Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

May 13, 2010
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

Versions of Etherpad Are Raining From The Sky…

Since Etherpad closed down and open-sourced their code, lots of new companies have created their own versions of this great web-based collaborating tool.

Here are two new ones:

Meeting Words

Titan Pads

They join Type With Me , Sync.in, and PiratePad.

All are on The Best Online Tools For Real-Time Collaboration list.

December 20, 2009
by Larry Ferlazzo
2 Comments

Does PiratePad = EtherPad?

(Since I wrote this post, I’ve been told that EtherPad has indeed already gone open source. I hadn’t realized they had done it already)

As readers might remember, Etherpad, the great collaborative tool that is on both The Best Online Tools For Real-Time Collaboration and The Best Online Tools For Collaboration — NOT In Real Time , was bought by Google recently and they were shutting it down.

Then, after the negative response to that plan, they made some modifications to it. They said they were going to made their code available, but I didn’t think they were going to do it so soon.

Now, there’s a new web application called PiratePad that appears on the surface to be the same as EtherPad and, in fact, on its home page says it’s powered by EtherPad.

PiratePad looks good.

December 5, 2009
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

Say Good-bye to Etherpad

(Because of the negative public reaction, it appears that Google and Etherpad are changing their plans now)

Etherpad, the great collaborative tool that is on both The Best Online Tools For Real-Time Collaboration and The Best Online Tools For Collaboration — NOT In Real Time , was bought by Google yesterday and they’re shutting it down.

No new accounts can be created, and the whole service will close-up by March.

It’s too bad…

July 23, 2009
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Etherpad Gets Even Better

Etherpad is on both The Best Online Tools For Real-Time Collaboration and The Best Online Tools For Collaboration — NOT In Real Time lists. It’s a very, very easy way to collaborate in real time. You just paste a bunch of text in a window and, without even having to register for the service, send others the url and everybody can edit it in real time. It also has a chat option.

You can go back to the url address at any time to make further, adjustments, too.

TechCrunch has just posted about some changes Etherpad has made to become even better. Instead of repeating what they say, I’d recommend you either read their post or just go directly to Etherpad and try it out.

November 19, 2008
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Etherpad For Collaboration

Etherpad is the latest very, very easy way to collaborate in real time. You just paste a bunch of text in a window and, without even having to register for the service, send others the url and everybody can edit it in real time. It also has a chat option.

You can go back to the url address at any time to make further, adjustments, too.

Because of these features, I’m adding the site to both The Best Online Tools For Real-Time Collaboration  and  The Best Online Tools For Collaboration — NOT In Real Time.

Thanks to the Read/Write Web blog for the tip.  Their post shares more information about the service and is worth a look.

November 17, 2010
by Larry Ferlazzo
11 Comments

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education — 2010

This annual post is always the most popular one of the year.

You might want to visit previous editions:

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 — 2010 useful)

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.

It’s possible that a few of these sites began in 2009, but, if so, I’m including them in this list because they were “new to me” in 2010.

You might also be interested in exploring the 530 other “The Best…” lists that I’ve posted over the past three years.

Finally, you might also want to subscribe to this blog for free.

Here are my choices for The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education — 2010:

Twenty: Sitehoover is a new 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.

Nineteen: Since Etherpad closed down and open-sourced their code, lots of new companies have created their own versions of this great web-based collaborating tool. Here are a few:

Meeting Words

Titan Pads

They join Type With Me , Sync.in, and PiratePad.

Eighteen: clp.ly lets you very, very easily take a screenshot of a webpage that can be embedded in a blog or website — plus, the screenshot is an active link to the original page. You can also include a virtual “post-it” note with a message on it. It’s similar to kwout (though kwout doesn’t have the post-it note feature). However, kwout doesn’t work on Edublogs, while clp.ly does! I’m not sure if kwout’s issue is with all WordPress sites or just on Edublogs.

