As regular readers know, it’s time for me to begin posting my mid-year “The Best….” lists. There are nearly 1,600 regularly updated lists now. 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.
* appropriate for classroom use.
* completely browser-based with no download required (however, I’ve begun to make exceptions for special mobile apps).
Some sites I’m including this year are primarily geared towards teachers creating content for classroom use, but could also easily be used by students.
It’s possible that a few of these sites began earlier than this year, but, if so, I’m including them in this list because they were “new to me” in 2016.
You might want to visit previous editions, as well as The “All-Time” Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education; The “All-Time” Best Ways To Create Online Content Easily & Quickly and The “All-Time” Best 2.0 Tools For Beginning English Language Learners.
I don’t rank my mid-year lists, but do place them in order of preference in my end-of-year lists. Just because a tool is on this mid-year list does not mean it will make the cut for the year-end version.
Feel free to let me know if you think I’m leaving any tools out.
Here are my twenty-one choices for The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2016- So Far (not ranked in any order):
Adobe Spark looks like an amazing new free tool that lets you create visually attractive quotes, web pages and videos. Richard Byrne, as usual, has created an excellent video showing how it works. It has the potential to join the “All-Time Best” list, but I still need to spend a little more time with it before I make a decision.
Google unveiled a new collaborative space called…Spaces. It appears to be a private space where invited users can share posts, photos and links.
Now, any teacher – including clueless ones like me – can experiment with a new Minecraft Education Edition for free over the summer. Check it out here.
Participate lets teachers collect different learning resources.
Votesy is a free and simple survey tool that lets you ask one text, image or video-based question. It really does seem super-easy to use, and the polls are embeddable.
Wizer lets teachers easily create online, multimedia online “worksheets” (even better, you can use or modify ones other educators have made), give students the url address to the “worksheet” (I’d just copy-and-paste it on our class blog), students quickly and simply register on Wizer, complete the worksheet, and, voila, teachers can easily see each students’ work. In some ways, it’s like a somewhat less-sophisticated SAS Curriculum Pathways, which I think is the most useful site on the Web for teachers. There, though, only SAS creates the materials. It, too, has a chance to join the “All-Time Best” list after I spend more time with it.
Opinion Stage is a free and easy tool for making online tests, polls and lists.
Pablo lets you create visually attractive quotes and provides access to over 50,000 royalty-free images.
Stephen Fry, who I had never heard of but who is apparently a well-known British actor and comedian, has launched Pindex, a “Pinterest For Education.” You can read more about it here, and it has a user-guide here. It really is a “knock-off” of Pinterest, so one might wonder why the world needs it. I think it might be useful to educators for two reasons — one, with luck, since it’s focused on education, school content filters might not block it as so many do Pinterest; and, secondly, because it has a nifty quiz-making feature that lets track if students have completed them. In other words, teachers can create a board which students study, followed by a quiz. After students complete a quiz (after they have registered for Pindex), their username appears under the quiz for its creator to see.
I’ve written about Russel Tarr’s extraordinary ClassTools site often (see This Is The Best Web 2.0 Site For ELLs & May Be The Best One For All Students). He has a zillion of easy-to-use (and with no registration required) tools for creating online content. He recently added another one to his vast suite of options — this time, it’s a super-simple way to create interactive online crossword puzzles.
I have a huge The Best Online Sources For Images list (and one needing some revising and updating). And, with all those resources available, Photos For Class has become my “go-to” site for blog and presentation images. It’s free and, when you download the image (all Creative Commons licensed for public use), proper attribution is shown with it. It can’t get much easier than that….
Synap is a new easy tool for creating online quizzes. It will really be useful when there’s a large bank of user-created quizzes for teachers to draw upon.
I’ve been hearing a lot of “buzz” about Versal, which lets teachers create online interactive resources.
NoteBookCast is a simple online virtual whiteboard that can be used by many people at the same time.
The KnowMe app is the one Web 2.0 tool I’ve found this year that I immediately added to The “All-Time” Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education list. You can combine photos from your phone with live video (f you want), easily add narration, and voila, you have an audio narrated presentation. You just hold down on the photo with a finger and talk. You can read about, and see many examples, about how I use it here.
I’ve written a lot about tools that students can use for annotating documents online (see Best Applications For Annotating Websites). I’m primarily interested in tools that don’t require any downloads at all because that makes it problematic for use in schools/ I recently learned from InterCom about a tool called Annotation Studio. It’s free and is from MIT.
ClassKick lets teachers create virtual classrooms with pre-made or original assignments. It’s free.
The Learnia lets you create interactive video lessons.
Poll Deep is a tool for…taking polls. I’m adding it to The Best Sites For Creating Online Polls & Surveys.
PullQuote is an easy tool for creating visually attractive quotes online.
Having an easy tool that students can use to create online lists with commentaries — books, movies, figures in history, etc. — can come in handy. Unfortunately, the ones I use to recommend and use have all gone under. Now, Intralist has opened-up for business. You’re limited to five items, but you can easily add images and commentary, and people can leave comments.