I’ve already posted The Best “Fun” Sites You Can Use For Learning, Too — 2009, but I’ve collected enough new sites to warrant posting a Part Two.
These are websites that were not designed with education in mind, but which can easily be used for learning purposes — particularly, though not exclusively, for English language development. I only hope that creators of “educational” content can learn from the qualities that make these sites so engaging.
I’m not listing these sites in any order of preference.
Here are my picks for Part Two Of The Best “Fun” Sites You Can Use For Learning, Too — 2009:
In my classes I help students learn academic vocabulary. One new word has been “interpretation” and its various forms. I usually show students several optical illusions that can be found at various sites. Then, they have short conversations with other students about what they see:
“What is your interpretation of what’s in the picture?”
“It seems to me that there’s a ……”
Here is a new resource for illusions that can be used in this way:
The British newspaper The Telegraph has fifteen video and audio illusions.
Students can pick some of these photos to write about or describe, or they can be used in class as part of the Picture Word Inductive Model teaching strategy:
Fun videos are always useful. If you have a computer projector, students can watch them using the “Back-To-The-Screen” activity (read how to do it at The Best Popular Movies/TV Shows For ESL/EFL). Or, if you don’t have a projector, you can do a similar activity if you’re at a computer lab. Or you can just have everybody watch the same video and write about it as a class.
Most of these videos are from YouTube (which is likely blocked by school content filters), but some of them are worth using a converter to download into your laptop or a service like EdublogsTV or Watch Now to show to students. They’re great for English Language Learners – short, engaging videos that students can then write about and discuss.
Here are my video suggestions:
This chainsaw (it’s not bloody) illusion is the most amazing illusion I’ve ever seen.
This is an amazing video of 3D Projections on buildings.
You probably want to turn-off the music on this video of people using the trampoline. I had never imagined this sort of stuff could be done.
Here are videos of some amazing basketball shots.
Speaking of sports, here are videos of incredible “shots” from ones other than baseketball.
In addition to the ideas I’ve mentioned on how to use videos, I had my Theory of Knowledge students watch the Ted Talk “The Raspyni Brothers juggle and jest” and have them first identify how the jugglers made what they did and the objects they used look “new” to viewers and, secondly, discuss how mathematicians, historians, artists and scientists use those same techniques to study the world. Students shared some brilliant stuff!
I’ve written how I use viral marketing tools with my English Language Learner students. Here are some new ones that students have enjoyed:
With Animal Mix-Up you can create a bizarre creature, email the link and post it. English Language Learners can not only use it as an opportunity to describe their creation, but the design process itself provides an excellent opportunity for vocabulary development. There are a lot of choices for creature modifications, and their accompanied with visual and text descriptions.
You can choreograph a dance for a piece of chocolate, choose the accompanying music, and write a message using this piece of viral marketing. The link can be posted a student/teacher blog or website.
You can send a Critter Carol — dogs singing a Christmas song, with a message you write included. Students can create on, and then post the url of their card on a website or blog.
ONLINE VIDEO GAMES:
I’ve written about how I use online video games as language-development activities with my students.
Here are some of particularly good ones that came out recently:
The Ballad of Ketinetto is an online video game series excellent for English Language development. Here are the most recent games in the series, along with links to their “walkthroughs” (instructions on how students can win — see my article for how to use them):
Finwick is another useful game, even without a Walkthrough.
Feedback is always welcome.
If you found this post useful, you might want to consider subscribing to this blog for free.
You might also want to explore the 400 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.