Seventeen: Flisti is a new and extremely easy application that lets you create a very simple poll. No registration is required, and you can post the link to the poll on a teacher/student website/blog, or embed it there.

Sixteen: I usually don’t post much about web applications that require the use of a webcam just because webcams are problematic for school computers for safety issues, along with needing to dowload its required software. However, if you can use a webcam, Send Shots has got to be just about the easiest way to send a video message to someone. No registration or download is required — just record and send. There are no ads, and there’s no way to access other people’s video messages. You can post the url address of the video on a teacher or student’s website.

Fifteen: Simple Guide Tool lets you create a video/audio/text chatroom for up to four people, and lets you talk and show Google Maps and its Street View of different locations of your choice. Boy, if you had a sister class somewhere, it would be a great tool for students from each place to show the others their town or city.

Fourteen: Copytaste is a super-easy way to create a simple website. It joins several other apps that allow you to create sites without necessarily having to register, and also let you copy and paste photos directly onto the page.

Thirteen: Twextra is a new web application that lets people create a simple webpage with an automatically shortened link for sharing in something like Twitter. That purpose is fine, but it works great for another reason — and that’s why I like it. Some lessons I do include having students create Picture Data Sets — putting photos into categories with them writing a short description about each one. Students can use something like Wallwisher for this activity, but for students new to technology I prefer to have them just copy and paste the actual image instead of doing the extra step of getting the url address (which is what you need with Wallwisher). Twextra allows you to copy and paste photos directly onto it, and it’s very easy to write text under the image. This capacity also makes Twextra a very attractive option for teachers who are new to technology — it requires minimal tech knowledge to use. Any teacher can have students copy and paste their work on Twextra, which requires no sign-up.

Twelve: Mappy Friends is an easy place for students to write their reviews and impressions of places they have been — whether it’s cities or towns around the world where they have lived, or parks or attractions in the place where they live. It’s a nice place to write something for an “authentic audience.”

Eleven: Explorra is a new travel site that appears to be designed to compete with the many others that allow you to create your own travel itinerary. I’ve posted many of those similar sites at The Best Sites Where Students Can Plan Virtual Trips. I wouldn’t add Explorra to that list, though — the others seem to do a better job at that. However, Explorra does have one feature I really, really like — the ability for users to create an online guide to anyplace in the world. After sign-up, which only takes a minute, you identify a city, country or state, and then start listing what you think are the most interesting places there. Explorra will search the Web for images of each location, and you can write descriptions.

Ten: LIFE has unveiled a neat new feature that lets you search for any photos in its archives and create an online timeline/slideshow that you can share with a unique url address. Their Photo Timeline lets you use their original captions or you can edit them and create your own, as well as writing your own description for your whole creation. After you log-in (you can do so using your Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo, or Google accounts — it would be nice if they allowed on site registration, but I guess you can’t have everything!), it’s just a matter of searching and dragging the photos to your timeline/slideshow.

Nine: Crocodoc is a super-simple application that allows you to annotate webpages with virtual post-it notes and drawings. You can also upload any document you create and immediate make it into a webpage.

Eight: WebKlipper lets you easily, without requiring registration, annotate any webpage with virtual post-it notes or a highlighter. You’re then given the url address of the annotated webpage. It’s quite easy to use. Students can use it to demonstrate reading strategies (visualizing, asking questions, making a connection, etc.).

Seven: ZooBurst, allows you to create your own “customized 3D pop-up books.” You can see a number of examples at their site.

Six: Fotobabble, is a neat application where people can post photos along with an audio description. It has gotten even better recently. Now, users can grab images off the web by just using the photo’s url address. Before, uploading images was the only option. It’s one of the best Web 2.0 applications of the year for educators, and is on The Best Sites To Practice Speaking English list. It’s a simple tool students can use to practice their speaking skills. It’s very easy to use but, just in case, Russell Stannard at the great Teacher Training Videos has posted a good video tutorial on how to use the app. You can see examples my students have created here.

