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The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2013

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It’s time for my most popular post each year — the one on new Web 2.0 applications.

There are over 1,200 lists now that are categorize and updated regularly.  You can see them all here.

As usual, in order to make this list, a site had to be:

* accessible to English Language Learners and non-tech savvy users.

* free-of-charge.

* appropriate for classroom use.

* completely browser-based with no download required (I occasionally make an exception to this rule).

It’s possible that a few of these sites began in 2012, but, if so, I’m including them in this list because they were “new to me” in 2013.

You might want to visit previous editions:

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2012

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2011

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education — 2010

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education — 2009

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education — 2008

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education — 2007

(You might also find The Best Ways To Create Online Content Easily & Quickly In 2012 — So Far useful,as well as Here Are All Of My “Best Of 2013″ Lists)

Feel free to let me know if you think I’m leaving any tools out.

Here are my fifty choices for The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2013 (in the past, I’ve published a list ranked from top-to-bottom.  This year, however, it was harder for me to make that kind of selection.  Instead, I’ve posted a “top ten” — not in order — and then a second tier of thirty sites that I’ve divided into specific categories):

The Top Ten (not in order of preference)

Mosey lets you pick a location, easily choose places in the area that you’d like to “visit,” grab images off the web, shows the places on map, and lets you add notes. You’re then give a unique url address to your creation. It’s a good tool for geography class or for planning a real field trip.

I use Pinterest daily. However, in the vast majority of schools, it is never going to make it past Internet content filters for students. eduClipper is basically a Pinterest for schools (and I confirmed today that it is not blocked at our school — if it’s not blocked by our district, it’s unlikely to be blocked by most others). It has the potential of sort of being an “all in one” tool for the classroom, serving the same purposes as sites on The Best Social Bookmarking Applications For English Language Learners & Other Students list and on The Best Online Virtual “Corkboards” (or “Bulletin Boards”) list, as well as serving other functions.

Haiku Deck, an iPad app which now has a Web version, may very well be the best tool for creating online slideshows that are out there. It’s  on The Best Ways To Create Online Slideshows list. Now Richard Byrne has made a tutorial explaining how to use the web version. It’s not yet open to the public, but I received my invitation less than twenty-four hours after requesting one.

Tellagami is neat iPhone/iPad app that lets users quickly create virtual characters that can speak audio that’s been recorded or use text-to-speech. I’m adding it to The Best Sites To Practice Speaking English and to The Best Sites For Beginning iPhone Users Like Me.

EDpuzzle is a new innovative site that lets you take just about any video off the web, edit it down to the portions you want, add audio notes and questions for students, and create virtual classrooms where you can monitor individual student work. For free. Though I’m not a big fan of the flipped classroom (see The Best Posts On The “Flipped Classroom” Idea), I would imagine the site might be an ideal tool for that strategy.

You can see a quick example I created here (unfortunately, the videos are not embeddable).

For my own classroom, I see it less useful as a creation vehicle for me, and potentially much more useful as a tool that students can use for creation. For example, I think both my mainstream and English Language Learner students could watch a video and annotate them using the same kind of reading strategies they use with a “regular” text (ask questions, make connections, evaluate, etc.). Common Core talks about “multimodal texts” and videos, especially if they’re subtitled, would certainly fit into their category.

Huzzaz lets you create video collections that you can embed in your website. I’m adding it to The Best Ways To Create Online Video Playlists.

UTellStory is sort of a streamlined VoiceThread that I think is easier for both teachers and students to use.  You can make slideshows with your own images or grab ones off the web and easily add a audio you record, as well as text, to it. You can make them private or public, and they’re embeddable. You can also let your slideshows be re-used and mixed by others.

buncee lets you easily create simple multimedia creations — almost like an extended virtual postcard. You can grab media off the web and add text.

emaze is a new slideshow creation tool that looks neat and pretty darn easy. TechCrunch says it hits the “Sweet Spot Between PowerPoint And Prezi.”

Sketchlot lets students…sketch and draw online. Teachers sign-up and can create a class roster letting students log-in, and drawings are embeddable.

 

The Rest (Not in order of preference)

VIDEO SITES:

MashMe TV lets you create a free video conference with up to ten people. In addition, you can all watch a video and/or draw together.

Wideo is a new tool for making online animations.  I wouldn’t say it’s as intuitive to use as some others on The Best Ways For Students To Create Online Animations list, but it does seem decent.

HapYak lets you annotate any YouTube or Vimeo video with text (including url addresses) or freestyle drawing. The Adventures With Technology blog has an interesting lesson plan using HapYak with second language learners.

Reflap is a free tool for online video chats. You can have up to five people on the same chat.

COLLABORATIVE ONLINE WHITEBOARDS:

RealtimeBoard is an online whiteboard that is a good tool for real-time collaboration. It’s easy to use, and lets you upload images from your computer or by its url address. They’ve had a limited free plan for everybody, but they recently announced a free “Pro” account for educators. It’s easy to register for it here.

