How I Use It
As a librarian, a great deal of the work I do with classes relates to research. One of my favorite tools to use with classes conducting research is Noodle Tools. Noodle Tools offers a simple, free version or a remarkable subscription version that allows students to input information about the sources that they are using in order for the site to generate that information into a proper MLA, APA, or Chicago citation. The site allows users to enter source information through a series of prompts and blanks to fill in. Each question or prompt includes detailed directions for the user based on the reference style that the user chose (e.g. Noodle Tools will prompt you to capitalize certain parts of a title appropriately based on whether you chose MLA or APA format). The free version will accept information for one source at a time, and then spits out the proper citation which can be copied into a document. It performs similarly to other free citation cites, like EasyBib or KnightCite, though I find that it is more accurate than the others. The subscription version (which is moderately priced at about 18 cents per student) is well worth the cost. It allows users to create an account that they can use as long as they are affiliated with the school. My freshman create accounts in 9th grade English and use them through graduation. Each different research assignment can be added to a growing list of bibliographies that students accumulate as they grow. They can choose APA for a biology assignment and then use MLA for their English papers. The subscription also allows for students to curate an entire list of sources in one location, rather than having to copy and paste each one separately. And it will export the entire bibliography to a text file, adding the appropriate title, spacing and automatically alphabetizing the list of sources. In addition to the bibliography function (which is my students' primary use of this tool), the subscription also provides numerous other writing tools to help students stay organized in their research and writing process. Among my favorites are the Note Card function, which lets students create a set of virtual note cards on which to organize their research and quotes, and the Outline function, will gives students the proper formatting of an outline and simply allows them to enter their primary points, supporting evidence and counter points as they write. Noodle Tools is by far one of the most used subscriptions that I offer to my students. The staff at my school use it frequently as well for grad. school assignments and professional presentations.
Noodle Tools in a wonderful teaching tool. It encourages proper citation, but offers modern methods for creating a bibliography and organizing research material. It emphasizes the importance of source information and strong note-taking, but is much less heavy-handed than some of the old-fashioned methods. Today's students would probably find it exasperating to carry around a physical stack of note cards featuring quotes and key points, but they don't hesitate to create virtual notes cards that perform the same function. It is web-based, so it requires the use of a computer, which could be limiting for students who lack access, but they have a companion app for both Apple and Android devices that increase access options. If I have a critique, it is that it is somewhat challenging to retrieve password information if the students forget their login information. My students often simply make a new account in that situation. Overall, the subscription is inexpensive, and the service provided is high. It would be the last subscription I would drop if I had to make cuts to my budget; it's that valuable to the research learning process for us.