Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

June 15, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2016 – So Far

ffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff

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.

* free-of-charge.

* 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.

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2015

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2014

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2013

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

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.

November 8, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2015

The-Best-Web-20

As regular readers know, I’ve begun posting my mid-year “The Best….” lists. There are nearly 1,500 regularly updated lists now.  You can see them all here.

As usual, in order to make this list, a site has 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 (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 2015.

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.

The Best Tools For Creating “Word Frequency Charts” For Books, Articles & Movies and The Best Online Tools That Can Help Students Write An Essay are  also new Web 2.0-related “Best” lists I published this year:

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2014

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2013

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

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

Instead of ranking each of the forty-eight 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.

Here are my ranked choices for The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2015:

USEFUL

I’ve written about Russel Tarr’s site ClassTools many times, including featuring it in a post titled This Is The Best Web 2.0 Site For ELLs & May Be The Best One For All Students. He recently released another tool to join the many he has already. It’s called the Breaking News Generator!. Students can create a screenshot of a newscast with a news crawler at the bottom. Like his other tools, it’s free and simple to use.

Deekit is a new tool for collaboratively creating online whiteboards.It’s similar to other whiteboard tools on The Best Online Tools For Real-Time Collaboration list, though it does appear to have more bells and whistles. It’s free — at least, for now — and you can read more about it atTechCrunch.

Classmint is like a super Flashcard site.

Render Forest is an online video-maker. You can learn more about it from The ASIDE Blog.

Meeting Words is online tool for creating documents collaboratively. You can read more about it at Richard Byrne’s blog.

Five Thirty Eight wrote an extensive article  about a new free Google Chrome Extension called Draftback. It allows you to see the entire writing process unfold for any Google Doc. In other words, every mistake, correction, revision, etc. — either in the “realtime” it took or in a “speeded-up” time. You can then easily embed the created “Draftback.” I’m not sure if it’s just a cool toy that people will use once to try it out, or a tool that could be very effective in teaching writing to students.

Firefox has unveiled “Hello,” a video-calling system that is built into its browser. No registration is necessary. All you have to do is easily “create a conversation,” name it, and send the url link to the person with whom you want to talk. You can also create a contact list. They can use other browsers, like Chrome, and still use the link to the video call. Unfortunately, it appears to me that you can’t have group video chatrooms — in other words, it appears that you can just have two computers using the url address.

Trello is another free tool that teachers and students can use to create online corkboards/bulletin boards (like Padlet and other sites on The Best Online Virtual “Corkboards” (or “Bulletin Boards”) list).

Prezi, the incredibly popular (though, to me, still rather discomforting to look at) presentation tool, has unveiled an iPhone app called Nutshell.

Presentate is a new tool for creating online presentations. It looks nice, but you have to register for its beta. I received my invitation fairly quickly. I’m not convinced the world needs yet another online presentation site, but I’ll still add it to The Best Ways To Create Online Slideshows.

Thematic is another tool for creating slideshows. I like it a little better than Presentate, and it’s now open to the public. You can learn more about it at Richard Byrne’s blog. I’m adding it to that same “Best” list.

Speaking of online slideshow tool, here are two more:

One is Bunkr. Last May they unveiled a “new” Bunkr, which was a big improvement. Recently, they supposedly unveiled a new Bunkr which has been completely redesigned. You can read a wayover-the-top review of it at TechCrunch. It is worth a look, though.

Sway is Microsoft’s new online slideshow tool.

Hstry is a nice new online too for creating timelines. Richard Byrne wrote a post about it, and I’d suggest just you visit his blog to learn more. As he points out, one of the particularly nice features of this free tool is that teachers can create virtual classrooms for their students.

MoocNote is a new site that lets teachers create video playlists, along with notes and questions for students to answer. You can read more about it at Richard Byrne’s blog. I’m adding it to A Potpourri Of The Best & Most Useful Video Sites.

I learned about Biteable from Ed Tech & Mobile Learning. It seemed a bit clunky, but it’s also new, and it’s free. It would be an easy tool for students to use — it’s sort of a somewhat less sophisticated Animoto. You can’t embed the video, but it provides an easy option to upload it to YouTube.

TechCrunch wrote about a brand new iPhone/iPad app that might be the best video-editing tool out there – or, at least, the easiest one to use. It’s call Clips, and it’s free.

