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.
You might also be interested in:
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 2012 — So Far (Not in any order of preference):
CREATE YOUR OWN STAR: At Light Up The Sky, you can create your own virtual star with its own message in the sky, and share the link to your creation.
WRITE A HAIKU: At Haiku For Humbugs, you can write a haiku that gets sent anonymously to someone who needs “cheering-up.” Plus, your haiku can get hung in the “gallery” so anyone can view it.
WRITE A FAKE SIRI CONVERSATION: I Fake Siri lets you create a fake conversation — in text — with the new iPhone voice feature Siri. You can then link to, or embed, your creation. It’s just another fun opportunity for ELL’s to practice writing, reading, and speaking.
DEVELOP A COLLABORATIVE DOCUMENT: QikPad lets you write collaboratively with anyone you want, and you can then link to, or embed, whatever you come up with….
Make Some Music: If you’ve ever tried Incredibox, you know why I call it the easiest and most fun tool to create music on the Web. If you haven’t tried it yet, do it now! They announced major improvements recently, including letting you save your compositions. You can now give them a title and post a link on your blog or website, or share in other ways.
Send A Native-American Audio Postcard: Our Mother Tongues is a very impressive site that’s designed to support and preserve Native American languages. It’s very engaging, and includes a “language map,” videos and more. One of its very neat features is that it allows you choose a virtual audio postcard with a Native American greeting that you can send to someone. You can also write a personalized message on it. You’re given a unique url address, and it can be posted on a student/teacher website or blog.
“Artisify” A Video: Grab the url address of any YouTube video, paste it into the Artistifier, type in your name and title, and the site will “artistify” the video in the manner of the Oscar-winning silent movie “The Artist.” As the video plays — with no sound other than the music provided by The Artistifier — you can type in captions at appropriate times. Once you’re done, click save and the captions will show up during the movie in the manner of an old silent movie. For English language learners, it’s similar to Bombay TV (and its “sister channels”), which lets you choose a scene from a B movie from Bollywood and have fun creating subtitles for the clip. With the Artistifier, though, you can choose any YouTube you want.
Take A Poll: Kwiqpoll lets you easily create a poll — and no registration is required. You’re give the poll’s url address, but it’s not embeddable. It has no frills, but it’s easy as pie.
Create A Musical Playlist: Choruzz lets you — without needing to register — search for music videos and create a playlist of them. You’re then given a unique url address for your list that you can share. It’s very easy to use, and it meets my “Raffi” test — in other words, plenty of songs are accessible that you can use with English Language Learners.
Make Your Own Unique (& Fake) CNN, NY Times, Etc. Website: With News Jack, all you have to do is paste the url address of any website and you’re immediately given the tools to easily transform its homepage into looking however you want it to look. Without having to register, you can make the New York Times highlight photos and articles of your great basketball-playing ability; have CNN focus on covering what was happening in 1776, or The Huffington Post reporting on the first Thanksgiving dinner. You can easily grab images off the web or your computer to insert, as well as text. You can then click “publish” and you’re given the url address to your creation so it can be shared with the world.
Get Your Message Spelled-Out By Galaxies: “My Galaxies” lets you spell out anything you want, using real galaxies that are shaped like characters. You can read more about it at the site and/or at this MSNBC story. The site does what I describe — you write a message and then it uses images of galaxies that look like the alphabet to spell it out. You can then send the link or post it.
Record a Thirty Second Message: Croak.it lets you easily record a thirty second message with a computer microphone. You then get a unique url address that you can share. No registration is necessary.
Make A Face: Fantastic Fun Face lets you search for an image, adds lots of crazy effects to it, and then save and share it. English Language Learners could create a face and then describe it in writing and orally as a language development activity.
Make A Website:Check This is the latest in a long line of tools that let you create webpages quickly, without registering, and that let you also paste images into them.
Collaborate With A Famous Dead Author: Try out Google Docs new demo that lets you write collaboratively with your favorite dead famous writers. Then you get to save and share your creation. As Next Web explains:
A “famous writer” will start typing and then it’s your turn. Once you’ve typed in the next line, the writer takes over
Write A Six Word “Stump Speech”: The National Constitution Center lets you compose your own six word political “stump speech” and post it.
Create A Piece Of Art: 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.
Feedback is welcome.