Best Digital Tools for Teaching & Learning

Sponsored by AASL

Deadline: February 1

Applications will open September 1, 2022

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.). For the committee to move forward with a review of tool access must be shared free of charge. Download Copy of Application 

* Please note: The downloadable version of the application is for informational purposes only. All applications must be submitted online via the Apply Now button that will appear at the top of the page when the next award season opens in early September.

Questions

Allison Cline email icon
Deputy Executive Director

2022

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

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

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 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 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 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 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 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 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)

2021

Bites Media is a news and information platform for middle and high school students that connects current events to civic and social principles. Librarians often use the platform as a research supplement for students, as each article contains 10-12 primary sources in one place. Privacy Policy

Grades: Middle/High

Britannica ImageQuest ($) brings lessons, assignments, and projects to life with the best and broadest oering of curriculum-relevant imagery and digital art materials (symbols, educational illustrations, infographics, flags, and conceptual illustrations), all rights-cleared for educational, non-commercial use. Users have access to over 3.25 million images from more than 60 leading collections. Privacy Policy

Grades: K-12

Britannica LaunchPacks: Science ($) leverages high-quality, diverse digital content sets to build science knowledge and understanding, enabling educators to make strong cross-curricular connections to help students engage in meaningful learning. It allows educators to build content sets (Packs) that cover each of the disciplinary core ideas outlined in the Next Generation Science Standards and provide a seamless experience for students to think critically. Privacy Policy

Grades: K-12

Britannica LaunchPacks: Social Studies ($) empowers blended learning, personalized support for every learner, and student-led inquiry. LaunchPacks: Social Studies integrates SEL into curriculum-relevant lessons and allows students to build critical skills while educators effectively teach subject-area content in social studies. Privacy Policy

Grades: K-12

Britannica School ($) offers thousands of curated and curriculum-relevant articles, images, videos, audio clips, primary sources, maps, research tools, recommended websites, and three unique, but  connected, databases to meet every reading level. Students can use Britannica School to browse by subject, media type, or weekly rotating content. They can access the world’s knowledge with accurate, nonfiction, cross-curricular multimedia content that’s aligned to the next generation science, common core, and state curriculum standards. Privacy Policy

Grades: K-12

Checkology is a current events application that shows middle through high schoolers how to successfully navigate today’s challenging information landscape. Students learn how to identify credible information, seek out reliable sources, and apply critical thinking skills to separate fact-based content from falsehoods. Privacy Policy

Grades: 7-12

Copyright & Creativity is a full suite of free K-12 resources that teach the essentials of copyright and fair use and how they work together to encourage creativity. Resources include in-class lesson plans, plug-n-play lesson slides, learning videos, visual aids, and a professional development course for teachers. Rather than just emphasizing what copyright prohibits, the goal 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

Diverse BookFinder is a catalog of trade picture books published or distributed in the U.S. since 2002 that includes:

  1. A Unique Circulating Collection: Diverse BookFinder collects all depictions of Black and Indigenous people and People of Color (BIPOC) in picture books. Anyone with a library card can check these books out through Interlibrary Loan.
  2. A Search Tool: Diverse BookFinder is first-of-its-kind online, searchable database making it easier for educators to locate and explore picture books featuring BIPOC characters.
  3. A Source of Critical Data: Diverse BookFinder provides real-time data on WHO (which BIPOC characters) is depicted and -- using unique book categories -- HOW they are depicted in diverse picture books.
  4. A Collection Analysis Tool (CAT): Diverse BookFinder offers a free, online tool designed to help libraries diversify their picture book collections.

Grades: K-3 (target) but picture books can be used widely

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

The News Literacy Project is a nonpartisan national education nonprofit, provides programs and resources for educators and the public to teach, learn and share the abilities needed to be smart, active consumers of news and information and equal and engaged participants in a democracy. Privacy Policy

Grades: K-12

Pixton EDU is a web-app that gives educators and students a unique way to create stories, demonstrate learning, and enhance writing assignments – in any subject – through digital comics. Privacy Policy

Grades: 3-12

Scratch allows learners and educators to program interactive stories, games, and animations — and share creations with others in the online community. Privacy Policy

Grades: 1-10 (Scratch Jr. K-2)

