Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education — 2007

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(The 2008 Edition of The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education has also been published)

I decided to start putting together various “Best Of” lists for this year, and am starting out with my picks for the best Web 2.0 applications for education. I’m taking the broader view for this list, so I think these sites are the best ones for students across the board — not just for ESL/EFL students. I hope to create a separate list highlighting the best Web 2.0 sites just for ESL/EFL students, though the sites on that list must be accessible to Beginning English Language Learners. There will probably be some overlap between the two. I also hope to develop a list of the best sites with educational content for this year.

One key criteria I’ve used to compose this list is how easy the application is to use. I basically asked myself if an English Language Learner and/or someone who only knows how to write a web address and to email could use it. If the answer is no, then the application didn’t make this list. In fact, if the answer is no, then I don’t blog about it or post the link on my website.

I should point out that some of these sites may have started prior to 2007, but, since I didn’t start blogging until February of this year, for purposes of this list they all might as well have begun in 2007!

Unlike my Websites of the Month picks, I will be prioritizing this list. I’ll start off with the fourteenth best and end with what I think is the best one. Fourteen might seem like a strange number, but I just couldn’t reduce it any further. Please let me know if you agree, disagree, and/or have other suggestions:

I’ve chosen Vi.sualize.us as my fourteenth pick. It’s a “social bookmarking” site like del.iou.us, but for images. You can save, categorize, and write a description of images on the web. It provides countless lesson opportunities. (Editor’s Note: Since I made this list, Vis.ualize.us has been having problems keeping pornographic images from being posted there. The site’s creator is working on a way to fix the problem. If you go there and find that it still is a problem, I would recommend you go to oSkope instead. It doesn’t have all the same features, but it’s very similar)

My pick for the thirteenth best Web 2.0 application is Sketchcast. You can “draw” on a whiteboard and record an audio explanation at the same time. You’re given a url for your creation and/or you can embed it into a blog. Others can leave comments about your Sketchcast, too. It’s particularly good to demonstrate how to solve math problems.

Number twelve is Footnote. Footnote allows students to access thousands of primary source documents and photos, and easily create online history reports. Their urls can then be posted, and students can also leave comments on their peers’ reports.

My pick for the eleventh best are really two connected sites — SMILE and CLEAR. They’re both from Michigan State University, and allow teachers (and students) to easily create clozes, drag-and-drop exercises, and sequencing activities. They also allow you to use audio and video with the activities, and will host them as well.

The tenth best is CircaVie. I think it’s the easiest online application for creating timelines and incorporating images. It can be used in any number of lessons. (unfortunately, it appears that this web tool is shutting down)

ESL Video is the ninth best. It’s super-easy to take pretty much any video off-the-net and create a quiz to it. It’s designed for ESL/EFL students, but it can also be used by and for mainstream students.

Number eight is Fleck. Fleck let’s you take any webpage and create virtual post-it notes to “paste” on them. They’re great for students to demonstrate their use of reading strategies.

Number seventh is One True Media. It’s a very easy way to create slideshows on the Web, and add text, music and images.

My pick for number six is Community Walk. Students can put many sites on a map with descriptions and images (which can be easily grabbed off the web). Students can use this to describe field trips, report on historical events, and do other mapping applications. There are a lot of these kinds of sites, but I’ve found Community Walk to be the easiest to use.

The fifth site on my list is Daft Doggy. It allows you to create website tours — a series of websites where you also leave your own descriptive text or instructions on each page. You can use it to create Internet scavenger hunts. Visitors can also leave comments. The site’s creator has a different part of his site where you can easily make voice recordings, and plans to connect that ability up to the webtours soon so visitors can leave audio comments. When that happens, Daft Doggy should move even higher on this list.

The fourth-ranked site is called Show Beyond. This is similar to VoiceThread (number three) in allowing audio narration of slideshows, but doesn’t allow audio comments like VoiceThread. You can also add music and text. It’s particularly good in District’s, like ours, that block streaming media (like VoiceThread).