Write Lab looks like a very interesting, and unique, online writing tool (it doesn’t quite fit into a Web 2.0 category, but I’m putting it here, anyway). Once students upload their essay, its software provides a lot of critical feedback. In my experiment, the feedback seemed pretty accurate. The problem was there was way too much of it, and that will be a problem for students — to be able separate the really important stuff from the little stuff. I’m adding it to The Best Online Tools That Can Help Students Write An Essay.

Polarr is yet another online tool for photo-editing, and it looks like a good one. I’m adding it to The Best Sites For Online Photo-Editing & Photo Effects.

Vibby lets you share segments of YouTube videos with inserted questions. You can read more about it at these two Richard Byrne posts. I’m adding it to The Best Tools For Cutting-Out & Saving Portions Of Online Videos (Or Annotating Them).

Playbuzz lets you create a variety of online games and quizzes very easily – for free. You can embed them, too.

Plotagon is a free app that lets you create simple animations with a text-to-speech ability. A very nice feature it has – which sets it apart from a lot of animation tools — is that it provides a lot of prompts for users. That could be a big help to English Language Learners.

I am amazingly ignorant about math, but a zillion math teachers tell me that Desmos is the best math app out there, which I shared in recent ASCD Educational Leadership article, Apps, Apps Everywhere: Are Any Good, You Think? Dan Meyer has just shared the Desmos unveiled a new feature – the ability for teachers to create their own activities on the site. I don’t understand any of this, but I’m assuming this makes Desmos even better!

Sketchlot lets teachers create virtual classrooms for their students, who can then create drawings or other products on an online whiteboard that can be monitored by their teachers. I’m adding it to The Best Art Websites For Learning English and to The Best Sites That Students Can Use Independently And Let Teachers Check On Progress. Thanks to – who else? – Richard Byrne for the tip.

Animaps is a new tool for created an sequential series of points on a map — in another words, an animated video of a trip, a series of events & where they took place from literature or history, etc. It seems very easy to use. You can read more about it at Richard Byrne’s blog. I’m adding it to The Best Map-Making Sites On The Web.

Chisel is a simple way to create visually attractive quotations to share online.

eQuiz Show lets you easily create online Jeopardy-like games without requiring registration. There are already a number of similar tools on the list, but you can never have too many because who knows what School District content filters will block and what they will let through.

Thanks to Alison Rostetter, I learned about Teachers-Direct. They have two styles of games you can create without registering. One is called Quiz-Busters. The other is sort of interesting. I’m not a big fan of Word Searches, and view them as basically busy work. At this site, you can create a Word Search – with a twist. Instead of listing the words students have to find, you list sentences with a blank and the students have to come up with the word and find it. I wouldn’t spend any teacher time on creating one, but I could see having students use it to create ones for classmates to play now-and-then.

Ignite Teaching is a iPad app and web-based collaborative project tool for students. You can read more about it at Richard Byrne’s blog.

Inspirok is a web tool that lets you develop itineraries for a trip. I’m adding it to The Best Sites Where Students Can Plan Virtual Trips.

EdShelf looks like yet another place where educators can curate and discover useful online tools and sites.

Riddle looks like an exceptional site that you can use for creating a survey or a quiz.

 

GOOD

Hypothes.is is a neat-looking online tool to annotate webpages.

Russel Tarr unveiled yet another new feature at his ClassTools site that lets users create a “3D Gallery” with captions.

I have a lengthy list of free tools at The Best Tools For Creating Visually Attractive Quotations For Online Sharing. Here’s a new addition to that list: Live Luv Create .You can use many of their stock images or use your own, and then add text. The two negatives to the site are, one, even though it’s free, you do have to register with it. Most of the other tools on my list let you create quotes without requiring registration. The other problem is that though it provides an embed code when you first create your image, unless you grab it then there doesn’t appear to be any way to find it again.

Russel Tarr has yet another new online game called Dustbin. Students can very easily create a game — without registering — that requires players to categorize words. Categorization is a higher-ordering thinking skill, and I’m always on the look-out for interactives that have that requirement.

