I’ve been posting annual lists of the Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education for seven years.
I thought it would be useful for readers, my students, and me to review them all and identify my choices for the “all-time” best ones.
I’ve begun creating a number of these “All-Time” Best list, with The “All-Time” Best Ways To Create Online Content Easily & Quickly being the first one. Some of the sites there could easily be on this list, too. However, I’ve put all sites that don’t require registration over there.
Look for quite a few more “All-Time” Best lists over the next couple of months. I think readers might find these lists helpful, but I’m primarily creating them for my students to experiment and help me decide if all these tools should stay on this list or not.
There are over 1,200 Best lists now that are categorized and updated regularly. You can see them all here.
In order to make this “All-Time” list and, in fact, to make any of my annual Web 2.0 lists, a site has to be:
* accessible to English Language Learners and non-tech savvy users.
* appropriate for classroom use.
* completely browser-based with no download required.
These sites are not listed any any order of preference. These are also ones for students to use — I’m not necessarily including ones I that I use regularly — those are for another list.
Let me know if you think I’m missing some…I know I am. Even though I’ve reviewed many of my previous lists, I didn’t do an exhaustive search, so I’ll be adding more tools to this list in the coming weeks (and years!).
Here are my choices for The “All-Time” Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education:
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. 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. Richard Byrne has made a tutorial explaining how to use the web version.
I’m a big proponent of the Picture Word Inductive Model as a strategy for English Language Learners to develop reading and writing skills (I describe it in detail in my article in ASCD Educational Leadership, Get Organized Around Assets). It begins with the teacher labeling items in thematic photos with the help of students. The webtool Thinglink could be a great deal to help ELL’s maximize the advantages of this instructional strategy. Thinglink lets you upload or grab an image or video off the web and annotate items with the image or video super-easily. It basically looks like a photo in the Picture Word Inductive Model, just online. Thinglink recently unveiled the ability for teachers to create virtual classrooms.
Meograph is a cool web tool that lets you create an audio-narrated digital story with an integrated map. You can also grab images off the web.
Easel.ly is hands-down the easiest tool I’ve seen on the Web to create infographics. You just “drag-and-drop” a variety of themes, type in your data, and you’ve got a great infographic.
Lesson Paths (formerly MentorMob) lets you very easily create a slideshow. Webpages, videos and photos can be grabbed from the web and added, along with notes. It’s easy to use, very intuitively designed so just about anyone can figure it out, and attractive.
The free web tool Inklewriter is, without a doubt, the easiest way to write a choose your own adventure story. I’m tentatively putting it on this “All-Time” list, thought I’m not sure if I’m going to keep it here. I’m going to have my students experiment with it a little more this year.
Magisto is an Animoto-like service that lets you upload several short videos and it then somehow “recognizes” the most important parts and turns it into a magically-produced one minute video.
Popplet is an app that is like Wallwisher on steroids. You can make an online “bulletin-board” with virtual “post-its” (called “popplets), just like in Wallwisher. And, except for the fact you have to register to use it, Popplet is just as easy and, in some ways, easier to use with a lot more functionality. With Popplet, you search for images and videos on the Web directly within the “popplet” instead of copying and pasting the url address (as you need to do in Wallwisher). You can draw within the “popplet” and it doesn’t appear to have an limit on the number of characters you can use. You can connect the “popplets.” You can also embed the whole thing.
educaplay is a great free tool where you can easily create a ton of different kinds of educational interactives that you can link to or embed in your site. These include Riddles, Crosswords, Wordsearch Puzzle, Fill in the texts, Dialogues, Dictations, Jumbled Word, Jumbled Sentence, Matching, Quizzes, and Maps. For at least some of the them, including dictation, it provides the ability to record audio.
Scoop.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.
Fotobabble, is a neat application where people can post photos along with an audio description.
Sitehoover is an application that lets you create a personal homepage showing thumbnail images of your favorite websites. You can also organize them into separate “folders. It can be very useful to students doing research, or identifying their favorite language-learning site.
Tripline is a great map-making application. You just list the various places you want to go in a journey, or a famous trip that has happened in history or literature, or a class field trip itinerary, and a embeddable map is created showing the trip where you can add written descriptions and photos. You can use your own photos or just through Flickr. Plus, you can pick a soundtrack to go with it as it automatically plays through the travels.
Quizlet is on The Best Tools To Make Online Flashcards list. In addition to letting you create and study flashcards, it also lets you study the words in “game” forms. Plus, it allows voice recording for some features.
Zunal is an easy way for teachers (and students) to create webquests. I know there are some specific parameters involved in using the term “webquest,” so you can also use Zunal to create much simpler “online scavenger hunts.” At their most basic, it can be a series of questions students have to answer, along with links to websites where the information can be found. Zunal also acts as the host for the webquest or scavenger hunt after its been created.
“The Digital Vaults” is an entry into the vast resources of the National Archives, and allows you to use those resources to create your own movies, posters, and what it calls “Pathway Challenges” to… challenge others to find connections between a series of images, documents, and other resources you put together.
ESL Video is a super-easy to take pretty much any video off-the-net and create a quiz to it. It’s designed for ESL/EFL students, but it can also be used by and for mainstream students.
VoiceThread lets you upload pictures and create an audio narrative to go along with them. In addition, audio comments can be left by visitors.
Animoto lets you easily create musical slideshows.
Screencast-o-Matic lets you easily upload PowerPoints and provide audio narration.
Stay is a great tool for students to plan virtual trips. I use it a lot in my Geography classes.
And, speaking of class blogs, of course, Edublogs needs to be on this list!
Scrawlar lets teachers create virtual classrooms, lets students write and use a “whiteboard,” doesn’t require student email registration (just a classroom password and a student-created sign-in code, and is free. It’s also usable on laptops, desktops, tablets and phones.
* I learned about the free Shadow Puppet Edu (what appears to be a premium version of the more commercial Shadow Puppet app) through an article in ASCD Educational Leadership, and am very, very impressed. It has a bunch of bells and whistles that I haven’t even explored yet but, at its core, it’s an iPhone/iPad app that lets you pick photos and super-easily (and I do mean easily) lets you add audio narration to each photo and create a slideshow.
* Write About is a new site co-founded by educator John Spencer (his name may be familiar with readers since I’ve previously shared his work many times here). His co-founder is Brad Wilson. Write About provides many (and I mean many) images with writing prompts. Students can write their response and do an audio recording of it. Teachers can create virtual classrooms and provide individual written feedback to student writing. Student creations can be shared publicly or just with their classmates. Teachers can change prompts or upload their own photos. There’s a lot more, too. Plus, you can’t beat the cost (or non-cost):
Teachers can sign up and participate in the Write About community for free. Up to 40 free student accounts can be created with up to 3 posts each. Unlimited posts can be added with a Classroom account for $4.95/month. Teachers with multiple classes can add up to 250 students with unlimited posts for $7.95/month.
I think Write About is going to be an exceptional site, in particular for English Language Learners. It combines visual imagery, writing, speaking and listening – not to mention an authentic audience.