School libraries are the gateway to a plethora of skills and resources--here are a few digital tools to add to the catalog

5 digital tools for school libraries

School libraries are the gateway to a plethora of skills and resources--here are a few digital tools to add to the catalog

School libraries have evolved from strict, quiet, hush-hush rooms to more interactive spaces with flexible seating, readily-available edtech tools, and educators on hand to help with research, critical resource evaluation, makerspaces.

It’s in school libraries where students often discover and hone their love of coding and programming, create amazing projects via makerspaces, and where they develop important 21st-century skills.

As schools plan to return to full in-person learning in the fall, students will no doubt be eager to return to their school libraries and pick up where they left off.

These five resources may help start a new school year on a fun and productive note:

1. Weava, a Chrome extension, simplifies research and lets users highlight websites and PDFs with multiple colors, make annotations, and revisit them with a single click; organize highlights into folders and sub-folders; create citations automatically for highlights; and access highlights anywhere. Highlights and notes are saved in the cloud.

2. 826 Digital offers access to hundreds of teaching resources designed to ignite a love of writing when teachers create a free account. 826 Digital comes from the 826 National Network, the largest youth writing network in the United States. The network is working toward a country in which every student has access to the joy and power of writing. 826 Digital champions student writing. By providing engaging, adaptable, standards-based resources—designed to captivate young writers and empower their educators—826 Digital aims to reach students everywhere, whether they are aspiring authors or reluctant writers.

3. NowComment makes it easy to have rich, engaging discussions of online documents no matter how large (or small) your class or collaboration group. The site is useful to discuss readings, for peer writing feedback, for distance learning, during collaborative authoring, and for scholarly annotation.

4. Skybrary is a carefully curated interactive library of eBooks and real-world video explorations designed to engage young readers and foster a love of reading. Skybrary for school can be tailored to any instructional setting and used at school and at home. The extensive library of books, videos and lesson plans is designed for all levels of students in grades K-3 across multiple subject areas.

5. Read&Write is a powerful keyboard replacement that works in every app. Supporting reading, writing, comprehension and vocabulary development, Read&Write provides a rich set of features which extend accessibility and provide a range of tools to help with literacy, including text to speech, prediction, a dictionary and talking dictionary, and a picture dictionary. Available for iOS and Android.

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Laura Ascione

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