TOP PICKS | 45 TOOLS

Best Tools for Back-to-School 2022

If you're looking for ways tech can support your teaching in the 2022–2023 school year, this list is here to help. These top-rated apps and sites -- ranging from instructional supports to organizational tools to social networks and beyond -- help make one of the world's toughest jobs a bit easier. Whether you need to set up weekly or daily SEL check-ins with your students, streamline parent communication, or improve classroom management, you're sure to find a tool or two here to get your year off to the right start. 

Social and Emotional Wellbeing

AIM Buddy Project

Well-organized SEL program pairs older and younger students for discussion

Bottom Line: The AIM Buddy Project is an enjoyable, effective program for teaching SEL concepts and making elementary students feel more connected with each other.

Grades: K–5
Price:
Free

Sanford Harmony Game Room

Low- to no-prep activities for community-building SEL

Bottom Line: Simple SEL integration with conversation starters and team building.

Grades: K–8
Price:
Free

Empatico

Connect with classrooms around the world using built-in activities

Bottom Line: Teachers will find almost everything they need to create the opportunity for meaningful exchanges with students from faraway places.

Grades: 1–8
Price:
Free

Along

Messaging tool helps classrooms forge and foster meaningful dialogue

Bottom Line: This tool opens up avenues for conversation and relationship building between teachers and students.

Grades: 4–12
Price:
Free

inspirED

Uplifting one-stop shop for social and emotional learning resources

Bottom Line: inspirED delivers exactly what it claims: empowering, easy-to-search content for social and emotional learning.

Grades: 8–12
Price:
Free

Curriculum and Lesson Planning

Common Curriculum

Sleek lesson planner replaces bulky binders, promotes collaboration

Bottom Line: Flexible and collaborative lesson planning, calendar design, and classroom site creator save teachers precious time.

Grades: Pre-K–12
Price:
Free

Goalbook Toolkit

Set tailored targets with pricey but worth-it kit of tools, strategies

Bottom Line: You pay for quality with Goalbook Toolkit, including access to clear, well-crafted learning goals and strategies that allow for far easier differentiation.

Grades: Pre-K–12
Price:
Free to try, Paid

TeachingBooks.net

Comprehensive site collects resources on authors and books in one place

Bottom Line: This rich database of literary resources is a must-bookmark for teachers looking to extend learning experiences with books and their authors.

Grades: Pre-K–12
Price:
Free, Paid

OER Commons

Free, easy access to a wealth of resources

Bottom Line: Impressive resource opens access to quality materials for all educators.

Grades: K–12
Price:
Free

Planboard

Handy -- and free -- one-stop digital lesson planner saves time

Bottom Line: This platform simplifies lesson planning with an intuitive, easy-to-use interface.

Grades: K–12
Price:
Free

Wizer

Digital worksheet builder lets students show learning in multiple ways

Bottom Line: Students will appreciate this 21st-century take on worksheets, and teachers will love all the different options for creation and assessment.

Grades: K–12
Price:
Free, Paid

Feedback, Assessment, and Portfolios

Book Creator

Magically easy way to create and publish digital books and multimedia

Bottom Line: This is a top-quality creation tool that lets students of many ages and abilities publish their own digital books.

Grades: K–12
Price:
Free to try

Classkick

Assign, assist, and assess with real-time, interactive classroom

Bottom Line: It's a great option for teachers who want to go paperless, provide specific feedback, and encourage collaboration among students in virtual or 1-to-1 classrooms.

Grades: K–12
Price:
Free to try

Mentimeter

Call on everybody at once with flexible, interactive presentation tool

Bottom Line: You can use this tool to create dynamic presentations that strike a balance between information and interaction.

Grades: K–12
Price:
Free, Paid

Seesaw

Versatile digital portfolio appeals to teachers, students, and parents

Bottom Line: A powerful multimedia learning and communication tool that demonstrates student progress over time.

Grades: K–12
Price:
Free

FreshGrade Connect

Multimedia digital portfolios connect students, teachers, and parents

Bottom Line: It's designed with student learning in mind, and teachers can encourage students to submit quality content and engage in reflective feedback.

Grades: K–12
Price:
Free

Flip

Pose questions, spark thoughtful video responses with stellar tool

Bottom Line: This accessible, approachable tool offers connection, multiple means of expression, and creativity to apply to almost any topic.

Grades: K–12
Price:
Free

Formative

Superb real-time assessment tool a fit for 1-to-1, BYOD classrooms

Bottom Line: This cleverly designed tool enables teachers to gather a variety of student response types and offer individualized feedback.

Grades: 3–12
Price:
Free, Paid

Quizizz

Quiz tool has evolved to become interactive lesson platform

Bottom Line: This tool has come a long way, adding handy customization options that allow teachers to create learning experiences that exceed other quiz platforms.

Grades: 3–12
Price:
Free, Paid

Kaizena

Nifty add-on enables audio and text feedback in Google Docs

Bottom Line: If your classroom relies a lot on Google Docs, this might just be the feedback tool you're looking for.

Grades: 6–12
Price:
Free

Bulb

Slick portfolio tool has cool features, limited feedback options

Bottom Line: A neat tool for publishing online, possibly better suited to teacher content creation than student publishing.

Grades: 7–12
Price:
Free, Paid

Organization and Productivity

Google Classroom

Exceptional, simple communication, collaboration, and document sharing

Bottom Line: Though it doesn't have it all, it's an incredible tool for managing and organizing learning.

