Top Ten Digital Tools for Classrooms (2018)



Learn More: Mr. Barltrop’s Tutorial

Pixton is a graphic novel creation tool that allows students to choose from a library of characters, backgrounds, props, expressions, and poses.

Students can create endless permutations on the characters, allowing them to express themselves as they see fit.

Uses: By exploring the wide variety of lesson plans in the program’s database, teachers can sort by subject area to find an assignment that’s right for them.  Teachers also have the ability to create unique lessons tailored to the needs of their students.



Lingro is a website that converts a website’s text.  The converted text can be clicked on.  This will open a pop up that defines the clicked word.  Students can open up as many pop ups as they need, or close them when no longer required.

Uses: Using the lingro link to assign a short story can allow students to double check the meaning of unfamiliar words.  This gives them ownership over their learning.  It is also useful for historical, geographical, and technical texts where some language may be unfamiliar.



Vibby allows you to import video clips from major online sites such as YouTube.  Using this tool you can extract specific clips from the video to highlight for your students.  Not only that, but you can also add annotations, similar to how you would with Thinglink.  The main difference being, this allows you to add annotations to specific timestamps in the video, rather than positions on the image.

Uses: This is great for selecting relevant information, as well as annotating inferences, and connections, while creating questions that link to specific – relevant – sections of the media text.



Thinglink does require creating an account – although free accounts can be created with your, and students, e-mail accounts by selecting “Sign in with Google.”

This website allows you to upload images, or import them from a weblink.  Students can then click on parts of the image and add annotations.

Their final piece can be used as an interactive part of a presentation, or shared and submitted to the teacher as a weblink that can be assessed.

Uses: Students can annotate advertisements, or other visual texts.  History and geography students can use this site to annotate maps.  Various annotation icons can be used to specify a variety of different annotation types.



Similar to Wordle, WordSift will create a word bubble based on word use.  Students will have to paste the text in themselves, however.  Unlike Wordle, Wordsift creates an interactive bubble allowing students to hover over words and see how many times they are used.  They can also view what sentences the words are used in.  There is also an integrated word web thesaurus.

Uses: This website is incredibly useful, especially when searching for specific information.  However, it can be overwhelming, offering too many tools, rather than one useful one.



Newsela is a news aggregator that hosts a number of modern news articles.  While they often have an American focus, many are still applicable for our classrooms.  By clicking on the various numbers (1140L600L) you can change the Lexile score (the reading level) of the text.

Uses: When looking to address a text, students can choose a version that is appropriate for them.  While the reading level changes, most of the content remains the same.  By selecting from various categories, such as Geography, Science & Math, and World History you can quickly access relevant texts for your lessons.

Tween Tribune


Similar to Newsela TweenTribune offers a variety of high interest texts, which are presented in a variety of Lexile scores.  These texts are sorted by grade level, and subject area.  In only a few minutes teachers and students can find high interest, on topic texts in a reading level that suits their needs.

Uses: Aside from the uses listed above, TweenTribune is run by the Smithsonian.  They have provided a number of lesson plans that can be used to target a variety of grade levels using the presented resources.



Piktochart is an online resource for creating infographics, similar to those students would find on the OSSLT in the Graphic Text section.

There are a number of templates that allow students to jump right in and create their own resources.  However, should students be dealing with statistics, this site becomes even more useful through its integrated graphing.

Uses: Students can create visual “about me” infographics, or use the powerful embedded spreadsheet option to create beautiful representations of their collected data.

Adobe Spark


Spark is an interactive presentation tool.  Students can create simple graphical and text presentations that take advantage of the online infinite canvas.  Rather than being limited to one slide at a time, this program allows students to create a never-ending downward scrolling presentation.

Uses: Replacing Prezi and Power Point, this is a unique way to create engaging texts that interact with web browsers in a way students are accustomed to.  They can integrate images, text, video, and weblinks into their piece.

Today’s Meet


Today’s Meet is a back channel chat program.  You can create “rooms” that will be open for a set amount of time, from one hour to one month.  Students can join the room through the code you give them, and then participate in the discussion.

Uses: Using their personal devices students can ask a number of questions about the lesson you are teaching.  If you have a projector set to display the “chat messages” only, an ongoing dialogue can be observed.

This is useful as students can ask questions, which you can answer at an appropriate time.  The flow of the class will not be disrupted.

You can also “export” the chat log at the end of the class.

Part 1: Digital Literacy Tools – Introduction

Part 2: Top Ten Digital Tools for Classrooms

Part 3: More Digitial Tools for Classrooms

Part 4: Digital Tools – Further Reading