Sora ($) allows learners to access popular and educational ebooks and audiobooks on any device from any location. Sora allows school librarians to curate their own collections and change the titles during the school year to align with their school’s curriculum and students’ needs. Sora also enables school librarians to support all kinds of readers by providing access to graphic novels and audiobooks paired with text. Sora also enhances reading with a dyslexic font as well as highlights and notes features students can use to complete their tasks. Privacy Policy

Grades: K-12

Typing.com is clean, colorful typing practice for any level  with Common Core and ITSE standards correlations. Scope and Sequence curriculum engages students with gamification opportunities to self-direct towards achievement with class competitions and other games to participate in and badges, stars, and certifications to achieve, print, and share with friends, parents, or colleagues. Class level settings and customizable lesson modules allow educators to  differentiate instruction to accommodate students at any level and pace. Privacy Policy

Grades: K-12

Untold is a free collection of short, compelling, history videos and animations designed to engage new audiences in a new conversation and shine a light on the stories that don’t always make it into the classroom and question what we think we know about those that do. Not everything worth knowing exists inside the cover of our history textbooks. Untold is here to fill in the gaps and bring new stories to life. Privacy Policy

Grades: Upper Primary/High School

Wakelet is a free to use tool that educators you to create visual, engaging learning environments for learners. With Wakelet, educators can quickly display any kind of content found on the web, through beautiful looking collections that can be presented and shared with whoever you like. School Librarians can use Wakelet to increase engagement with their students through book reviews, assignments, digital storytelling, reading lists and much more. Privacy Policy

Grades K-12

Wild Classroom contains a variety of resources that educators and librarians can use with youth to inspire them to help protect the planet. The platform contains activity plans, digital reference materials (including videos and kid-friendly scientific articles), virtual engagement opportunities with World Wildlife Fund experts, online games, and project ideas of ways to get involved in their community. All of the materials are free to access and integrate a range of educational standards, including Next Generation Science and Common Core ELA/Math. Privacy Policy

Grades: K-12

2020

codeSpark Academy is an app and website that wordlessly introduces young users to the world of coding through games. Parents and children can use it on their own, and educators can create classes to manage student use. Privacy Statement

EmotionalABCs Classroom is a teacher-led, research-based Social Emotional Learning (SEL) curriculum that provides teachers (K–3) with 20 sequential Workshops, support materials, and a flexible structure for classroom instruction. Privacy Statement

FabuLingua is an interactive story app that teaches students Spanish as they interact with the text. Vibrant illustrations engage students as they read the story and practice their Spanish skills. Privacy Statement

Facing History is geared for educators in social studies and ELA. This tool offers a wealth of resources for use on topics that address racism, anti-semitism, and prejudice throughout history. Teachers can find professional development opportunities here, and those who attend can borrow materials for free from the collection. There are a variety of lesson plans that include learning objectives and activities as well as links to text and video resources to be used in the classroom. Privacy Statement

KidLit TV offers in depth interviews with authors and illustrators. On this website you will find book trailers, how to draw videos and other literacy related activities.  This website offers curated resources for books geared toward PK-3rd grade. Privacy Statement

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 Statement

Parlay Ideas’ is a robust discussion tool, fostering deep understanding, equitable collaboration, and mindful reflection, in both live and asynchronous learning environments. Privacy Statement

TalkingPoints is a free messenger tool for educators that helps remove barriers in language communication. The TalkingPoints app creates easier connections with parents via text messages directly to mobile devices and in their native languages. Privacy Statement

TeachingBooks introduces students and teachers to authors and teaches them the correct pronunciation of their names. It also includes book guides, activities, lesson plans, and readings and is the perfect resource for teachers and librarians looking to bring authors and their work into classrooms and libraries. Privacy Statement

World 101 offers information from an independent non-partisan sources about international relations. The world is divided into regions and information is provided for each region on politics, economics, etc. From essays and discussion questions to glossaries and up-to-date reading lists, World101 provides comprehensive teaching resources for each of our modules. Privacy Statement

Zoom is an easy-to-use tool that provides video and/or voice meetings, conference rooms, webinars, and chats with file sharing abilities using desktops, mobile devices, and phones. Privacy Statement


Best Apps and Best Websites Recipients

2019

Apps: Chatterpix Kids, EarthViewer, Equity Maps, Figment AR, Green Screen by Do Ink, iCell, iCivics - Suite, Khan Academy Kids, Mixerpiece, Nearpod, Novel Effect, Object Viewer for Merge Cube, PBS Kids Scratch Jr., Quizlet, Sites in VR, Sora App, Stop Motion Studio, Tynker, Wakelet, and Wolfram Alpha