Five: 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. Here are examples of the ride of Paul Revere and the Lewis and Clark Expedition. It’s super-easy to use, and the only tricky part is that you can’t add photos until after you create your trip and save it. That’s not a big deal, unless you couldn’t figure it out like me and had to contact the site.

Four: Story Jumper is a new site that lets kids create their own story books. Online versions are free, and you can pay for hard copies. Registration is quick and easy. You can create your books from “scratch” or use one of several templates they have (one or two of them didn’t seem particularly intuitive to me, but most were fine, and the “scratch” version was certainly easy). They offer lots of easy “props” to integrate into the stories, and you can upload your own photos and type your own text. Once you’re finished, you can email the link to yourself and post it on a student/teacher blog or website.

Three: TxtBear is a new and very useful web application that allows you to easily upload and document and immediately turn it into a webpage. A site like this is one is wonderful for students and others who are not very tech savvy. All they have to do is create a document in Word (including easily copying and pasting images into it), which they might be more familiar with, and easily turn it into a website. Students can upload papers they’ve written, as well. Then, they can just copy and paste its url address into a teacher or student blog. For example, now I have students type essays in a Word Document and then copy and paste them directly into the comments section of our class blog. With TxtBear, they use Word, illustrate it if they want, and then paste the link into the class blog. It makes the document much more readable that way.

Two: The Middlespot Search Engine has made previous “The Best…” lists. Their new version is like an even easier and embeddable Wallwisher. In other words, it’s a virtual bulletin board with virtual “stickies.” If you’re searching for an image, website, or video, though, you don’t necessarily have to copy and paste their url addresses (though you can) — if they are in the search results you just click on it to go into your “mashup” and it goes to it automatically. No registration is necessary, and you can collaborate with others.

One: Simple Booklet is a great new tool that lets you create online books and reports that can be embedded or linked to by its url address. It’s free, you can grab images and videos off the web, and extremely simple to use. No registration is required. What’s not to like? Coincidentally, it’s also designed by Middlespot.

Feedback is welcome, including additional suggestions.

If you found this post useful, you might want to consider subscribing to this blog for free.

You might also want to explore the 500 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.

May 31, 2010
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

PostRank’s Tops Posts For May From This Blog

I regularly share my picks for the most useful posts of each month. I also publish a list of the month’s most popular posts, based on the number of times they are “clicked-on.”

I also share a list of Post Rank’s analysis of each month’s top posts. Post Rank uses a variety of ways to measure level of “engagement” that readers have with specific blog posts. I have a constantly updated “widget” on my blog’s sidebar that lists these posts, but I thought a monthly post would be helpful/interesting to subscribers who don’t regularly visit the blog itself.

Here are their rankings for the month of May:

Versions of Etherpad Are Raining From The Sky…

Online Tools For Real-Time Collaboration

Very Important Study On Learning & The Brain

My Best Posts On “Motivating” Students

My Best Posts On Books: Why They’re Important & How To Help Students Select, Read, Write & Discuss Them

Guzzle

The Best Sites For Learning About Immigration In The United States

“Will we succeed? The science of self-motivation”

“More Simple Ways To Introduce Reluctant Colleagues To Technology”

Here’s What I’m Doing For My Class Final Exam

Zoofs

This Is Why We Have To Be Very Careful With Error Correction

Fotobabble Gets Even Better!

MovieClips Gets Even Better!

Two Weeks Left To Contribute To The ESL/EFL/ELL Blog Carnival!

“How Americans See Europe”

Zonkk

My Concerns About Charters

The Best Sites For Learning About The Mount St. Helens Eruption

Updated “The Best…” List On Different Religions

Here We Go Again: Private Foundations Have A Place (And Have To Be Kept In Their Place)

Will Doodling Help Students Learn Better?

Some Great New “TED Talks” Resources

Resume Companion

Literati Game