Best Digital Tools for Teaching & Learning

Sponsored by AASL
AASL Best Digital Tools for Teaching and Learning Logo on blue burst background

Deadline

The application for this award is currently closed. The next award cycle will open on September 1, 2024, and will close on February 1, 2025.

Overview

AASL’s Best Digital Tools are recognized for fostering qualities of:

  • Innovation/Creativity
  • Active Participation
  • Collaboration
  • User-Friendly
  • Encourages Exploration
  • Information/Reference

Eligibility

Nominations may be submitted by developers, school librarians, or the general public. For a tool to qualify as “digital,” it must be accessible remotely (website, app, etc.).

NEW - Tools that have been recognized previously may be submitted for repeat recognition. For tools that were recognized within three years or less (2020, 2021, or 2022) the committee will consider tools that demonstrate progress, improvements, or changes since the previous recognition. Progress is considered both in terms of new features or tools, but also for improvements in usability and accessibility.

Tools recognized prior to 2020 may be submitted for consideration without the need to demonstrate progress over time.

Preparation for Application

Incomplete applications will not reviewed. Please prepare the following information prior to submitting:

  • If your tool has received the Best Digital Tools recognition in the past three years (see lists below) you must submit any improvements, changes, or progress to the tool for consideration.
  • Committee members must receive full access to your tool including any features that are behind paywalls. Access must remain available through April 1.
  • If your tool has a pricing structure that is not available for public viewing an example of pricing must be included.

Questions

Allison Cline
Deputy Executive Director


2024

Book Creator
Book Creator the simplest, most inclusive way to create content in the classroom. Our mission is to empower students of all ages and abilities to actively engage in the joy of learning. Privacy Policy. Grades K-12

ClassHook
ClassHook is a discussion platform with a curated library of over 7,400 educational videos from relatable media that students will recognize. Our videos are short (1 - 5 minutes) and organized by standards, grade level, and topic. ClassHook is a time saver for busy teachers and librarians who want to better engage students, pique their curiosity, and rekindle their passion for learning. ClassHook exposes students to realistic scenarios that are difficult to showcase with traditional curriculum, helping them apply their learning to real-world situations. Privacy Policy. Grades K-12

Copyright & Creativity for Ethical Digital Citizens
Copyright & Creativity aims to provide accessible and practical information about copyright – its protections, its limitations, and its role in encouraging creativity. Rather than just emphasizing what copyright prohibits, the goal here is to offer useful and positive information about what copyright allows and how students can successfully navigate and rely on copyright in their own roles as creators. Privacy Policy. Grades K-12

Diffit for Teachers
Diffit helps teachers save time by getting "just right" instructional materials in seconds - for any topic, lesson, or student. Whether they are adapting existing content to better meet their classroom's needs, or looking for student-ready activities to fill gaps in the curriculum, Diffit offers a user-friendly platform to get high-quality, differentiated resources in seconds. Privacy Policy. Grades 2-12

EarSketch
EarSketch introduces coding and music technology to students in a highly engaging, creative manner that has been shown to engage diverse student populations. Privacy Policy. Grades 6-12

Khan Academy Kids
Khan Academy Kids is a free educational app for children ages 2-8. The Khan Kids library includes thousands of kids books, reading games, math activities and more. Best of all, Khan Kids is 100% free with no ads or subscriptions. Privacy Policy. Grades PreK-2

KidLitTV
KidLit TV, a free resource for parents and educators, offers kid-focused author and illustrator interviews, storytime videos, drawing tutorials, and other literacy-related crafts and activities. KLTV is available in over 700,000 schools worldwide via our website and video distribution partners. We’re a team of parents, educators, librarians, authors, illustrators, and filmmakers creating fun ways to inspire a love of reading. Privacy Policy. Grades K-Middle

Masters of Tradition: A Cultural Journey Across America
Masters of Tradition is an interactive story map that allows students to explore the great diversity of cultures, communities, and artistic traditions that enrich the United States. Through abundant photographs, audio, video, short text, and first-person quotes, the story map addresses a variety of key themes, including immigration, migration, identity, heritage, and community. Privacy Policy. Grades 5-12

MusiQuest
MusiQuest's mission is to give every kid in the world access to music. By combining hands-on music making, dynamic instruction, and rich stories, MusiQuest's lessons feel fully "alive" to students. Privacy Policy. Grades 1-8

New American History
New American History helps educators and learners preparing to do research (including their National History Day projects!), develop cross-curricular Project-Based Learning opportunities, develop station based learning experiences, teach students skills to evaluate print and digital resources, and recommend high-quality tools and resources for inquiry-based learning. Privacy Policy. Grades 4-12

Parlay Ideas
Parlay is an AI-powered instructional platform that helps teachers facilitate meaningful, measurable, and inclusive class discussions. Privacy Policy. Grades 3-12

PebbleGo
PebbleGo is a curricular content hub specifically designed for K-2 students. Packed with informational articles, ready-made activities, and literacy supports for students of all abilities, it boosts engagement and fosters independent learning in core subject areas. Privacy Policy. Grades K-5

