Check out my New York Times post for English Language Learners on art — students complete an interactive about an artist who uses chewing gum for his creations, and I share teaching ideas using online art apps.
I guess I’m feeling energetic this week because I’ve come up with another list that joins my other Websites Of The Year. I expect to take a break after this one and put time into adapting these “Best of…” lists into a page on my website suitable for student self-access.
This list, The Best Art Websites For Learning English, is probably a little more arbitrary than my others. Here, not only are the rankings of which are best is pretty subjective, but the notion of what qualifies as art is, too.
I’ve also included links to examples of how my students have used a couple of these web applications.
There are a ton of art-related sites on the Web. However, I only think a few are excellent tools for language-development and worthy of being on this list. Four are very, very similar, so I couldn’t really distinguish among them. So, for the first time, there’s a four-way tie for first place.
Here are my choices:
Artpad is number five. It’s sort of like a “revved-up” Imagination Cubed. You can see how my students used it to illustrate some collaborative stories they wrote here. After each sentence you’ll that their name is highlighted as a link. Click on it, and you’ll see their illustration for the sentence they wrote. (Unfortunately, Artpad went off-line for a VERY long time. It’s back working now, though. However, none of their older drawings were saved, including the ones in the story)
The Artist’s Toolkit is number three. It provides image, audio and text support for students to learn basic art concepts and experiment with them online.
Number two is MOMA’s Destination Modern Art. It has a series of activities where students can learn about and experiment with looking at specific pieces of art. There’s audio and image support for the simple text..
Harcourt has an excellent Multimedia Art Glossary that provides audio support for the text in addition to visual images.
It’s an easy way for English Language Learners and anyone else to collaboratively draw a picture. There’s no real registration necessary, either. You just go to the site, are given a private “virtual room” in which to begin drawing, and then you email the link to whoever else you want to participate. While you’re drawing there’s also a text chat feature to communicate. You can then save the image and either link to it or embed it in a student/teacher blog or website. You can also upload a photo for and discussing.
Draw.to looks like a simple online drawing application. It’s easy to draw and then your creation. Press the “c” on your keyboard to gain access to drawing in color.
Slimber is a very simple online drawing tool that requires no registration. Once you go to the website, you click on “painter” at the top, and you can begin creating. Once you’re finished, you can click “play” and it will “rerun” the artistic process you used. After clicking save, you can write a description of your image. Next, click on “gallery” where you can see your creation and get a url address or embed code.
Drips let you paint like Jackson Pollock, and you can save it online. Even cooler, it gives you a choice of painting it with either your mouse or your webcam and computer microphone. With your webcam, you can use your cellphone light or something else as a brush and your voice to change the color. After you save it, you’re given its url address. Students can post it on a student/teacher blog or website and describe it, as well as comment on others made by their classmates.
Little Bird Tales lets you easily make slideshows where you can add text and, more importantly for English Language Learners, provide an audio narration. On nice touch is that you can virtually paint/draw artwork in addition to uploading images (unfortunately, the site doesn’t have the ability to grab photos off the web by url addresses). It’s free to use, but I’m unclear on if there will be an eventual cost to use the site. It appears to have an upper limit on the number of shows you can produce.
Draw It Live lets you create virtual “rooms” where you can collaborate with people of your choices to draw. It also includes a chat window. You can save the image to your desktop, but it doesn’t appear to let you save it on the web. Thanks to The Center For Applied Second Language Studies for the tip.
FlockDraw, with no registration required, lets you create a virtual room where up to ten people can draw in addition to being able to “chat.” You can save your drawing on the Web. It can’t get much easier than what they’ve set-up.
Though I’m not convinced the world needs another online drawing tool, doSketch is an easy one where you can draw and save your creation with no registration needed.
Sketchlot lets students…sketch and draw online. Teachers sign-up and can create a class roster letting students log-in, and drawings are embeddable. You can read more about it at Richard Byrne’s blog.
PixiClip is a neat drawing tool I learned about at Richard Byrne’s blog. I’d strongly encourage you to go there and read more details about the site and see his example but, basically, it lets you make a drawing and record either audio-only or a video to go along with it. It also lets you upload an image from the web and “mark it up,” but I think there are plenty of other web tools that let you do that easily enough — and let you grab images off the web with photo url addresses (PixiClip just lets you upload one from your computer) — so I don’t think that feature particularly stands out (you can see those other tools at The Best Online Tools For Using Photos In Lessons).
But the audio-plus-drawing capability could really come in handy for English Language Learners.
For example, my Beginners are studying the theme of “Home” right now. After doing some pre-planning for a rough “script,” I could see them doing something like the recording I’ve embedded below as a novel summative assessment and may try that out next week. If we do, I’ll post examples on this blog.
Here’s my model:
Sketchlot lets teachers create virtual classrooms for their students, who can then create drawings or other products on an online whiteboard that can be monitored by their teachers.
Muro is a simple online drawing tool.
Queeky is a free online drawing tool. I particularly like their MultiDraw feature, which lets you create private virtual rooms where users can collaborate in drawing.
As always, I’m open to suggestions and critique.
These sites, and others, can also be found among the 8,000 categorized links on my website.
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