The third-ranked site is VoiceThread. You can upload pictures and create an audio narrative to go along with them. In addition, audio comments can be left by visitors. VoiceThread also provides a great deal to teachers by allowing them to get their premium services for free, including allowing them to create a zillion VoiceThreads for free. Happily, they’ve finally incorporated the feature of allowing you to include images off the web just by inserting its url.

Number two is Bookr. It would be difficult to create an easier application to make slideshows with captions on the web. The only drawback to it is you can only use images off Flickr, and not others on the Web, but that’s a small price to pay for such an accessible application.

And now, my choice as the best Web 2.0 application for Education in 2007 is Tumblr. This “micro-blogging” site upgraded their service this year. It’s a great place for students to easily post a whole lot of their work. Students can have individual or group “Tumblrs.” A student can also share their password with a small number of students who can leave comments.

There’s always plenty of room for agreement and disagreement with these kinds of lists. I’m looking forward to getting feedback on this and other lists I post over the next week.

(Editor’s Note: I have indeed compiled some additional lists you might want to check-out, including The Best Web 2.0 Applications for ESL/EFL Learners; The Best Online Learning Games; Best Internet Sites For English Language Learners, The Best Search Engines For ESL/EFL Learners, The Best Science Websites For Students & Teachers, The Best Math Sites For English Language Learners, The Best Social Studies Websites, The Best News/Current Events Websites For English Language Learners, The “Best” Articles About Education, The Best Reference Websites For English Language Learners, The Best Blogs For Sharing Resources/Links, and a post listing all of the winners called The Best Of The Best — 2007. You’ll also be able to access these, and some additional lists I’m making over the next few days, at Websites of the Year).

All these sites can also be found on my website, along with thousands of other categorized links.

Since this list was posted, I’ve also added The Best Health Sites For English Language Learners, The Best Websites For Learning About Civic Participation & Citizenship, and The Best Websites for K-12 Writing Instruction/Reinforcement.

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

56 Comments

  1. THanks Larry,
    Can’t wait to check them out.
    Bonnie

  2. Thanks for the tips

    I did notice that you can now add photos from other sites (such as Flickr) to Voicethread — I have not yet tried it but the option is there when you go to create a new thread. I just went through the initial process and it hooked right into my Flickr account and went to my “sets” of photos there.

    I guess they have been listening to you, Larry.

    Kevin

  3. Actually
    I just tried it and it worked like a charm.
    I even grabbed a photo via a URL and it loaded up.
    Kevin

  4. This is a great list! As always, your observations and recommendations are helpful.

  5. Larry thanks, great list! Looking forward to trying out some that I haven’t met before! (BTW voicethread also enables video commenting.)
    Have a Great Christmas and a Happy New Year.

  6. This is a great list…found a couple more sites that we can certainly use. Had been playing with trailfire but like Daff Doggy better. I like xtimeline.com better for school than circavie.
    Thanks for the list!

  7. Hi Larry – your list is definitely not what I expected because it is so different from lists that most would have put together. Many of the tools I have not tried so now I will have to go, do a road test and report back. May take a few days because I have a 9 yr old nagging me to use my computer (unbelievable!).

  8. Larry,
    What a wonderful and diverse list! I did know of a few, but as usual you have dug deep to bring up real gems. Only blogging since last February? My gosh, your dedication and enthusiasm for blogging is awe-inspiring!

    Have a great winter break and see you at the CTAP 3 Technology Conference in January!
    -Alix Peshette

  9. Hi Larry,

    thanks for picking fleck, hope you’re going to love the upcoming version

  10. great list… i’d also add http://www.TeachersPayTeachers.com, a cool site that enables teachers to buy/sell original curricula.

  11. Pingback: Top 2007 Education Apps: Learning 2.0

  12. Pingback: Top 2007 Education Apps: Learning 2.0

  13. Larry,

    Great list!

    You should also check out http://www.CollegeWikis.com .

    We’re “Information for students, by students” – a mix between the content-creation abilities of yahoo answers and the relevance of a specific community. We have a presence at >200 schools and growing.

