their classroom; the additional time is required for GEI to coordinate and ship materials to GEI Reviewers, and for the GEI executive team to review feedback, compile testimonials and prepare this information for the manufacturer.

Is it possible to request more than six weeks of classroom evaluation?

If you feel that your product is more involved than a six week evaluation allows, we have member GEI classrooms standing by to accept a longer review period. We offer review options as long as six months. Please indicate this on your manufacturer’s application under “any special considerations.” Or feel free to contact GEI directly for any other special considerations. There is no additional charge for a longer evaluation period.

Do you receive a referral or affiliate fee when GEI endorsed products are purchased via links on your site?

No. We receive no referral fees or commissions from producers or online retailers we link to. We simply want to elevate awareness of the best teaching products available.

Evaluation Questions

Does our product feedback remain confidential?

Everything is confidential. The only time we will feature products on our website is when they have received the GEI Seal of Endorsement resulting from positive field testimonials and final evaluation by our staff. All other product feedback remains confidential and will be given to manufacturers after the review is complete.

How do you select the educators who evaluate products?

The executive team examines submitted products and matches them to qualified GEI educator reviewers in our member database. All GEI reviewers are required to have a state-recognized teacher certification. Each product is placed in at least one urban, rural and suburban classroom. The GEI team works diligently to place the product in diverse geographical regions.

Our executive team has more than 100 years of combined educational experience, and includes a PhD and 20 certifications, including National Board Certifications. All areas of education are represented in GEI leadership, including PE, special education, mathematics, music, early literacy, and more.

Do educators pay to review a product or to read the reviews?

Educators who participate with GEI pay nothing. They come to the site to read insightful blog content, learn about endorsed products, and sign up to be a GEI reviewer — all free of charge. This is their site and their organization. Fees paid by manufacturers for objective evaluation (and feedback) of their products make it all possible.

Are educators paid to review the products?

Absolutely not. Their evaluation is a volunteer effort that supports GEI’s mission of identifying quality, durable, effective products in the field — because GEI Reviewers believe it will ultimately save districts money. Educators want to have a greater voice in the process. Upon completion of a product evaluation, we ask teachers to donate the products to a school, library, hospital, or charity of their choice.

Will we know where the product goes for review?

As a promise to our educators, all reviewers will remain confidential.

What criteria do you use to evaluate products?

Evaluation and endorsement is based on teacher feedback following an established in-school review process. When the six-week classroom review period is over, the GEI Reviewer completes the product evaluation. The evaluation includes six standards that require the reviewer to reflect on and rate a series of statements and provide additional written feedback that details and expands on these ratings. This subjective feedback is invaluable to the GEI team and the manufacturers because it aids in the endorsement process and it helps the producers in the improvement or enhancement of the item submitted.

The Six GEI Rating Standards:

  • Teacher Use of the Product
  • Student Use of the Product
  • Product Design
  • Product Directions and Instructions
  • Product Value
  • Final classroom & product observations

Once we’ve received ratings and commentary from the five schools chosen to review a product, the GEI Executive Team then evaluates the data in aggregate. In doing so, the team looks for common language, outlying feedback that may seem unfair or incongruous, and insights both qualitative and quantitative to determine whether or not to endorse the item submitted by the manufacturer.

The GEI Executive Team has more than 100 years of combined educational experience, and includes a PhD and 20 certifications, including National Board Certifications. All areas of education are represented in GEI leadership, including PE, special education, mathematics, music, early literacy, administration, and more.

The GEI product review process is unique and challenging. Fewer than 50 percent of products submitted to GEI so far have received the organization’s endorsement. Those that haven’t have received detailed feedback from reviewers that could influence future product improvement or development.

Endorsement Questions

What happens if our product is endorsed?

Celebrate! This is great news – it means you can now proudly declare your product GEI Endorsed, a terrific differentiator for marketing and public relations. If your product is endorsed, we’ll notify you by email, and share with you a media package that includes promotional assets and ideas. We’ll also include a photo and description of your product in our GEI Endorsed Product Index, feature it in our e-newsletter and social media channels, and offer testimonial quotes from product reviewers (including examples of any new or different ways the product was used successfully with the students). We’ll also offer additional promotional assets (such as GEI seal imagery for use in advertising and catalogs) available to you at no charge.

What if our product is NOT endorsed?

We will provide feedback gathered from the teachers who field tested the product and our executive team. This feedback will focus both on the good qualities of the product and what our real-world evaluators feel could be improved. This user feedback is valuable customer research that can positively influence future development of your product.

If our product is not endorsed, can we resubmit for evaluation?

Of course. Our goal is to evaluate products and improve education. We are always happy to connect great products with great educators. We will waive the review fee for the second submission and ask that you simply pay the cost of shipping the product to evaluation schools. If you have a new or updated version of this product, you’re welcome to submit it for evaluation for the normal fee.

How long does the GEI endorsement last?

As long as the product does not change, the endorsement will remain with the product. However, GEI reserves the right to revoke the seal of endorsement if the product is recalled (please see manufacturer’s terms and conditions) or if the product (or its price) changes significantly.