With this post, I’m beginning to publish my end-of-year “The Best….” lists. There are over 1,700 regularly updated lists now. You can see them all here. You can also find many of them organized a bit differently here. You might also want to check out All 2018 Mid-Year “Best” Lists – In One Place!
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 2018.
You might want to visit previous editions of this list, as well as other Web 2.0 resources, here.
Feel free to let me know if you think I’m leaving any tools out.
Instead of ranking each of the tools on this list in order, I have them organized into three general groups: Useful, Good, and Excellent. The “Excellent” tools are added to the “All-Time” list mentioned previously.
I’ve also created three Web 2.0 – related Best lists this year:
Here are my fifty choices for The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2018. They are divided into three categories – Useful, Good, Excellent:
Apagraph lets you create visually appealing online quotations. I’m adding it to The Best Tools For Creating Visually Attractive Quotations For Online Sharing.
Animaker Edify is a new educational feature of the popular tool for creating animations. Teachers can create virtual classrooms. I’m adding it to The Best Ways For Students To Create Online Animations and to The Best Sites Where Students Can Work Independently & Let Teachers Check On Progress.
National Geographic has unveiled Open Explorer. They call it a “digital field journal” where anyone can document their exploration of anything (they use “your backyard” as one simple example), as well as follow the explorations of others (many are much more involved than a backyard). You need to register for the site, which takes a few seconds. The buttons to “start your own expedition” don’t seem to work right now, but you can easily get to it by clicking on the “Dashboard” button at the top right of the screen after you register. I’m sure they’ll fix that glitch soon. You can read more about it at Why We Created This First-of-Its-Kind Digital Field Journal.
The American Chopper Meme has been all around the Internet (see ‘American Chopper’ Angry Meme Resurfaces and Takes Internet by Storm). You can easily make your own at American Chopper Argument Meme Generator.
Toonator lets you easily create simple animations. I’m adding it to The Best Ways For Students To Create Online Animations.
Read Ahead looks intriguing. It lets you paste text, or import text from a url address. Then you can divided up the text into “chunks” that appear on slides, along with identifying key words. The text then appears as a slidedeck. Here’s one I quickly did. It’s also free. The site suggests that it assists comprehension, which makes sense to me. Practically speaking – for me, at least – I could see using it as an easy way to create a slidedeck for a text I want to display to a class on a computer projector. Also, I think it could also be a useful tool for students to either display their own work for classmates to read, or to choose online text and demonstrate strategic thinking by how they would display it for easier comprehension (they’d also show further critical thinking by the key words they chose to highlight).
Scratchwork is an online collaborative whiteboard that seems to be designed with using it for math in mind. I’m adding it to The Best Online Tools For Real-Time Collaboration.
Anchor is an extremely easy and free way to create podcasts. Even though it’s super-easy, it can never hurt to get instructions, and Richard Byrne has created a step-by-step video explaining how to use it. They also announced a super-neat new feature: the ability to automatically take snippets of your podcast and turn them into videos highlighting text.
Rocketium lets you create those types of videos you see everywhere with images that have text laid on top of them. Rocketium refers to them as “Buzzfeed-style” videos. I’m adding it to The Best Tools That “Automatically” Create Presentations, even though I wouldn’t call it “automatic.” It sure is easy, though. I am just not sure where else to put it right now.
One Met. Many Worlds is a cool online interactive gallery from The Metropolitan Museum Of Art. You can explore how certain words/themes have been illustrated in different works of arts across many cultures, and also “pair-up” your own preferred images to share online. I’m adding it to The Best Ways For Students To Create Their Own Online Art Collections.
Kapwing is a video editor. I’m adding it to Not The “Best,” But A List… Of Online Video Editors.
Jot Form lets you easily create online…forms.
Beautiful [AI] uses artificial intelligence to automatically create presentations.
Google announced that you can now have Google Photos automatically create music videos with your pictures.
Sharalike is an Animoto-like app.
Apester is a free tool that lets you create pretty dynamic looking interactive presentations.
Loom lets you easily make screencasts, though it can only be used in Chrome.
