I usually just do a year-end list on The Best Ways To Create Online Content Easily & Quickly and many other topics, but it gets a little crazy having to review all of my zillion posts at once. So, to make it easier for me — and perhaps, to make it a little more useful to readers — I’m going to start publishing mid-year lists, too. These won’t be ranked, unlike my year-end “The Best…” lists, and just because a site appears on a mid-year list doesn’t guarantee it will be included in an end-of-the-year one. But, at least, I won’t have to review all my year’s posts in December…
This list brings together what I think are this year’s best ways to create online content easily and quickly. These web tools are excellent ways for English Language Learners, and others who might not be very tech-savvy, to have a good experience working with technology.
In order to make it on this list, web tools must be:
* accessible to English Language Learners.
* available at no-cost.
* able to be used to easily create engaging online content within minutes.
* willing to host user-created work indefinitely on the website itself.
* appropriate for classroom use.
* accessible without requiring registration.
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A very small number of the applications that have made it on this list are viral marketing tools. You can read this article about how I use these in the classroom.
Here are my choices for The Best Ways To Create Online Content Easily & Quickly In 2011 — So Far:
CREATE A MESSAGE WITH BOUNCING LETTERS TO MUSIC: Font de Music lets you type in a message, choose music to go with it, adjust the font and color, and then it turns your letters into a bouncing, live performance. In addition, and most importantly for English Language Learners, it also lets you write a message that goes along with it, in addition to giving you the url address of your creation. It can be posted on a student or teacher blog or website.
RECORD A MAD-LIB TRAVELOGUE: Clay Yourself is a site publicizing a hotel chain. Users get to create a clay-like avatar, choose a name for it, complete a “mad-lib”-like travel script, record themselves speaking the script they’ve helped create, and then place it in a virtual gallery. You can post the link to Facebook or Twitter, or email it to yourself. It hits all four domains — reading, writing, speaking and listening. You can’t beat that!
MAKE YOUR OWN FOOTBALL CARD: You can design your own personalized football card, and use your own image (or not). Write a name, and a name of the team, too.
TAKE A PICTURE OF ANY STREET IN THE WORLD: Show My Street instantly shows you the Google Maps Street View image of any address you type in, and then gives you a unique url to it that you can share. English Language Learners can pick any place, post the link to it on a student/teacher blog or website, and then describe it.
Design An eCard: Cardkarma is a neat eCard site for many occasions. Without registering, you can search Flickr for any photo and turn it into an eCard you can send and post.
MAKE AN ONLINE TUTORIAL: tildee lets you very easily create a simple step-by-step tutorial for just about anything. You can add text, maps, videos and photos (unfortunately, though, you can only upload photos — not grab them from the Web. They say they’re adding that ability soon). And you don’t even have to register for the service.
CREATE A WEBPAGE EASILY: Instablogg is a super-easy, super-fast way for students, teachers or anybody to create a webpage, and it doesn’t require registration.
- chart the career of a historical character
- create a timeline of important events
- outline the main plot of a book, play or film
and so on!
MAKE A VIRTUAL BULLETIN BOARD: I posted about Corkboard Me in January. It’s very similar to Wallwisher, but even simpler to use — and with fewer features (you can’t embed videos, nor password protect your content). You can, however, easily post images by just pasting its url on one of the virtual post-it notes. Recently, Corkboard Me just announced some additional features, including real-time collaboration and a chat room for the people collaborating. I’ve certainly noticed a lot of quirkiness lately with Wallwisher, and I know quite a few others have experienced the same problem. So, I’m going to start having my classes use Corkboard Me.
CREATE A WEB PAGE: Freedom Share is a super, super-easy way to paste and post text, and use it to create a webpage. Making it even better, you can copy and paste images there, too. You can even create a password to make it editable in the future. It makes things very easy for students to create and share online content.
MAKE MUSIC BY BUILDING A CITY: At Isle Of Tune, you create music by creating a city. Yes, that’s right, you “drag-and-drop” different parts of a city — homes, cars, trees, etc. — and each one has a musical tone. Then click “Go” and the car prompts the different elements to do their thing. No registration is required, and you’re given the url address of your creation to share. As a bonus to English Language Learners, the different parts of the city are labeled, so students can pick up vocabulary at the same time. Plus, they can describe their musical creations.
SEND ARTISTIC eCARDS: The Guggenheim Museum has an amazing collection of eCards that can be sent by email and then its url address can be posted on a student/class blog or website.
MAKE A BOOK: Simple Booklet is a great new tool that lets you create online books and reports that can be embedded or linked to by its url address. It’s free, you can grab images and videos off the web, and extremely simple to use. No registration is required. What’s not to like?
SEND AN eCARD: Worldwide Health has a large variety of free eCards to write and send. Students can write to an imaginary friend or family member, or describe the image, send it to themselves or to a teacher, and place the link on a student/teacher blog or website.
Feedback is welcome.