Top Pick

Essential Back-to-School Tools for Teachers

If you're looking for ways tech can boost your teaching, 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 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. 

Once you've found a few great tools for back to school, head over to our Teaching Strategies page dedicated to helping you Set Up Your Digital Classroom for Success.

Curriculum and Lesson Planning

BetterLesson Visit Website: http://betterlesson.com/
Exemplary Common Core-aligned lessons from rock star peers at large
Grades Pre-K-12
Type Website
Price Free, Paid
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Common Curriculum Visit Website: http://www.commoncurriculum.com/
Sleek lesson planner replaces bulky binders, promotes collaboration
Grades Pre-K-12
Type Website
Price Free, Free to Try, Paid
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Goalbook Toolkit Visit Website: https://goalbookapp.com/toolkit-info/
Set tailored targets with pricey but worth-it kit of tools, strategies
Grades Pre-K-12
Type Website
Price Free to Try, Paid
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Metria Master Teacher Edition Visit Website: http://www.metrialearning.org/masterteacheredition/
All-in-one standards planning, assessment tool supports quality instruction
Grades K-12
Type Website
Price Free, Paid
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
Versal Visit Website: https://versal.com
Slick course creator is full-featured, but lessons remain traditional
Grades K-12
Type Website
Price Free, Paid
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated

Feedback, Assessment, and Portfolios

Seesaw: The Learning Journal Publisher: Seesaw, Inc.
Versatile digital portfolio appeals to teachers, students, and parents
Grades K-12
Type App
Price Free, Paid
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Kindle Fire, Chrome
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Recap: Video Response and Reflection for Education Publisher: Satarii Inc.
Video-reflection app puts new spin on formative assessment
Grades 2-12
Type App
Price Free
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 5
FreshGrade Visit Website: http://freshgrade.com
A fresh way to capture, document, and share student learning
Grades 3-9
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating 5
Kahoot! Visit Website: https://getkahoot.com/
Game-like student-response tool can spark competitive fun
Grades 4-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating 3
Kaizena Visit Website: https://kaizena.com/
Make feedback count, save time assessing digital work on Google Drive
Grades 7-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 5

Organization and Productivity

Class Charts Visit Website: http://classcharts.com
Seating chart system makes managing classroom behavior simple
Grades K-6
Type Website
Price Free to Try, Paid
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 3
Turnitin Visit Website: http://turnitin.com/
Encourage original work and give feedback with this valuable tool
Grades 3-12
Type Website
Price Paid
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Evernote Publisher: Evernote
Impressive organizational tool has limitless uses
Grades 6-12
Type App
Price Free
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Kindle Fire, Nook HD, Chrome, Windows Phone, Apps for Windows
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Notability Publisher: Ginger Labs
Flexible note-taking tool empowers learners of all abilities
Grades 6-12
Type App
Price $2.99
Platforms iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating 4
Diigo Visit Website: https://www.diigo.com
Social bookmarking encourages discovery, collaboration, and sharing
Grades 7-12
Type Website
Price Free, Paid
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating 4
Google Drive Visit Website: https://drive.google.com/
Nifty tool for collaboratively editing docs and syncing files across devices or online
Grades 9-12
Type Website
Price Free, Paid
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating 4

Parent and Student Communication

ClassDojo Visit Website: http://www.classdojo.com/
Handy management and messaging tool helps recognize, reward students
Grades K-6
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Remind Visit Website: https://www.remind.com/
Teachers' text reminders give students -- and parents -- a reason to check their phones
Grades 1-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Skype Visit Website: http://www.skype.com
Live video communication has potential to open lots of doors
Grades 1-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating 4
Google Hangouts Visit Website: http://www.google.com/+/learnmore/hangouts/
Communication, learning, and fun converge nicely in Google's slick platform
Grades 6-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Backchannel Chat Visit Website: https://backchannelchat.com
Real-time, moderated online discussions can engage and encourage
Grades 7-12
Type Website
Price Free to Try, Paid
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating 4
TodaysMeet Visit Website: https://todaysmeet.com/
Easy online conversations supplement and extend the classroom
Grades 8-12
Type Website
Price Free, Paid
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating 4

Presentation and Video

Nearpod Publisher: Panarea
Interactive, multimedia slide shows engage students and provide feedback
Grades K-12
Type App
Price Free, Paid
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Chrome, Apps for Windows, Mac Apps
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
EdPuzzle Visit Website: https://edpuzzle.com/
Crop, customize, and remix online videos for your classroom
Grades 3-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Screencastify Visit Website: https://www.screencastify.com/
Easy screen-recording tool facilitates outside-the-box teaching
Grades 3-12
Type Website
Price Free, Paid
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating 4
ClassFlow Visit Website: https://classflow.com/
Robust lesson-creation, presentation tool offers built-in assessment
Grades 4-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Office Mix Visit Website: https://mix.office.com/
Transformative PPT add-on gives a personal touch to flipped lessons
Grades 5-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Explain Everything Classic
Powerhouse tool for creating stellar multimedia presentations
Grades 7-12
Type App
Price $7.99
Platforms Android, iPad
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4

Professional Growth

Teaching Channel Visit Website: https://www.teachingchannel.org
See colleagues in action with digital PD for discussion and reflection
Grades K-12
Type Website
Price Free, Free to Try, Paid
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 3
Voxer Walkie Talkie Messenger Publisher: Voxer IP, LLC
Voice- and text-messaging app is a teacher PD standout
Grades 7-12
Type App
Price Free, Paid
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating 5
Twitter Visit Website: http://www.twitter.com
Smart classroom tool if used with care; priceless for PD
Grades 9-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating 4