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Big NoodleTools news

One of our favorite productivity and teaching tools gets even better at the end of the month.

This week I got a sneak peek at the newly evolved NoodleTools.  The update represents a significant redesign of the citation interface. I’ve relied on NoodleTools for years.  I’ve appreciated all the previous updates that helped students take notes, organize their work, and collaborate on projects, but this one is kinda special.  You can preview these changes in the video from the NoodleTools’ blog.

The official release date is Monday, June 25, after some brief downtime on the evening of the 24th.  If you or you students have existing projects, those projects will remain in the old interface.  All new projects will begin in the new interface.

In addition to offering the most comprehensive coverage of sources across styles, here are some of the highlights of the preview.  (Note: Some options may be configured at the local level.)

  • NoodleTools now offers access to the tool at three levels—starter (elementary), junior (middle school), advanced (high school and beyond).
  • These levels are now separate from style–so even younger students may choose from MLA, APA, or Chicago.  Younger students’ supports in the system are appropriate for their grade levels and needs, using simpler language, larger fonts, simplified forms, simpler interface elements.
  • I love that NoodleTools recognizes that we, and our students and teachers, often need to make changes on the fly. Yeah!
  • Users may now switch easily among levels.  If they mistakenly begin in Starter, they can now easily switch to Advanced.
  • Users may now easily convert from one citation style to another.  Start a project in MLA?  If you need to, you’ll be able to move all your entries to APA or Chicago.  Tips make students aware of differences in style when they are converting.
  • Users may seamlessly change source type, content type or publication medium.  How many times have you help a student through redoing a wrong initial choice? No need to start over anymore if you mistakenly cited a journal article as a magazine, or cited a document as a website that was really came from database?  Handy pull-downs on the top of the screen now make shifts easy, eliminating the frustration of starting from scratch.
  • My kiddos will love that they may now copy and paste existing pre-formatted document citations into their bibliographies by using a Quick cite link. (It’s always best to check the formatting of those citations, even those citations you get from databases.)  Yeah!
  • Citations may now be imported from WorldCat.  Locate a book with  author, title, or ISBN, identify the edition (usually by seeing the cover), and the metadata automatically fills the citation form.  The next form displays what data is being imported from WorldCat. Though it does some auto-correcting, it encourages the user to make further tweaks.  The team shares that this start lays the groundwork for importing metadata from databases. Yeah!
  • You can keep your documents handy within your account–making the NoodleTools account a collaborative one-stop research platform. The product allows learners to keep everything in one place–citations, notes, outlines, resources, etc.–and to share it with teachers, librarians, and peers. A new partnership with iCyte allows users to annotate and archive web and PDF sources, and easily view them again by clicking on View archived page under Media Type in the citation entry.  A browser bookmarklet facilitates archiving.
  • Focused help appears at point of need.  Pop-ups intuitively ask the questions and offer tips users should consider.  Links in the help bubbles lead to more advanced help
  • A dynamic formatting guide, in the form of a floating window, demonstrates what a model citation should look like, and moves with you as you click on fields, highlighting correlated elements.  The goal is to help learners verify their work and learn formats more efficiently.
  • If you are in APA, for instance, click on Footnote format and see both full and shortened footnote forms, and be prompted to add page numbers.
  • NoodleTools incorporates the newly released APA 6, with guidance relating to new types of sources, including Wikipedia
  • If you no longer need interim support screens, you may now hide them.
  • A new side-by-side note card feature facilitates paraphrasing from direct quotations.
  • A check box at bottom allows users to decide to include or not include an entry in the final works cited
  • Intelligent forms prompt users as they make choices with appropriate elements in pull-downs.
  • In-context Show me teaching tools help users determine what it is they are citing. It used to be a lot easier to know what type of source you were holding, but magazines, for instance, don’t necessarily look like magazines anymore.
  • NoodleTools is iPad compatible. A native iPad tool is in the works.
  • Okay, this one is not going to really impress my high school students, but the update offers expanded legal citation capability with loads of legal document choices, for instance, state statutes.

Debbie Abilock shares that the goal is to offer learners the kinds of choices they need to make intelligent decisions. We want to be your instructional partner, providing useful frameworks for the research process.

Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza


  1. Hi! I am co-presenting at ISTE12 and would love to link your summary of the new NoodleTools changes to our site. Please email me directly if you would NOT like us to link.

    Jayme Johnson

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