Here’s another new online game from Russel Tarr’s ClassTools site: It’s called Connect Fours and is based on a BBC game show that I’ve posted about previously in “Only Connect” Is A Great Game For The Classroom. As I wrote then, the concept of the game was great was for English Language Learners, but the online BBC game itself was too advanced for them. I had suggested, though, that it would be easy for students and teachers to create their own versions with paper and pencil, and I’ve done that numerous times in my classes. Thankfully, though, Russel has now created a super-easy version that teachers and students can use to make their own online without having to register. In the game, there are sixteen squares with words on each one. The player needs to use the words to create four categories of four words each. It’s a great game that helps develop the higher-order thinking skill of categorization.

I’ve previously posted several times about how much I love the Shadow Puppet app — there isn’t anything out there that’s an easier tool for creating a quick audio-narrated slideshow. It’s perfect for English Language Learners. The company behind Shadow Puppet has released another new and free educational app that looks like it could be very useful. It’s called Seesaw, and basically lets students easily create digital portfolios that can be shared with teachers and parents. It’s free for teachers and students, and has a free and paid version for parents.

Jukedeck lets you specify the kind of music you want and the length of track you need, and then it creates the music for you, which you can download for free. The entire process takes a minute or two. You still have to request early access to be able to use the service, but I received mine pretty quickly.I’m adding it to The Best Places To Get Royalty-Free Music & Sound Effects.

In June, I wrote about the welcome web version of Skype, which means you don’t have to download software in order to use it. It makes it a lot easier to use in schools where downloading software to school computers is often limited to a select few. A few months later, Skype announced another big improvement — now, when you start a Skype conversation, all you have to do is share a link to it and anyone can join even if they are not a registered Skype user. Click on the link, type in your name, and you’re in!

Zing! has thousands of free Ebooks that students can read, and it also lets them easily annotate them — without requiring any downloads. Most of the books don’t seem to have an audio option, but it still has a nice collection of those that do. Of course, books with audio narration are ideal for English Language Learners. Teachers can create virtual classrooms though the process is a little time-intensive. It would be nice if they didn’t require as much information on each students as they do in order for a teacher to add a student to their classroom. Even better, it would be great if they allowed students to just use a code given to them by their teacher so they can sign-up for themselves (other similar sites have that feature). But they are new, so I assume they’ll be making those kinds of changes over time. Their selection of books really stands-out right now, and their annotation process is easy-as-pie, so it’s really worth looking into it despite my minor complaints. I’m adding this site to The Best Sites That Students Can Use Independently And Let Teachers Check On Progress.

Richard Byrne wrote about a new tool called Actively Learn, and it really looks like a winner. Richard provides a pretty thorough explanation of the site, and I’d encourage you to go to his post to read about it. A quick summary is that it teachers can create virtual classrooms, students can read and annotate tons of materials the site already has (and teachers can upload their own, too – including webpages), and teachers can embed questions they want students to answer. And it’s free (you can pay for a premium service, but what it offers for free works for me). One other great feature of the site is that it has tons of videos clearly explaining how to use each of its features.I’m adding it to The Best Sites That Students Can Use Independently And Let Teachers Check On Progress and to Best Applications For Annotating Websites.

I was searching online to find simple tools for making online matching games (the ones that, for example, have questions on the left and mixed-up answers on the right) and was pleasantly surprised to find the SuperTeacherTools site. Not only does it let teacher and students create these kinds of matching games without having to register and very easily, it also has other game-making features. Here’s a quick one I did on a growth mindset. There were a few others, including Eduplay, but SuperTeacherTools was by far the best one.

 

EXCELLENT

Quizalize is a relatively new addition to The Best Ways To Create Online Tests. It’s very similar to Kahoot. My big critique of both Quizalize and Kahoot has been that neither have allowed students to see how they are faring against their classmates in answering the questions, which is an important component (used appropriately) in using them as games. That’s why I’ve featured an alternative called Quizizz on my The Best Websites For Creating Online Learning Games list over the first two. Quizizz lets students see their standing in the competition. Even though I don’t think it’s been a problem in my classes for low-scoring students to see their low-standings because of the super-strong culture we develop around student challenges being around learning the English language and not about intelligence, I can see that problem potentially being an issue in many content classes.

Quizalize recently announced a new feature that I think deals with that problem — now students are automatically grouped in teams and the teams compete against each other, plus students see how their teams are doing. This is how I typically organizing learning games in the classroom, and I think it’s simple, yet ingenious, that Quizalize figured out how to do it automatically online. I’m now adding both Quizizz and Quizalize to The “All-Time” Best Online Learning Games.

