September 27, 2016

Joyce Valenza’s Picks from the Top 25 Websites for Teaching and Learning


Teacher librarian Joyce Valenza reflects on the 2013 Best Websites for Teaching & Learning, the highly anticipated list chosen annually by the American Association of School Librarians (AASL).

Unveiled June 29 at the American Library Association annual conference in Chicago, the list includes digital storytelling tools such as FlipSnack, for creating books from PDFs, and Inklewriter, an interactive writing platform by Cambridge, MA, startup inkle, designers of the Poems by Heart app for Penguin Classics. Then there’s Biblionasium, a social reading site for kids that’s already being used by a California elementary school for summer reading. (Please let us know how you’re using or plan to use these tools in the comments.)

As she did last year, Valenza posted her take on NeverEndingSearch, Valenza’s School Library Journal blog.

Here in Chicago, AASL’s Best Websites for Teaching & Learning Committee just released its standards-aligned 2013 list.

Sites, apps, and tools are selected because they engage users through innovation, creativity, active participation, and collaboration. Honored websites, tools, and resources will provide exceptional value to inquiry-based teaching and learning.

Using Edcanvas as a platform for curation (see below), this year’s Committee described a fabulous array of tools in the categories of:

Media Sharing

Digital Storytelling

Manage & Organize

Social Networking & Communication

Content Resources

Curriculum Collaboration

The team confirmed several of my personal favorites: Pinterest, Smore,, TED Ed, and DPLA, for instance. But I learned about so many truly useful new tools this morning, my mind was racing with plans for both personal use and serious fall implementation.

Here is a list of some of those new-to-me discoveries:

Workflowy: for planning an organizing

FlipSnack: for digitally publishing professional looking flip books. I’ll check this out as an alternative to Issuu.

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On October 14, 2015 Library Journal, School Library Journal, and thousands of library professionals from around the world gathered for the 6th annual Digital Shift virtual conference to focus on the challenges and opportunities presented by the digital transition’s impact on libraries, their communities, and partners. Now available on-demand, this year’s program provides actionable answers to some of the biggest questions our profession faces for and from libraries of all types – school, academic, and public and features thought-provoking keynotes from John Palfrey, author of BiblioTech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google, and Denise Jacobs, tech leader, author, and creativity evangelist.
Kathy Ishizuka About Kathy Ishizuka

Kathy Ishizuka (, @kishizuka on Twitter) is Executive Editor of School Library Journal.