Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

The Best Sites For Creating Personalized “Newspapers” Online

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'Newspapers B&W (5)' photo (c) 2011, Jon S - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

I’ve spent years trying to find a good application that would let students create their own individual online “newspapers” with personalized content.

Finally, over the past two months, four excellent ones have opened for business.

I found another excellent one today, which is why I’m writing this post.

In order to make it on this list, the application must be free; make the content available in an attractive and accessible way for English Language Learners; and make it very easy to sign-up and add new preferences.

Obviously, a fair amount of the information that shows-up in these feeds is going to be quite challenging for English Language Learners to understand. However, since it’s on the topics they choose, and shown in an attractive form, it will certainly provide high-interest reading material that one can hope they’d want to ‘fight-through” a bit to comprehend.

Here are my choices for The Best Sites For Creating Personalized “Newspapers” Online:

iCurrent is the site I just discovered today, and it looks great. It’s super simple to add personalized news “channels” and the content is very accessible. It has one problem, though — you can’t make your “newspapers” public. So, even though you can share individual channels (it uses thousands of sources) and individual articles, you can’t post the url of your newspaper so others can read it, too. If and when they add this ability, iCurrent will become a favorite of teachers like me (and students like mine).

Guzzle is a new web application that lets you create your own personalized online newspaper. It looks good, but be sure to click on the “extended mode” to display it — the other ways are not particularly visually attractive. The only negative is at this point it does not appear you can make your “newspapers” public.

ADDENDUM:

Scoop.it lets you first identify a topic. Then, it continually finds items on the web related to that topic in a nice interface. Then, with one click, it lets you “scoop it” into your own personalized newspaper (that’s what I’m calling it, not them) which you can then share. It’s an ongoing process. I really like it. Even though it’s not open to the public yet, I read about it in Mashable (that same post shares a list of other “curation” sites worth exploring — I think Scoop.it is the best on their list) and they have invitations available here.

News 360 lets you easily create a personalized newspaper. It’s been around for a bit, but it appears to only recently begun allowing registration by email — I hadn’t written about it before because Facebook log-in would not have worked with schools. One difference it appears to have from several of the other personalized virtual newspaper sites is that it’s “smart.” In other words, it will analyze your Google Reader or Facebook feeds to determine interesting stories in addition to letting you determine your subjects of interest.

Themeefy lets you grab pretty much anything you want off the Web, and add your own materials, to create a personalized magazine that can be shared/embedded wherever you want. It looks pretty neat and simple. Though it’s different from the other tools on this list (all the other sites there provide automatically updated resources on the topics of your choice, while you have to manually — at least I think you do — create your magazine at Themeefy), for right now I can’t think of any other place to put it, so I’m adding it here.

Pulse is apparently a very popular mobile news reading app, and it just became available on the Web. Like most of these kinds of tools, you can identify your interests and it will show related stories in an engaging interface.

Feedstripes lets you easily create online “magazines” composed of articles on your favorite topics, and you can easily save them for future reading, too. It has a nice interface.

Trove has just been launched by the previous owners of The Washington Post. I’m not sure that it’s radically different from the other sites on this list, but it seems like it’s worth trying out — especially since my previous favorite tool (Trap.it) discontinued their service last week.

My primary concern about it is that — for now, at least — even though you can read Trove on the web, you can only create your own “troves” (updated news articles on the topic of your choice) using it as an iPhone or iPad app. I assume they’ll add that feature to its web version relatively soon.

You can read more about Trove at The New York Times and at TechCrunch.

Feedback and suggestions are welcome!

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You might also want to explore the 400 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

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

13 Comments

  1. Pingback: Daily Diigo Bookmarks from Steve Yuen 04/13/2010 « Learning Technologies

  2. Finishing my teaching degree, I plan to teach Language Arts in a local, rural school district. I know that the town’s newspaper would like the school to continue publishing a paper version of the school paper through them. These links will provide a modern, student-friendly venue for accomplishing the school newspaper. Thanks for the post.

  3. Thanks for the info on the sites. On checking the sites, one of them took notice of your blog and created channels based on some of the things mentioned in the article. You can check out the post on their blog here: http://www.icurrent.com/blog/2010/05/education-icurrent

    Good job, and keep up the good work.

  4. Pingback: Creating Newspapers Online… « Exploring C21 Literacy

  5. I was actually looking for a kiddie version – something which will allow children (age 5-8) to fill up a paper with their own personal news and articles and what not; to let them write, paste, insert, format, choose fonts, edit and then print or publish online. I do of course want the option to add local/national/global news but preferably in their own words, and not as a news feed. Back to google I go!

  6. I’d like your opinion on paper.li http://paper.li/introduction.html A few people on Twitter are using it.

  7. Tho I am getting to this article late, it has been useful. I notice that Lazyfeed is not in service at this time (since 2010), but I am going thru the list to check out the other sites. Thank you for compiling!

  8. Pingback: Creating online personalised newspapers

  9. Hi, I am an ESL teacher and I was looking for a place where I could start an online newspaper for my students. The huge downside is that I want my students to provide the writing :( I think with these sites they feed news from the web onto the page…… are there any sites that let YOU add and edit the content? THANKS

  10. looking for designed newspaper template in A3 size for our rugby club

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