Grades: 3–12
Price:
Free

Turnitin

Encourage original work and give feedback with this valuable tool

Bottom Line: Beyond the convenience factor, it's almost a necessity for the teaching of writing in today's digital world.

Grades: 3–12
Price:
Paid

Kami

Versatile annotation tool helps users critically connect with content

Bottom Line: Kami is an effective way to promote student interaction with texts, authentic documents, and pictures.

Grades: 4–12
Price:
Free, Paid

Microsoft Teams

Collaborative LMS platform helps manage classes, groups, and projects

Bottom Line: Educators will likely find that the wide variety of features Teams offers is worth the time it takes to learn how to use it.

Grades: 5–12
Price:
Free, Paid

Notability

Flexible note-taking tool empowers learners of all abilities

Bottom Line: An excellent tool that lets students make their notes thorough and useful in the way that best suits their learning styles and abilities.

Grades: 6–12
Price:
Paid

Diigo

Social bookmarking encourages discovery, collaboration, and sharing

Bottom Line: With a Diigo educator account, teachers and students have a safe space to organize, customize, and share Web content while learning about a variety of subjects.

Grades: 7–12
Price:
Free, Paid

Parent and Student Communication

TalkingPoints

Multilingual texting tool enhances school-to-home communication

Bottom Line: Easy-to-use tool for supporting communication and engagement with families in 100+ languages.

Grades: Pre-K–12
Price:
Free

ClassDojo

Exemplar bridge between home and school also aids learning

Bottom Line: When used thoughtfully, ClassDojo can help teachers and families support students' growth through goal-setting, reflection, and celebration.

Grades: K–6
Price:
Free

Bloomz

Full-featured school-to-home communication platform delivers with style

Bottom Line: This multifunctional platform connects families, teachers, and students with a ton of features.

Grades: K–12
Price:
Free

Remind

Messaging platform offers tight focus on school-to-home connection

Bottom Line: Well-designed, highly effective messaging tool delivers on its promise to connect home and school.

Grades: Pre-K–12
Price:
Free

Skype

Live video communication has potential to open lots of doors

Bottom Line: With a bit of work and a measure of patience, Skype can be an excellent classroom tool to expand students' horizons.

Grades: 1–12
Price:
Free, Paid

Google Hangouts

Communication, learning, and fun converge nicely in Google's slick platform

Bottom Line: It runs like a dream, works on all devices, and can be used in so many ways to enhance interactive learning.

Grades: 6–12
Price:
Free

Backchannel Chat

Real-time, moderated online discussions can engage and encourage

Bottom Line: This tools offers a fun, simple, and safe way to hold real-time online discussions that might just increase engagement, interest, and even learning.

Grades: 6–12
Price:
Free, Paid

Presentation and Video

Boclips

Safe-for-classroom videos curated by teachers for teachers

Bottom Line: It's a pressure-free place to start looking for high-quality videos to supplement existing lessons in traditional, one-to-one, or flipped classroom models.

Grades: K–12
Price:
Free to try, Paid

Nearpod

Engage and assess students with media, videos, and interactive slides

Bottom Line: This is a great tool with a vast content library, and the teacher- or student-paced learning can unlock the potential of 1-to-1 environments.

Grades: K–12
Price:
Free, Paid

Screencast-O-Matic

Create and edit sophisticated screencasts without breaking the bank

Bottom Line: This is the most flexible screencasting tool, but it requires patience -- and perhaps a subscription -- to unlock all of its possibilities.

Grades: 3–12
Price:
Free, Paid

Edpuzzle

Crop, customize, and remix online video content with interactive tool

Bottom Line: This is a valuable tool that teachers can use to flip classrooms or support student-led creation.

Grades: 3–12
Price:
Free, Paid

Pear Deck

Interactive slideshows offer a variety of ways to engage and assess

Bottom Line: This is an appealing platform that can really ramp up engagement around formative assessment.

Grades: 3–12
Price:
Free, Paid

ClassFlow

Robust lesson creation and delivery tool helps with assessment

Bottom Line: In the hands of a determined teacher, this platform's useful suite of tools can support learning experiences that move from instruction to assessment and back.

Grades: 4–12
Price:
Free

Professional Growth

BetterLesson

Exemplary lessons, strategies, and coaching from master teachers

Bottom Line: Take advantage of the offerings of this professional community to improve the quality of your classroom instruction.

Grades: Pre-K–12
Price:
Free, Paid

KQED Teach

Super PD resource for making media in the classroom

Bottom Line: Stay on top of the trends and take the fear out of media-making in the classroom.

Grades: Pre-K–12
Price:
Free

Teaching Channel

Quality videos challenge educators to grow within a PD environment

Bottom Line: Professional educators can watch, share, and learn in a continually updated environment.

Grades: K–12
Price:
Free, Paid

The Current

Engaging space for tech-forward instruction and teacher collaboration

Bottom Line: A great resource to share and gather ideas on teaching with technology and media, but there are some bugs that need fixing.

Grades: 5–12
Price:
Free

Twitter

Smart classroom tool if used with care; priceless for PLNs

Bottom Line: Twitter offers something for everyone: information, resources, and an easy way to connect with just about anyone.

Grades: 9–12
Price:
Free

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