Tools to Add to Your Lighthouse

On Monday I shared some tips for ways you can “be the lighthouse” for the teachers – be there at their point of need to guide them to the correct resources. Today I would like to share some of my favorite tools that you might want to have on hand for just the right lightoolbox-mdthouse moment. Some are new, others have been around for a while but might be new to you.
Online Interactive/Collaborative Spaces
These tools would be great to show in a faculty meeting since all can benefit from them. Open your professional development time by having the teachers work together to add to an interactive space. Have them brainstorm right on the space about ways they might use one of these tools: – This features of this tool keep growing. You can create your own board, use a template, import files, web links, videos, images…the list goes on. There is a ton of flexibility with RealTimeBoard. – I love this one, maybe because the name is great! Who doesn’t want to create something called a “Popplet?” This is a great tool for even the youngest students. You can create linked brainstorming maps with Popplet and add images, text, videos, etc. – This is another simple collaboration tool that is used by many teachers. Simply drag and drop files right onto your wall. Or double-click anywhere on the wall to upload images, audio, video, or other types of files. Share your wall to allow others to join in the fun.
State-Sponsored Reference Resources
Databases, etc. – Many states provide online reference sources to school students at no cost to the schools or students. In Virginia, is sponsored by the Library of Virginia and provides access to eBooks and databases that are specific to various grade levels. Check with your state library or Department of Education to find out what might be available in your state.
State Encyclopedias –  Does your state have an online encyclopedia specific to information related to your state? In North Carolina, for example, it is called NCpedia and can be accessed directly from the website or through the State Library of North Carolina
Research Help –  With Diigo, you can organize web links, outline, highlight, and annotate. This site is filled with helpful research tools and also includes a Google Chrome extension to make it easy to use the tools.
Citation creation tools –  There are so many out there now, and all have different features. A few I have used with students include:
With any of these, I always have student double-check the citations once they are created. It is not uncommon to use a citation generator but still need to fix the capitalization, and the generators do not usually fix typos by the student.
For many more great websites and app ideas, check out the annual lists by the American Association of School Librarians: ;
What are your favorite online tools to share with teachers? Add them in the Comments below.

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