Best Websites for Teaching & Learning 2017

aasl best website logoThe 2017 Best Websites for Teaching & Learning foster the qualities of innovation, creativity, active participation, and collaboration. They are free, Web-based sites that are user friendly and encourage a community of learners to explore and discover. 

Media Sharing

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Elink.io  
Looking for a way to curate and share links in a newsletter or list then elink is the online tool for you. Choose a template, add links and share as a web page, newsletter or website embed. Curate and share content in minutes.Easily embed any elink onto a website or blog by adding the HTML snippet. Website embeds are fully responsive and can be updated and edited in real-time through elink. Appropriate for grades 6-12, use elink to gather links on digital makerspaces for your students before they visit the school library. Or share in a newsletter with your peer educators. 

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Screen-cast-o-matic  
When you need to create how-to or flipped lesson videos for your library or classroom look no further than Screen-cast-o-matic. Easy to use, simply choose online what you plan to record or narrate over a set of slides. This online tool is incredibly easy to use. Free for up to 15 minutes of recording time. A great instructional tool for teacher librarians and peer educators but also appropriate for K-12 students. Use Screen-cast-o-matic to narrate your next online digital story. 

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My Simpleshow  
This online tool makes it so easy to create narrated explanatory videos. Simply write a short script, choose your images and animations, and My Simpleshow will do the rest. There are voices to do the narration for you or feel free to narrate the video yourself. Use subtitles for better audience accessibility. Appropriate for 4th-12th grade when making videos, appropriate for K-12 in viewing videos. Use My Simpleshow to introduce an information or digital literacy concept. Have students use it to explain a science or math idea to their peers. 

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Pixabay  
This site offers nearly one million images free of copyright restrictions for use in a multitude of projects. Images are available as photos, vectors, illustrations, and videos. No login is required to download images, which can be used for writing prompts, vocabulary development, and in student presentations. SafeSearch filter is available to avoid inappropriate content, making this tool useful for grades K-12, and searches can be filtered by image type, orientation, category, size, and color. Pixabay is available as an app and a Chrome extension. 

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ClassHook 
This video based site helps you find clips from popular television shows and movies. Popular TV shows and movies have a myriad of references to valuable educational content, but finding these references can be time consuming and difficult. ClassHook aids in the process of finding these teachable moments. With ClassHook, you can find subject-relevant, age-appropriate, and edited clips in just a few minutes. Appropriate for grades K-12 and beyond, use Classhook to find videos for digital media projects in history class. 

Digital Storytelling

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The Learnia 
Making whiteboard and flipped instruction easy, The Learnia is a free online whiteboard created with teacher librarians and peer educators in mind. Video creation is so simple and easy with a single click process. Add in text, images, slides, or any content you like, then record your board. Created with instruction and collaboration in mind. Appropriate for students grade 6-12 and beyond. Use The Learnia for your next digital professional development workshop. 

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Spreaker 
We have our students write, create, record, use video and more. How about podcast? Another way to think about digital storytelling. Spreaker is an easy to use tool to create podcasts. Chat, interview, add in effects, and more. Students will love having their own podcasts to include in library webpages and social media sites. Perfect for grades 6-12, use Spreaker for your next round of book talks or maker interviews. 

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Write the World 
A site committed to the improvement of the writing of high school students via a global online community and guided interactive process. Young writers are encouraged to find their voices in writing, polish their editing, and publish on an international platform. Write the World also aids students in developing tools that will aid them in writing and communication for success in school, career, and life. Geared toward high school, use for poetry slams and writing competitions. 

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Buncee
Buncee is a presentation and digital storytelling tool great for creating interactive multimedia presentations. Students, educators, and teacher librarians can integrate content using a wealth of sources as well as create within the program directly on each slide. An easy to use toolbar within the program provides ease of accessibility and preview without the user ever navigating away from the slide or program. Available via multiple platforms Buncee is appropriate for levels K-12. Use it with students in creating their own digital personal histories. 

Manage & Organize

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Sugarcane 
It has a fun name, because it is a fun site. Looking for something new among the many for education gaming tools then Sugarcane is the place to check out. This web tool lets you easily create many different learning games, as well as access ones that others have created. Appropriate for grades 6-12, have students create challenges for peer learning or make new activities for your students. Try Sugarcane the next time you want to try a new hook for information or digital literacy. 

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Google Keep 
Looking for an online tool to use with bookmarking, note taking, and setting reminders. Then try Google Keep. Part of the Google Suite, this great tool makes keeping track of information easy. Make notes, keep lists, bookmark or save information. You can manage it all in Google Keep. A great organization tool for middle and high school students and excellent for managing information in libraries and classrooms. Use Google Keep to gather plans for your next information literacy escape room. 

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Baamboozle 
With a minimum of preparation and no student accounts needed, Baamboozle provides a platform for creating and playing games that can be used as topic introductions, lesson review and assessment at all grade levels. Assigning point values based on the degree of difficulty of a question is also an option. A search feature allows access to games already created and made public. Study mode permits players to review before giving their oral responses. Appropriate for all K-12 students, one use may be to assess student knowledge of library resource terminology.

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Cite This For Me 
As we well know as librarians, citations and fair use can be a constant struggle in teaching information literacy. Cite This for Me can go a long way to help. Students, peer educators, and librarians can automatically create bibliographies, citations, and works cited lists in the correct format using the APA, MLA, Chicago, Vancouver, or Harvard referencing styles. It is easy to use and incredibly convenient. Appropriate for grades 6-12, use this online tool with your next information literacy training or scavenger hunt. 