    -Joe
    suggestions [/at/] collegewikis.com

  14. Larry: Great to see your uncoventional recognition of Tumblr as the top web 2.0 app for education. I recently set up my daughter with her tumblelog at http://anshula.com.

    At age 10, she is a digital native. (She knew “google.com” before “multiplication.”) It is surprising to see how natural the medium is to her and, at 3 weeks into it, it is already a part of her education:

    - She posted a collection of Earth Poems that were part of her school assignment on her tumblelog.

    - Now that she is traveling to India, she has extended it beyond class work to a travelog of sorts (“International observations” at http://anshula.com/post/22127286).

    - Anything is game: silly videos (“Good night brother”), her own quotes, her photos, or anything that catches her fancy.

    Can’t wait to see what the digital natives will do with the power available to them…

  15. Larry, great writeup…take a look at socialbib when you get a chance.

    http://www.socialbib.com/

  16. Quintura Kids on http://kids.quintura.com can be included in the list too

  17. Good round-up. You should check out Neulio, an Orlando-based free online course platform, that just launched:
    http://www.somewhatfrank.com/2007/12/neulio-multi-le.html

  18. Thanks for the excellent roundup. Will be very useful.

  19. Hi Larry,

    I see you’ve left out SuTree. http://www.sutree.com
    It’s gotta be there!

  20. Pingback: » Education Tools - 2007 Edition The Village Green

  21. Don’t forget Student Concourse – http://www.studentconcourse.com
    Academic organization and (soon) social network!

  22. I would add Flashcard Friends http://www.flashcardfriends.com it is a social network focused solely on education around the creation, sharing, learning, and testing of online flashcards.

  23. Hi Larry, great list! I thought you might be interested in another useful tool that I helped create: the Study Groups app on Facebook.

    Our users are using it to discuss assignments, schedule group meetings, share and collaborate on class notes, and check out the latest group activity. Hosting the application on Facebook has made it possible for our users to log in and create a study group quickly and easily.

  24. When you have the time, please check out the free site at tutorom.com, and let us know what you think – this is an education creation site, and we have a lot of features up there already…still a few more to add, but so far it allows anyone to add/upload elements, create lessons (from various types), add them to courses and then create and cusomtize websites that feature those courses, allowing for access control and reporting. All free.

    cheers and merry xmas
    mark vernon
    tutorom.com

  25. you missed http://www.engrade.com – free online gradebook and class management

  26. Good lord
    Enough with the free advertising of your products on Larry’s site.
    If it is good, I am sure Larry will discover it and share on his own good time.
    Kevin

  27. I agree, it seems like Larry’s doing a pretty good job of finding stuff on his own! Larry, thanks for the list, I’m a BRAND new blogger (www.mrsolson.edublogs.org) and I’m so grateful that bloggers like you take the time to put together lists like these. I’ll start checking them out now!

    p.s. I teach keyboarding – have you found anything spectacular and free out there for teachers in this area?

  28. I always learn so much from your posts, Larry! Thanks once again, and, also once again, a question:

    I started myTumblr after your post on them last November, and have found their product reliable and really easy to use… I just wish there was a way for visitors to leave comments… My main concern before getting ahead with its integration into my curricula is: I´ve emailed them repeatedly asking them whether they plan to add such a feature, but have been uanble to get a reply. I tend to mistrust products who never reply to customer queries, as I´m afraid of what would happen if I came across a bug (I know it´s freeware, but…). What has your experience been?

    Warmly,
    Gladys

  29. Larry, thanks for including circavie.com in your Best Web 2.0 Sites for Education. We look forward to hosting timelines that students and teachers use to tell stories and document the world’s events.

  30. Thank you for putting up these resources, I’ll need to to set aside some fun/play time to visit them all :)

  31. Great stuff! I can think of some good applications for corporate learning as well.

  32. I highly recommend you check out WiZiQ Virtual Classroom.

    Introduction

    WiZiQ is an online teaching platform, which provides a free virtual classroom environment for teachers to interact online and teach students in real time. Teachers can also build a profile, keep an availability schedule, and maintain a content library, which is associated with their profiles, by uploading PowerPoint presentations and PDF Files.