I Fake Text Message is a simple tool to create…fake text messages. I’m adding it to The Best Tools For Creating Fake “Stuff” For Learning.
Word It Out is yet another tool to easily create word clouds from text. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About “Word Clouds”
Narrator’s Club is a new free online tool that lets you create choose your own adventure stories fairly easily. I’ve got some questions about how parts of it work – no registration is required and, as far as I can tell, anyone can edit anyone else’s story. I assume they are still working out the details. But it is very easy to use – much easier than some of the other supposedly “easy” tools that are out there. I created this part of a story (still incomplete) in three or four minutes. Once they work out the kinks, it should be a winner… I’m adding it to The Best Places To Read & Write “Choose Your Own Adventure” Stories.
Voice Pods lets you type or paste-in text, and then provides suprisingly high-quality voices that will say it. You have to register to use it, though. I’m adding it to The Best Reference Websites For English Language Learners.
BadaBoom is a Kahoot alternative. I particularly like its feature of being able to provide more than one correct answer. I’m adding it to The Best Websites For Creating Online Learning Games. Thanks to David Kapuler for the tip.
Elementari is new tool to create stories or presentations. It’s free, and they are developing classroom features for teachers. The interface is similar to PowerPoint or Google Slides, and it has an image and sound effects library (that’s limited for now, since it’s brand new). It also has the ability to record your own voiceover.
The Distracted Boyfriend Meme seemed to peak last summer, but now appears to be having a resurgence. My own version is at the top of this post. If you’d like to create one, it’s easy to do so here.
Unhangout is a free tool from MIT that lets you create multiple online chatrooms – sort of like dividing into small groups while in a meeting or class. I’m adding it to The Best Online Tools For Real-Time Collaboration.
Ryeboard is a new Padlet-like tool without any bells-and-whistles. I’m adding it to The Best Online Virtual “Corkboards” (or “Bulletin Boards”).
Mural lets you make very simple websites. I’m adding it to The Best Ways For Students Or Teachers To Create A Website.
Crayon is a collaborative whiteboard for drawing. I’m adding it to The Best Art Websites For Learning English and to The Best Online Tools For Real-Time Collaboration.
Botnik is an intriguing writing tool. It has created separate Artificial Intelligence word banks from various sources (Carl Sagan, pancake recipes). You choose one, and begin to pick words from that particular “bank.” Its artificial intelligence then provides a list of likely ones to use next. You can then publish your finished product. In some ways, it’s a different version of a Sentence Navigator. I’m adding it to The Best Tools That “Automatically” Create Presentations.
Russel Tarr’s ClassTools site is on a zillion of my “Best” lists, and he keeps on making it better and better! His newest addition is a super-easy tool for creating sequencing activities, “Drag and Drop.” It can be used in lots of lessons, and I’m adding it to The Best Sites For Creating Sentence Scrambles.
Wrish lets you create a webpage (that can remain editable or not) with text and images easily and without required registration. I’m adding it to A Few Simple Ways To Introduce Reluctant Colleagues To Technology. That’s part of a larger My Best Posts For Tech Novices (Plus A Few From Other People) list, which needs to be updated.
Timelinely is a new free tool that easily lets you create an interactive experience for any YouTube video. You just copy-and-paste the url of the video and then can easily pick moments in the video where you want to write added comments, annotated with an image, or add a link for more information. You can also interact with views through a comments section (you have to be registered with the site to leave comments). They don’t yet have an embed feature yet, though say it’s coming soon. You can see some things I did with a video of me talking about student motivation here. I’m adding this info to A Potpourri Of The Best & Most Useful Video Sites.
I blogged about PairPrep a couple of years ago, and it was then sort of a learning game site. They seem to have “pivoted” to become an easy tool for teachers to digitize their student hand-outs and worksheets to make them interactive (maybe similar to Wizer). No, I’m not a big fan or regular user of “worksheets” but, like many things, I think they can have a useful place in the classroom, but also have to be “kept in their place.” It seems to me that PairPrep could come in handy. I’m adding it to The Best Sites That Students Can Use Independently And Let Teachers Check On Progress.