Social Networking & Communications

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Vizia 
Looking for a new way to flip your library or classroom instruction? Then look to Vizia. This online tool is for creating video-based quizzes. Choose a video or load your own into YouTube and then proceed to move through the video adding in multiple choice, polling, and open-ended questions. Creating an integrative video watching experience for both students and peer educators in a professional development setting. Appropriate for grades 4-12 and beyond, use Vizia to engage students in the legitimacy of news videos from various networks. 

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Formative 
Formative is an online tool that offers teacher librarians and their peer educators the opportunity to create assignments, deliver them to students, receive results, and provide individualized feedback in real-time. Use the platform to create new and original assignments for students, or upload pre-existing documents and turn them into paperless assignments. Appropriate for K-12 settings use with your students in the library when you want to give immediate feedback on citation styles and other issues on the ethical use of information. 

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Flipgrid 
Looking for a way to gather conversation topics and discussion with your students, peers, and community? Then Flipgrid is the site you have been seeking. Using this tool is simple; post a topic and your audience responds via video in 90 seconds, from anywhere, using just about any device. Appropriate for K-12 audiences and beyond this online tool can used for any learning or professional development scenario to enhance discussion, learning, and collaboration.  

Curriculum Collaboration

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Wizer 
A “wizerd” of online question/response tools, Wizer is a simple platform that integrates a plethora of features that takes it beyond online worksheets to a tool that makes meaningful questioning, student response, and feedback easy.  Wizer’s mobile-friendly, drag-and-drop tasks include multimedia embedding, matching, sorting, diagram/image labelling, and much more. Especially unique is the ability to record responses and feedback as audio commentary, making this product versatile enough for use with students who are developing reading skills.  Appropriate for use with grades 1-12, consider using Wizer for learning stations, surveys, flipped learning environments, and skills practice/review. 

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OER Commons 
OER Commons is a wealth of community-curated and created, sorted, leveled, and curriculum-aligned (including AASL Standards for the 21st Century Learner!) resources.  Save, tag, evaluate, align, and view conditions of use for existing resources, or create materials, lessons, and modules independently or in user groups.  Accessibility controls include adjusting font size and style, line spacing, and contrast.  Use OER Commons to find amazing resources throughout K-12, or have learners in grades 9-12 and beyond create and publish materials to share with the larger community.

Content Resources

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US Holocaust Museum 
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum inspires us to confront hatred, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity. The website is the digital face of their brick and mortar building. Explore the online encyclopedia, search through useful teaching materials and lesson plans, as well as delve into reference services and so much more. Appropriate for 6-12 use this site for collaborations with your history and language arts teachers for digital research projects. 

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Arts Edge 
Looking for digital teaching resources in and through the arts? Then take a look at The Kennedy Center’s ArtsEdge. Lesson plans, how to guides, and so much more. This is the go to location when it comes to art, theater, music, and dance. Use the lesson finder to seek out ideas in the library, classroom, or after school for grades K-12. Look into materials for English Language Learners and for students who are differently abled. ArtsEdge has all students in mind. Find out how books illustrations are created on the ArtsEdge site and then have students create their own. 

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CommonLit 
This reading resources site offers teachers a free online collection of Common Core aligned reading materials. There are hundreds of fiction and nonfiction reading passages available for students in grades 5-12. Browse through news articles, poems, historical documents, and short stories all selected for young people. Questions are available for each selected text as well as analysis and reports for educational outcomes. Integrate CommonLit into your next National Poetry Month activities. 

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MediaSmarts 
MediaSmarts provides digital and media literacy programs and resources for education, public awareness, and research and policy. Their K-12 resources align with existing curriculum for integration in the classroom. MediaSmarts also raises public awareness of the importance of appropriate internet usage for children and youth, and engages in ongoing research. MediaSmarts supports adults with information and tools to help K-12 learners develop critical thinking skills to navigate digital resources.

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Listenwise 
Listenwise harnesses the power of listening to advance student literacy. This collection of current events, English Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies podcasts connects teaching to the real world and builds student listening skills. Listenwise provides English Language Learners the opportunity to experience academic language for college and career readiness. Appropriate for students 6-12th grades. The power of a great story enhances listening for student success and literacy for all. 

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Poets.org 
Brought to you by the Academy of American Poets, poets.org offers a wealth of resources for readers who enjoy poetry and teacher librarians who want to feature it. Sign up for Poem-a-Day or browse the curated collection of poems and biographies of poets to fill your daily appetite. Featured texts, books, audio, and video offer many opportunities to sink into the literature. Search the feature Poetry Near You for literary festivals and readings in every state. Appropriate for students 6-12th grades. Have students choose a poet to feature in a school library poetry slam. 

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DuoLingo 
DuoLingo provides free, bite-sized lessons to learn 23 different foreign languages. Users can earn points for correct answers, race against the clock, and level up. Lessons include speaking, listening, translation, and multiple-choice challenges. In-lesson grading provides immediate feedback and quickly shows how users can improve. The streak count motivates users to stay on track and incentives keep the lessons alive. DuoLingo is fun and addictive! Appropriate for grades K-12 and beyond, kids at all grade levels can practice language learning. 

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