  33. Um, I went to Vi.sualize.us, and there was pr0n on the front page. ‘Countless lesson opportunities’? I guess you could see it that way. :)

  34. I’ve just been noticing the same thing — just over the past few days, in fact. I’ve written to them asking if they can filter out those kinds of photos and have been waiting for a response. It seems it would be pretty easy to at least filter out the ones that have been tagged with certain words.

    There’s another alternative site that will be even better when they add a few features in the spring:

    http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2008/01/02/oskope-image-search/

    Larry

  35. Hi Larry,

    thanks a lot for getting in contact. I’ve just woke up (it’s 8AM in Spain)
    and see the recent images with all that nasty p__n (Edublogs blocks this word). P__n is not allowed at
    all on vi.sualize.us, and I usually send a warning notification to the
    user posting it and set the images as private. But between people posting
    and I blocking the images could be more time than I’d wish, specially if
    it’s during the night here, like just happened. There’s also a block
    feature for the users, but people doesn’t seem to use it so much.

    It is a tough task to figure out some way to automatically block this kind
    of content. You can think about tags, but not everybody use tags. Also the
    line between erotic and p__n (Editors note: Edublogs blocks this word) sometimes is so thin (not in this case of
    course!), and depends a lot on people. My idea is to implement some “Safe
    mode” in the (hope) near future, to get all the erotic images hidden for
    people who are not interested.

    Last but not least ;) thanks a lot for recommending visualizeus in your
    top webapps. I see your link and I was thinking about sending you an
    email, but seems you take advantage :) As you probably know this is a
    one-person project, developed on my side time, so you can imagine how I
    appreciate things like your post.

    Thanks again, and sorry about the p__n issue (Edublogs blocks this word). I’ll try to keep a fastest
    eye on it ;)

    Cheers,
    Victor

  36. Larry-

    Thorough and well thought out resource list for 2007!

    Do check out http://www.ziizoo.com when you get the chance.

    Think eBay, but for tutoring.

  37. Pingback: links for 2008-01-11 « il piede in due scarpe

  38. Thanks for this great list Larry! I would have to agree with many of your picks! I have enjoyed reading your blog. Keep up the great work!

  39. Very enjoyable read! I’m trying something a bit more local/country specific with http://www.zulunotes.com and it’s getting off the ground slowly but surely. It’s a wiki, but specifically aimed at notes for the Irish end of highschool exams.

  40. Great stuff! I can think of some good applications for corporate learning as well.

  41. Hi Larry,

    Just a short message that number eight in your list; Fleck.com released an all new version. I think you’ll love it as it addresses a lot of problems researchers and teams have while browsing the web and sharing information.

    You can work in teams now to create a collaborative mind. All content can be searched for in different levels of result output. Search in your own bookmarks alone or include your friends or groups.

    Also Fleck keeps track of the URLs you share on Twitter. This way all your interesting websites will be saved for you.

    Would be cool if you try it and if you have any questions, ping me at patrick at fleck dot com .

  42. Pingback: Medianeurone’s » Blog Archive » links for 2008-06-04

  43. So glad to have found this, Larry.
    Thanks!

  44. As part of a recent study project I have produced a directory of web 2 tools which other teachers may find useful. You can have a look at http://web2educationuk.wetpaint.com/

    Thanks

  45. Pingback: 100 Free Library 2.0 Webinars and Tutorials | College@Home

  46. BOOKMEETINGROOM.COM is not an e-learning app, however for scheduling classrooms, conference rooms etc it could be useful.
    Hope this link is of use… http://www.bookmeetingroom.com

  47. Pingback: Adjunct Advice » Blog Archive » Blog of the Week: January 28, 2008

  48. Pingback: Education Policy » Drooling over Web 2.0

  49. Pingback: Best Web 2.0 Applications for Elementary School « G.T.Tech

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