Pixton
We believe that storytelling is the world’s most powerful force for communication and change. Pixton is a comic creation platform that enables people of all ages and abilities to develop storytelling skills, enhance writing and visual communication, demonstrate learning, and celebrate identity and culture through personalized avatars. Privacy Policy. Grades 1-12

Seesaw
Seesaw offers a suite of award-winning tools, resources, and curriculum with interactive lessons, digital portfolios, and two-way communication features that provide continuous visibility into the student’s learning journey to support and celebrate their learning. Privacy Policy. Grades K-6

Sora
Sora provides every student digital access to the right books on any device using their school credentials. As the leading student reading platform for schools, Sora offers the industry’s largest catalog of ebooks, audiobooks, read-alongs, magazines and more for curriculum and choice reading. Privacy Policy. Grades PreK-12

TeachingBooks
TeachingBooks brings books to life for all readers. Discover an expansive collection of engaging video, audio, and printable content to excite students about reading and enrich literacy instruction in your school. Privacy Policy. Grades PreK-12

Wild Classroom
Connecting educators and guardians with the tools and resources they need to help kids explore and understand the world around them. Together we can inspire the next generation to build a future where people and nature thrive! Privacy Policy. Grades K-12

Write the World
A free online global community where teens write, review, and share. A non-profit dedicated to developing teens’ writing and critical thinking skills and equipping them with the confidence and competence to change the world, one word at a time. Privacy Policy. Grades 7-12


2023

Adobe Express for Education
Adobe believes everyone should have the opportunity to express and share their creativity and feel empowered to turn ideas into unique content without complexity. Adobe Express for Education is a free, innovative web and mobile app that allows creators to make, edit, and share standout content from thousands of beautiful templates. From science fair posters, social studies infographics, math flashcards, book reports, and much more, every student, teacher, administrator, and school staff member can express their creativity in just a few taps. Privacy Policy Grades: K-12

ChessKid.com
ChessKid.com is the scholastic extension of Chess.com, the #1 online chess site, and serves more than 3 million kids around the globe with lessons offered in English, Spanish, French, Korean and other languages. ChessKid is working to introduce chess education to as many students as possible worldwide and we pride ourselves as being the safest place for kids to learn and play chess in and out of the school. Media Specialists use ChessKid.com in their centers to help students enhance their creativity, improve their power of concentration, develop and expand critical thinking skills, boost memory and retention, and achieve superior academic performance. Find out if your school is eligible for FREE ChessKid accounts through our annual grant program at ChessKid.com. Privacy Policy Grades: K-12

The Choices Program
The Choices Program, based at Brown University, creates engaging digital educational resources and makes innovative scholarship accessible to diverse classrooms. Choices curriculum empowers students to understand the relationship between history and current issues while developing the analytical skills to become thoughtful global citizens. Choices curriculum resources tell an inclusive, responsible history, while also encouraging students to challenge and grapple with this history in the ways that historians do. Choices provides educators with high-quality, digital curriculum content that is used in all levels of high school classrooms as well as many middle schools and introductory level college courses. Choices currently offers curricula for U.S. History, World History, Current Issues, and Geography, as well as many electives. "Teaching with the News" from the Choices Program is a series of free online lesson plans and resource guides that connect classrooms to current events in the news. The Choices Program also offers a free collection of more than 1,700 short educational videos. Privacy Policy Grades: 6-12

Discovery Education
Connecting educators to a vast collection of high-quality, standards-aligned content, ready-to-use digital lessons, intuitive quiz and activity creation tools, and professional learning resources, Discovery Education provides educators a recently enhanced learning platform to facilitate engaging, daily instruction in any learning environment. Privacy Policy Grades: K-12

MackinVIA
MackinVIA is a free digital content management system designed for PK-12 grade schools that offers easy access to a vast collection of digital resources, including eBooks, audiobooks, databases, videos, and websites. With more than 3.5 million titles available for purchase, MackinVIA is currently accessed by over 9 million students worldwide through a single login for students, teachers, and librarians to view, utilize, and manage all the school's digital resources on any desktop, laptop, or mobile device. Multiple free apps are available for all devices and platforms, making it the perfect tool for both in-class and remote learning options. MackinVIA's multiple awards attests to its excellence in providing schools with a comprehensive and user-friendly digital content management system. Privacy Policy Grades: PreK-12

National Geographic
National Geographic is where education meets exploration. We are transforming the learning experience for young people and the educators who reach them with the tools, resources, and support they need to feed their curiosity and become the explorers of tomorrow. Through immersive experiences, interactive lesson plans, maps, and other free resources – there are endless ways to learn with National Geographic. Privacy Policy Grades: PreK-12

RumorGuard
RumorGuard is the News Literacy Project’s new platform that teaches news literacy through fact-checking viral rumors. RumorGuard draws on both prebunking and debunking concepts. Each post provides a fact-check – determining whether a meme, photo or video is accurate – but the platform does more than tell readers whether something is true or false. Each claim is evaluated based on five factors for credibility – source, evidence, context, reasoning and authenticity. Each of those claims has associated news literacy resources available in the platform, including virtual lessons, infographics, video tutorials and written guides. RumorGuard posts are shareable on social media platforms so that your community doesn't fall victim to misinformation, and can help you build your own foundation founded on facts. Privacy Policy Grades: 8-12

