Educational technology tips for teachers, librarians and schools.

7 Necessary EdTech Tools for the Modern Library

7 Necessary EdTech Tools for the Modern Library

By Jessica Sanders

The school library is changing shape as digital tools come into the picture. “The libraries of the 21st century provide a welcoming common space that encourages exploration, creation, and collaboration between students, teachers, and a broader community. They bring together the best of the physical and digital to create learning hubs,” says Beth Holland of

Your modern library needs to do just that, providing students with an organized space to learn with both traditional and digital materials. Luckily, it’s easier than you might think to make this “new” space cohesive and effective with these seven tools.

1. Learn Out Loud

This amazing website serves as a massive content resource for your students to access—for free. Students can choose from more than 3,000 audio books that range in subject and reading level. They’ll also find more than 2,000 documentaries and 1,200 courses.

The courses are what really set this website apart. Students can take traditional courses, such as “The Structure of English Words” or unique offerings such as “Fundamentals of Public Speaking.” Use these courses to reinforce lessons learned in the classroom or via print text while empowering students to have the confidence to seek out the topics that interest them the most. When this happens, they play a critical role in defining their education.

You can also allow each student to choose one course to complete every month; taking time in the library to explore passions they don’t even know they have yet!


This website is an invaluable bookmark to have on your library devices. Young students may not know what books they want to read, however, 91 percent agree that “my favorite books are the ones I have picked out myself,” according to the Scholastic Kids and Family Reading Report, 5th Edition.

This website empowers students to do just that. Students simply type the author or title of a book they know they like, and the website generates a list of similar texts. After discovering a few new books, they can head to the bookshelves of your library to find the ones that are available. Encourage students to create their own accounts, allows them to save the books they find and read.  

3. Whooo’s Reading for Schools

Motivate your students to read more every day with Whooo’s Reading for Schools. Every teacher and student can be involved, while giving you instant access to student reading progress. After logging their reading, students answer a CCSS-aligned comprehension question or write a private blog post. These responses are scored and can be sent back to the student with public or private comments and feedback. The best part: Students love using Whooo’s Reading!

As a librarian or reading/media specialist, this tool also gives you an opportunity to connect with your students in a number of ways:

  • Comment on student reading logs, giving praise for their hard work.
  • Recommend books to students based on reading level and area of interest, both of which are indicated by books they’ve already logged in the program.
  • Track reading progress via Lexile Score, Reading Recovery, DRA and more.
  • Print data reports for teacher and parent conferences and in-school interventions.

More: 11 Ways Whooo’s Reading Makes My Students Want to Read

4. Booktrack

Students remember more when multiple senses are engaged in learning. With Booktrack, students are not only reading, but also listening to a soundtrack that they choose or create, increasing the chances they’ll retain the information.

In fact, according to Booktrack, this style of reading increased reading comprehension by 17 percent and engagement by 30 percent. Encourage students to explore books in a whole new way and they’ll learn to love reading even more.

5. SubjectsPlus

Organize the many resources in your library, print and digital, into online subject guides. A drag and drop interface makes it easy to put everything in their own categories and responsive design ensures that it looks great, no matter what device your students are browsing on. With all your resources in one, easy to find place, you can quickly and easily create research guides for students.

You can also add staff members, or guide managers, encourage suggestions from your students within the platform, and imbed video resources. Note that installation on your webserver may require the help of an IT professional.

6. Beenpod

Part of being a 21st century librarian, in a modern library, is teaching your students about the difference between good and bad online sources of information. One way to teach them this is to share good resources when you come across them online and Beenpod is a great tool for doing that. Create a “been” for every class you spend time with, and send it to students on a weekly or monthly basis, focusing on a specific project or topic such as digital citizenship or blogging.

Better yet, invite students to contribute to the been, collaborating and viewing the various resources you and their peers have gathered.

More: 10 Math Apps to Learn Number Concepts

7. Knowmia

Create interactive mini-courses and video lessons using this tool, available on the web and their iPad app. For video lessons, simply import your own visuals, organize them into the correct format for your lesson, and record yourself. Students use interactive elements such as drag and drop to learn actively.

Both the mini-courses and video lessons are perfect for independent student learning time, allowing students to move through a lesson at their own pace.

All of these tools provide a specific and important value to you and your students. Use them to create a space where you can organize resources, connect students, and enhance learning—this was the role of the traditional library and will continue to be the role of the modern library.

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