Webjets is new free online tool that’s similar to others on The Best Online Virtual “Corkboards” (or “Bulletin Boards”) list. Though it doesn’t have as many bells-and-whistles as Padlet does (see Padlet Now Lets You Record Audio – Zooms To The Top Of Most Useful Web 2.0 Tools For ELLs), in some ways it seems a little easier to copy-and-paste images and organize them.
Short videos from journalistic sites (including Ed Week and Edutopia) have included images overlaid with text, accompanied by music. They’re very engaging, and I’ve wondered how they create them. Now, I don’t have to wonder any longer, because there’s a free web tool called Lumen5.With the assistance of Artificial Intelligence, you just paste in the url address of a blog post or article, highlight the text you want to see in the video, identify the images you want to go along with the text, along with choosing music, and your video is done! If any blogger wants to expand his/her audience with video, I can’t imagine a better tool available to help make it happen.
eStory is a new free online timeline-making tool. It’s a quick-and-easy registration process, has a very intuitive interface, and the timelines themselves are attractive. And, it’s free. What’s not to like? I’m adding it to The Best Tools For Making Online Timelines.
Quick, Draw! is a tool from Google that tells you an object and then gives you twenty seconds to draw it. People have drawn one billion images using it, and Google uses them to make its “machine learning” better. You are given six items to draw and then it shows them all, along with providing you the ability to compare your creations with others.
oodlu is a brand-new – and free to teachers and students – tool for creating and playing online learning games. Teachers can create many different formats of questions and turn them into a wide variety of different types of games. And, they can have free virtual classrooms to monitor student progress.
Google unveiled a new and cool Songmaker tool (you need to use Chrome to access it). Just click on a few boxes and your song is born! I use tools like this one (see The Best Online Sites For Creating Music) for English-language development activities (see The Best Music Websites For Learning English). For example, students will create music and have their classmates describe what it makes them see when they close their eyes.
StoryWeaver looks like an amazing site that is designed to create and translate children’s books into a ton of different languages and make them accessible online for free. Users can translate books that are already there into different languages or easily create there own books. It’s a great site for students to write for an authentic audience. ELL teachers and their students could get a lot out of the site, and it seems to me that other language teachers could have their students use it, too.
GameBuilder lets you create lots of different types of learning games. Once you create it, anyone with its url address can play. The site also has a large collection of games created by its users. The site is sponsored by Wisc-Online, which “is a creation of Wisconsin’s Technical Colleges and maintained by Fox Valley Technical College.” And it’s free! I’m adding this site to The Best Websites For Creating Online Learning Games.
I recently learned about Synth. It will immediately become one of the favorite online tool for any teacher of English Language Learners. Synth lets you record audio for up to 256 seconds at a time for free, save it, and provide a link or embed code. It’s available as a SmartPhone app or as a web tool. Big deal, you might say, there are lots of tools out there that let you record audio online (you can see a ton of them at The Best Sites To Practice Speaking English). Yes, and here is why Synth is so good – it provide automatic captions for what you are saying! The captioning isn’t perfect, but what automatic captioning system is? It’s pretty decent. Plus, you can set-up your audio recording so that others can leave audio recordings in response to yours.
I have previously blogged about SAS Curriculum Pathways many times (forty times, in fact). I use it in all my classes and, particularly, in my Social Science courses. It’s on more “Best” lists than you can shake a stick at…. They provide free and very high-quality and accessible interactive lessons for all subjects, and students can complete and send them to their teacher. And it’s all free. They recently announced a great new feature called Crio. Now, teachers can easily create their own interactive lessons using materials from anywhere.
Google announced that Google Slides will now provide automatic slide captioning for everything a speaker says. Lots of research shows that closed-captioning can assist in language-learning, and have that kind of text support should be a huge asset in teaching English. In addition, it would seem to me that physical classroom teachers who use Google Slides a lot would find it useful for the same reason – while they are talking, their words would appear on the slide (assuming they had a hand-held mike connected to a computer). You can learn more about this development at: What’s that you say? Present with captions in Google Slides and Present slides with captions.