Websites: Anchor, Bootstrap, Brush Ninja, CS First, Deck.Toys, Edpuzzle, Elementari, Empatico, Explore, Genially, GeoGuessr, Knightlab, Storytelling, Libraries Ready to Code, National Geographic Education, NCMA Learn, NowComment, Pulitzer Center, Storyline Online, Teaching Tolerance, Thunkable, Tour Creator, Unite for Literacy, and Wakelet

2018

Apps: Clips, Complete Fairytale Play Theatre, Engaging Congress, Google Spotlight Stories, Google Translate, GooseChase, Hopscotch: Make Games, Human Anatomy Atlas 2018, Incredibox, Libby, Metaverse – AR Browser, Office Lens, PBS KIDS Games, PBS KIDS Video, Periodic Table, Pixie, Procreate, PuppetMaster, Recap, RelationShapes, Science Journal, SDG in Action, Seeing AI, Signed Stories, and Swiipe: News That Knows You

Websites: AllSides for Schools, App Inventor, Be Internet Awesome, BioInteractive, Book Creator, BoomWriter, Classcraft, CoSpaces Edu, EarSketch, edWeb.net, The Global Goals, Global Oneness Project, Kapwing, The Learning Network, Loom, Metaverse, NewseumED, Pencil Code, Prodigy, Recap, Science Friday, Stanford History Education Group, Time.Graphics, Tinkercad, and Typito

2017

Apps: Radio Jones And His Robot Dad, Shakespeare’s Sonnets, Heuristic Shakespeare – The Tempest, Goldilocks and Little Bear, Swift Playground, Disaster Detector, Cosmic Watch, Lifeliqe, Desmos Graphing Calculator, IFTTT, Quizizz, Google Keep, MeisterTask, National Museum of African American History and Culture Mobile Stories, Google Arts and Culture, The New Immigrants: NYC 1880-1924, English Central, ChineseSkill, Bloxels, CoSpaces, Flipgrid, TouchCast Studio, Toontastic 3D, andGoogle Expeditions

Websites: Elink.io, Screen-cast-omatic, My Simpleshow, Pixabay, ClassHook, The Learnia, Spreaker, Write the World, Buncee, Sugarcane, Google Keep, Baamboozle, Cite This For Me, Vizia, Formative, Flipgrid, Wizer, OER Commons, US Holocaust Museum, Arts Edge, CommonLit, MediaSmarts, Listenwise, Poets.org, and DuoLingo

2016

Apps: Epic! Unlimited Books for Kids, Ryan North’s To Be or Not to Be, The Voyages of Aladdin and Sinbad, Metamorphabet, Professor Astro Cat’s Solar System, The Foos, The Everything Machine, Attributes by Math Doodles, Earth Primer, Map of Life, OneNote, Three Ring, Post-It Plus, Google Classroom, Newsela, StoryCorps, Homes, Spies of Mississippi: The Appumentary, MoMA Art Lab, MusiQuest, Canva, Plotagon, Adobe Spark, Office Sway, and Comic Life 3

Websites: Movenote, Vibby, Bunkr, PicMonkey, Piktochart, Photos for Class, Adobe Spark, Biteable, Office Sway, Seesaw, Jeopardy Rocks, Trello, Creatubbles, Edueto, Quizizz, Bloomz, Google Cultural Institute, Google Maps Street View Treks, Digital Compass, DK Find Out, Go Noodle, Actively Learn, Zoom In, Epic!, and Smithsonian Tween Tribune

2015

Apps: David Wiesner’s Spot, Incredible Numbers, Loose Strands, Seamus Heaney: Five Fables, The UnStealer, Adobe Voice, Buncee for Edu, Glogster, LEGO Movie Maker, Pixel Press Floors, Kahoot, Remind, Seesaw, Skitch, Spider Scribe Jr., Amazing World Atlas, Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), Ripped Apart: A Civil War Mystery, Think Like Churchill, Touch Van Gogh, Algodoo, iBiome: Wetland, Motion Math: Educator Suite, My Incredible Body, and WWF Together