COLLABORATIVE ONLINE WORD PROCESSING:

Quip is a new online word processing tool that is free to non-business users, adapts its look to the kind of device you’re using (tablet, desktop, smartphone), and lets you collaborate with others on your document. You can read more about it at TechCrunch.

Editorially lets you collaboratively create documents.

On my The Best Online Tools For Real-Time Collaboration list, I have quite a few tools that let you create documents with others, including some that allow instant text chat. Notepad is a new tool that has both of those features and, unlike most other sites, also provides an audio chat feature. No registration is required to use all its features.

Draft is a new free collaborative word processor that looks pretty useful. You can read a lengthy post about it at TechCrunch.

Editorially lets you collaboratively create documents. I’m adding it to The Best Online Tools For Real-Time Collaboration.

SITES TO CREATE ONLINE  GAMES & TESTS:

GeoGuessr is one of my favorite games on The Best Online Geography Games list.  It’s now gotten even better. You can now create your own GeoGuessr game at GeoSettr.

Quizdini is a simple and free tool for creating multiple-choice or “drag-and-drop” quizzes. There is no way right now to monitor student results, but they are working developing such a system.

I learned about BrainRush from Eric Sheninger. Right now, it only lets you create flash card activities, but it has plans in the near future for several other learning activities. What’s really nice about the site is that you can create virtual classrooms and monitor student progress. You can assign students activities you or other users create. I personally prefer to also have students make their own interactives on sites like this and then have classmates try them out

Image Quiz lets you easily grab images off the web (or upload your own) and create quizzes with them. No registration is required to create or take them, and there are quite a few already there.

As regular readers know, I’m a big fan of having my English Language Learner students play online video games as a language development activity (see POINTING AND CLICKING FOR ESL: Using Video Games To Promote English Language Development).

Escape The Room games are one of my favorite game “genres,” where players have to…escape from a room by clicking on objects and using them in a certain way and/or order. Most of these games also have a text component.

Now, a new free tool has come online, the Room Escape Maker, that lets anybody create their own….escape the room games. It requires a little more of a learning curve than I would like, but I think it has some potential.

PHOTOS:

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.

Stipple is another tool that lets you annotate photos with links to other sites or text. I’ve posted about others in The Best Ways To Use Photos In Lessons (Thinglink being the most prominent).

Photolist is a new tool that seems like a very easy way to make a slideshow (that’s also embeddable) and that lets you also add expanded captions.

Every Stock Photo is an impressive search engine for images and, what’s particularly nice about it, is that it provides the embed code with the necessary attribution for any image you pick.

CREATING ATTRACTIVE QUOTATIONS:

Pinwords lets you create visually attractive quotations and is especially nice because it’s web-based and lets you grab images off the web to use.

Quozio is another super-easy way to create visually attractive quotations.

OTHER:

Populr.me is an easy tool for creating websites.

Brainscape is a flashcard-creating site that lets you add images and allows you to record sound simply by clicking on the “Advanced Editor.” It’s easy to add both, and those features make Brainscape stand out a bit from some of the other flashcard sites out there.

Presenter is a new free online tool for creating online presentations, animations and — at least in my mind — most importantly, infographics. Most of the options on Presenter all look impressive but, for my technologically incompetent tastes, are just slightly more complicated than I would like (though I’m sure they all would be fine for most readers of this blog). I, though, particularly like their infographic tool.  Once you register and sign-on, you have the option to click on the Presenter tool or a tool to create websites. The Presenter tool is free, and the website one costs money. After you click on Presenter, you’re offered different features within it, including infographics. They only offer a few templates now, but I’m sure more will become available soon.

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.

Map Tales is a pretty cool application that lets you create “map-based stories.” Students can easily use them to document historical eras, literary journey, even their own immigration saga. It’s very easy to use.

Dio is a new interactive tool from Linden Labs, the creators of Second Life (which, apart from hearing from people with physical disabilities that it was very helpful to them, I have yet to figure out its usefulness). Dio, on the other hand, allows you to create what is basically a public or private network that has a lot of interactivity. There is no shortage of social network sites that teachers can set up for their students to use (see Not “The Best,” But “A List” Of Social Network Sites), but Dio seems to have a lot more engaging features.

Russel Tarr has created lots of great online learning tools, and I’ve blogged about many of them. His latest is called Brainy Box, and it lets you easily create a 3-D animated cube with any content you want to include in it. Students will love it.

Mighty Meeting is a free site that lets you create free online meetings where a slide presentation or documents can be shared. It seems to work quite simply, which is always a plus.

Zoho has unveiled a nice new survey tool called…Zoho Survey. The free version includes unlimited surveys and up to 15 questions and 150 responses per survey. You can read more about it at TechCrunch.

I look forward to hearing your feedback!

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

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

One Comment

  1. Add Sparticl.org, the new, free interactive collection of the best STEM on the web, launched 10/1/2013. Designed for teens in grades 7-9, but open to all. Registered users rank, share, comment, earn points toward badges and status. 5000 curated pages and growing!

    Thanks for your your help promoting the best in education! – RH

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