This mid-year 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:
The Best Ways To Create Online Content Easily & Quickly In 2012 — Part Two
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 2013 – So Far (Not in any order of preference):
You Made That is a pretty simple New York Times interactive that lets you create an abstract painting and then share the url address of your creation. No registration is required.
ScreenToys lets you combine two famous faces (or other images of your choice) into weird creatures. No registration is required, and you’re given the url address of your creation. English Language Learners can post their link on a class blog and describe it in writing and verbally.
To celebrate Arbor Day, a company called “Knock” (I think it’s an advertising agency) has created a “We Heart Trees” site. Anyone can create a virtual tree, including “accessories” and a vocal expression, and you’re given a unique url to what you’ve made.
ClassTools has created a site to create a “fake” text messages conversation that can be embedded.
Brainy Box also comes from ClassTools, and lets you easily create a 3-D animated cube with any content you want to include in it.
Pinwords allows you to create attractive illustrated quotes and lets you grab images off the web to use. Quozio is a similar site. And you can find others at my recent post, The Best Tools For Creating Visually Attractive Quotations For Online Sharing.
Phrase.it lets you easily add speech bubbles with your text to photos. You can upload your own, or choose a random image from the site. You’re then given a link to your creation.
Quizpoo lets you create, without requiring registration, “this or that” quizzes. I had never actually heard of that “genre” of tests before, but you can see plenty of examples on their site. I could see students having a lot of fun making these kinds of tests. For example, as we study Latin America in my ELL Geography class, they could make one on “Mexico or Brazil” with the first “question” being “Brasilia” and the answer choices being “Mexico” or “Brazil.” The following “questions” could include “Pele” and “Baja California.”
The New York Times has come up with a very creative interactive for the 2013 State of the Union address — you get to “cut-and-paste” your own one minute video highlight reel at My State of the Union Address in 60 Seconds. It lets you do the same with the Republican response.
There apparently is a popular Cartoon Network show about gumball creatures, and now you can create your own! Without needing to register, you can choose its image and shape, select various other body and facial features, and you are given a url address to post and share to your final creation.
Create the Rainbow lets you create your own Skittles commercial, and it has more learning possibilities than one might think… You choose your characters and location, and then can “drag & drop” various quotations to create a dialogue. Add some music and, voila, you’ve got yourself a “commercial” that you can share with others. I especially like the ability for users to create a dialogue with already prepared comments. It can definitely be a fun and easy activity for English Language Learners if you’ve got a few minutes left to kill in the computer lab.
Many people have seen some of the hundreds, if not thousands, of satirical versions of the “Downfall” movie scene where Hitler rants in German and people come up with their own English subtitles.
Now, there’s a site that will create the video for you — it shows you the scenes, you come up with the subtitles, and, viola, you’ve got your own version.
It could be used for engaging language practice, as I’ve done with Bombay TV and Artistifier. However, I also know that at least some people find using Hitler in this way offensive because they think it makes light of his crimes. I don’t necessarily share that view, but I would still probably not use it in a K-12 setting. I could see a college or adult ESL class, though, really enjoying its use.
Google’s Peanut Gallery lets you create subtitles for a variety of old silent movies. The special twist, though, is that you create the subtitles by speaking into a computer microphone and they will then magically appear. You have to speak very clearly though, so it may, or may not, work well for English Language Learners. One negative, however, is that it only works in the Chrome Browser.
I Wish You To lets you easily draw and create your own Ecards, which you can post, embed, and/or send to someone — and no registration is required.
Feedback is welcome.