Websites: TouchCast, Tackk, Pear Deck, Apps Bar, Soundtrap, Storyboard That, My Storybook, Booktrack Classroom Beyond Pad, Google Classroom, FlipQuiz, Bookopolis, Answerables, DIY, Beenpod, IFTTT, Gooru, Molecular Workbench, Knowmia, Hstry, Engineering is Elementary, What Was There, Code, BioDigital Human, and PhET

2014

Apps: A Day in the Market, Audubon Guides: Butterflies, Brian Cox’s Wonder of Life, Disney Animated, War Horse Interactive Edition, Dragonbox Algebra 5+, Kodable Pro, Monster Physics, NOVA Elements, Water Cycle HD, Easy Portfolio, GoodReader, instaGrok, Pocket, Subtext, Civil War by KIDS DISCOVER, Duolingo, Historypin, Umano, US Geography by Discovery Education, Notability, Photo Editor by Aviary, RWT Timeline, Shadow Puppet, and Tellagami

Websites: PowToon, VideoNotes, Thinglink, HaikuDeck, Canva, Glossi, Recite This, Meograph, Metta, Figment, Droptask, Gibbon, Kaizena, Pearl Trees, Kahoot, TodaysMeet, Storify, Alchemy Learning, Stoodle, MixedInk, EduCanon, RemixT, Media History Digital Library, Why Files, and Vocabulary

2013

Apps: Bats! Furry Fliers of the Night, Al Gore - Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis, Cinderella, Shakespeare in Bits - Hamlet, Fam Bam: Got to Have Music, Science 360, NASA, Operation Math, Simple Physics, Tinkerbox, EasyBib, Dropbox, Evernote, Schoology, Socrative, Ansel & Clair’s Adventures in Africa, Barefoot World Atlas, Britannica Kids: Ancient Egypt, MyCongress, News-O-Matic: Daily for Kids, Educreations, Toontastic, Kidblog, Garageband, and Videolicious

Websites: Pinterest, smore, easel.ly, inklewriter, myHistro, FlipSnack, BiblioNasium, LitPick, padlet, edcanvas, WorkFlowy, socrative, QuadBlogging, Marqueed, 19Pencils, iCivics, Wonderopolis, Youngzine, Garbology, Seriously Amazing, Edudemic, Science NetLinks, TEDEd, Codecademy, and The Digital Public Library of America

2012

Websites: Projeqt, Gamestar Mechanic, Vialogues, Popplet, Jux, Comic Master, My Storymaker, Inanimate Alice, Quicklyst, Spidercribe, Stixy, Remember the Milk, Celly, Wiggio, Collaborize Classroom, Study Ladder, Historypin, Learn it in 5, ARKive, DocsTeach, IWitness, How to Smile, StudyBlue, NASA Kids Club and Springnote

2011

Websites: Aviary, CK-12 Flexbooks, Conduit, Digital Vaults, Dipity, Edistorm, Edmodo, Exploratorium, Geocube, iCyte, i-Earn, i-nigma QR codes, Kerpoof, Khan Academy, Lingt Language, Microsoft Tag Codes, Myths and Legends, Nota, PicLits, SpicyNodes, Symbaloo, Tagxedo, Yolink Education, You Are What You Read, and ZooBurst

2010

Websites: Creative Commons, debategraph, Edsitement, Evernote, Exploratree, Glogster, International Children's Digital Library (ICDL), The Jason Project, Jing, jogtheweb, Learn Central, Live Binders, Masher, MuseumBox, The National Archives' Digital Classroom, National Science Digital Library, Pageflakes, Prezi, Professor Garfield, SchoolTube, Scratch, Storybird, TED, WatchKnow.org, and Weblist

2009

Best Websites: Diigo, Google Reader, Simply Box, Mindmeister, Polleverywhere, Wikispaces, Zoho, Curriki, Primary Access, SOS for Information Literacy, Partnership for 21st Century Skills, Animoto, Our Story, Teacher Tube, VoiceThread, Wordle, RezED, Second Life, Classroom 2.0, Edublogs, Facebook, Good Reads, Ning, Skype, and Twitter

Landmark Sites: ALTEC; Annenberg Media Learner.Org; Apple Learning Interchange; Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD); Discovery Education; Edutopia; EduWeb; Field Trip Earth; Global School; Google Earth; Library of Congress; MIT Open Courseware; Merlot; Moodle; NASA; Our Documents; PBS Teachers; Read, Write, Think; Smithsonian Education; Thinkfinity; and WebQuest