Staying current with the AASL 2017 Best Websites for Teaching & Learning

I took my time and looked at ALL of the websites on the AASL list for the 2017 Best Teaching & Learning websites.  Though they are all super awesome, I am going to limit myself to three and share how they might be useful in a class or library.

I created a free account on My Simpleshow. With the tools on this website, once you can create a free account you have the ability to make a video to explain or describe an idea, or concept using text, images, animation, and voice narration.  Its very easy to use and I immediately thought about how any teacher could create a simpleshow to explain anything whether the teacher is teaching art, English, math, science, history, music, and the list goes on!  The images are simple and do not take away from the message or information intended for the viewer.  In a classroom I would use this as a different way to explain a concept.  I made a video to explain simile and I was not very satisfied with the finished product because I found that I wanted to use more of the features that I didn’t have access to with a free account.  In spite of that this is a great tool for sharing basic information.  As a librarian I would use this tool to invite teachers to attend a professional development opportunity, or for students to join the book club!

The Learnia website has a free online whiteboard tool that is used to create video.  On Text, images, drawings, or  even Power Point slides can be added to the whiteboard.  Once that is done the next step is to the board. The Learnia could be used by students for a digital storytelling project, or by a teacher or the librarian to present a professional development workshop.

Another website that I really liked was ClassHookWhat I like about this site is that it uses media that students may be familiar with, which often leads to situated learning. Children of all ages love, love viewing media.  I often notice my five-year-old daughter watching KidsTube vlog videos (that I find boring but), she loves them.  I’ve found that using popular or familiar media to engage and teach students is an overall fun teaching and learning experience for all involved. ClassHook can be used across the content areas of math, science, social studies, language arts, and also health to create anticipatory sets or attention grabbers to a lesson.

Once I got to the Wizer website, I decided that hands down that it’s my most favorite of all! OMG! I used Google Classroom this past school year and this would have been so amazing for the students! Right away I created an account with my work (school system) email address to begin using Wizer.  Wizer’s platform is all that and a bag of chips because I was able to add tasks that included open questions, multiple choice, matching, sorting, draw, audio,  video, and it also gave me the ability to embed media.  Wizer is indeed very versatile and there are many features yet for me to discover.  AASL suggested that this tool could be used for stations, or flipped learning environments.  In the library or classroom Wizer could be used to create a different interactive worksheet or response sheet depending on the station.  Different media could be embedded to support the station’s learning objective.  While navigating through the Wizer platform I was asked to vote for the new feature that will include either ability to annotate, group work, graphic organizers, or auto save.  Hopefully they add auto save, and group work (that’s what I voted for).  If it has to only be one feature I think group work would be great because collaboration is huge in learning.

There are many more websites from the AASL list that I plan to rave about to my educator friends.  Once I have more time using them I may discuss my experiences on my blog.

As I continue to work towards staying current, I also perused through the blogs of several popular school librarians. For inspiration and other reasons, I decided to follow Gwyneth Jones the Daring Librarian and Andy Plemmons at Expect Miraculous . The content of both blogs is awesome and inspirational for me as a student.  While some of the blogs specifically focused on maker spaces, their blogs included much more.  I also liked the Adventures of Library Girl and the Van Meter Library Website for content purposes.  I wasn’t too keen on the font for one because it was quite difficult to read, however once I zoomed my browser view I was able to read everything on my monitor’s screen.  Following their blogs will keep me updated on the experiences of school librarians in the field, as I look forward to having my own library one day.  #



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