Best Digital Tools for Teaching & Learning

Sponsored by AASL

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. 


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

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


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. 


Allison Cline email icon
Deputy Executive Director



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 is the scholastic extension of, 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 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 Privacy PolicyGrades: K-12


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

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 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- Educator Resources

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 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 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


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 PolicyGrades: 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)


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

  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.

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 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

Historical List (2009-2020)