WORD Force Reading Adventures
WORD Force Reading Adventures is a free, game-based app that makes learning to read a fun adventure. Designed for at home use, it is a great solution to share with parents for after-school learning and a fun option for summer reading practice. Throughout 15 interactive games, kids will feel empowered as they become commander of the WORD Force superhero team. With silly characters and a creative “save the world” storyline, children will build key literacy skills and have fun along the way. Along with their zany sidekicks, they’ll explore new worlds and new reading concepts—from phonological awareness to vocabulary, reading comprehension, and more. Privacy Policy Grades: K-2


2022

Civic Online Reasoning
The Stanford History Education Group (SHEG) is a research and development group based in Stanford’s Graduate School of Education. In 2014, we set out to develop short assessments to gauge young people’s ability to evaluate online content. Our work was supported by the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, and the Silver Giving Foundation. Specifically, we sought to measure Civic Online Reasoning — the ability to effectively search for, evaluate, and verify social and political information online. We use this term to highlight the civic aims of this work. The ability to evaluate online content has become a prerequisite for thoughtful democratic participation. Privacy Policy Grades: 9-12

Classroomscreen
School Librarians can utilize Classroomscreen to manage classes during instructional units. The ability to use QR codes, groups, timers, whiteboards and more in one space allow users to manage their classes and groups in one place. The ability to duplicate boards makes this tool user friendly for teachers and librarians who teach more than one class that contains the same material. Classroomscreen has multiple features that allow teachers to streamline their instructional process. Privacy Policy Grades: K-12

Humanities in Class Digital Library
The National Humanities Center hosts the Humanities in Class Digital Library, an Open Education Resource (OER) microsite that collects and combines the best in humanities scholarship and education for use in the K-12 and collegiate classroom. Scholars share their research in a variety of forms (video lectures, primary source collections, essays, articles, etc.), and educators submit any type of instructional resource (lesson, activity, assessment, research, essay, guide, etc.). Members can modify and remix these materials as well as publish their own resources with direct citation - which transforms the traditional repository into a makerspace for scholars and educators. All submissions are reviewed by a team of digital librarians at the NHC for accurate metadata and appropriate content. Once reviewed, each resource is published with a lead or co-author with Creative Commons license of BY-NC. Privacy Policy Grades: K-12

iVOX
iVOX is a storytelling app that not only gives young readers the immersive technology they have come to expect from hours of video gaming, but which has been proven to support literacy development. Students interact with the app, allowing them to view the story from many angles and in some cases bring up further information. The story is read aloud for them as the words are highlighted at the bottom of the screen – a multi-modal approach that has been proven to aid in literacy development. Privacy Policy Grades: PreK-4

News-O-Matic
News-O-Matic is an incredibly valuable resource for school libraries. It has published a new edition of nonfiction articles every weekday for nine years -- so there are now more than 10,000 articles for students to use for their research and discovery. Each text is written at multiple Lexile levels from 400L-1000L for all students across grades K-8. Voice actors read each article out loud for listening comprehension, and the texts are also translated (and recorded by native speakers) in Spanish, French, Arabic, and Mandarin. There are videos, infographics, interactive maps, and 100+ correlated questions each week to ensure comprehension. And at the request of school librarians: Every article includes complete citations for students to track the source of the information -- and to inspire media literate users. Privacy Policy Grades: K-6

Noodletools
Noodletools is used to create citations, take notes, create an outline, and organize all research for a project or paper. It can be collaborative so students can work together or can be used alone. Students can keep all research in one place. Teachers and librarians can watch and monitor what the students are doing and make comments to any part of the research process within Noodletools. Students do not have to turn in material to the teacher, the teacher can access the student's work. It coordinates well with Word or Google Docs, and students can upload their completed paper in Google Docs to their project. Privacy Policy Grades: 6-12

Novel Effect
Novel Effect is the only app that combines children’s storybooks and powerful speech recognition. The result plays layers of interactive music and sound effects that respond as you read aloud from your print book during your regular storytime routine. The app brings the read-aloud to live allowing your students to feel like they are inside the story. Novel Effect is a supplementary app to add sound such as music, voice or sound effects when reading children's picture books out loud. The app uses speech recognition technology in order to place the sounds exactly in the story as needed. It uses popular books which are already in many libraries, homes and classrooms. You still get the physical print experience but with an added bonus. Kids and adults LOVE it and engagement is increased. Privacy Policy Grades: K-12

PowerNotes
PowerNotes unifies the processes for reading and evaluating sources, saving content, organizing, outlining, and formatting citations into a single workflow that efficiently transition into writing. With PowerNotes, students can utilize more library resources more effectively while also providing librarians with additional touch points to provide value throughout the educational process. Privacy Policy Grades: 6-12

SlidesMania
SlidesMania provides templates for activities, presentations, and organizational tools for teacher and student use. Templates are free, available for both PowerPoint and Google Slides, and customizable. Privacy Policy Grades: K-12 (Educators K-12)


Historical List (2009-2021)