Edueto has got to be one of the best Web 2.0 sites of the year, and perhaps the most useful one for teachers and students. And it’s free. Teachers can create exercises in any of the forms listed in the above screenshot and assign them to a virtual class they create. Students can do the activity and teachers can track their progress. You can also access a library of exercises created by other teachers that you can assign “as is” to students or edit. The exercises are very easy to create, and each has a short instructional video (I have to say that I wish the videos didn’t move quite so fast, though). One of the particularly important features it has, unlike some quasi-similar automatic activity creators out there is that, for example, teachers can strategically place the blanks to be filled in the “gap-fill” exercise, instead of just having an algorithm choose them. I’ve added Edueto to my All-Time Best list.

Anyone who’s every listened to NPR is probably familiar with StoryCorps, and I’ve published several posts sharing their resources. They recently unveiled a new free mobile app at the TED Conference that allows anyone to record an interview with anyone and upload it their new site, StoryCorps.me. They have both iPhone and Android versions, and they’re great! The app provides multiple suggestions for questions, depending on who you are interviewing (you can also add your own). It’s a perfect tool for having students interview their parents, grandparents or other older family members (which also makes it easy to ensure students have parental consent — by the way, their policy states users must be over 13). It’s super-simple to use. Of course, classmates could also interview others, as long as teachers had parental permission. I’ve added this app to my All-Time Best list. Also, StoryCorps is inviting high school teachers and students to participate in the Great Listen this Thanksgiving.

Let me know what you think!

 

June 3, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo
3 Comments

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2015 – So Far

641974362285655_a-5e803ce3_0rNvVQ_pm

As regular readers know, it’s time for me to begin posting my mid-year “The Best….” lists. There are over 1,400 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.

* free-of-charge.

* 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 2015.

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.

You might also want to see my recent ASCD Educational Leadership article, Apps, Apps Everywhere: Are Any Good, You Think?

The Best Tools For Creating “Word Frequency Charts” For Books, Articles & Movies is a new Web 2.0-related “Best” list I published this year.

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2014

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2013

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

I don’t rank my mid-year lists, but do place them in order of preference in my end-of-year lists (though I did add three of them to my All-Time Best list – Quizizz, Edueto, and the StoryCorps app). 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-sixt  choices for The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2015- So Far (not ranked in any order):

I’ve written about Russel Tarr’s site ClassTools many times, including featuring it in a post titled This Is The Best Web 2.0 Site For ELLs & May Be The Best One For All Students. He recently released another tool to join the many he has already. It’s called the Breaking News Generator!. Students can create a screenshot of a newscast with a news crawler at the bottom. Like his other tools, it’s free and simple to use.

Quizizz, which is free, lets you access tons of previously-created learning “quizzes” and also lets you create your own. Once you as the teacher joins, which takes seconds, you pick a quiz; are given a code for a virtual room; then give the code to your students, who just log in with the code and a nickname (they don’t have to register with the site). When all your students are set, you click “start game.” You see the leader board as do the students as they’re progressing through the quiz. In a number of ways, it’s similar to Kahoot. However, the key advantage that Quizizz seems to have over Kahoot is that with Quizizz, students see the questions, answers, and their leaderboard on their devise. With Kahoot (and please correct me if I’m wrong), students’ devices only show the answers and they have to look at an overhead to see the questions. In antiquated computer labs like the ones at our school (and, I suspect, at many others), we don’t have the capability of projecting a screen for students to see it.  I’ve added Quizizz to my All-Time Best list.

Deekit is a new tool for collaboratively creating online whiteboards.It’s similar to other whiteboard tools on The Best Online Tools For Real-Time Collaboration list, though it does appear to have more bells and whistles. It’s free — at least, for now — and you can read more about it atTechCrunch.

Parapara Animation is a cool new Mozilla tool.  It’s a super-easy way to draw animations. You can read more about it at Richard Byrne’s blog.

Edueto has got to be one of the best Web 2.0 sites of the year, and perhaps the most useful one for teachers and students. And it’s free. Teachers can create exercises in any of the forms listed in the above screenshot and assign them to a virtual class they create. Students can do the activity and teachers can track their progress. You can also access a library of exercises created by other teachers that you can assign “as is” to students or edit. The exercises are very easy to create, and each has a short instructional video (I have to say that I wish the videos didn’t move quite so fast, though). One of the particularly important features it has, unlike some quasi-similar automatic activity creators out there is that, for example, teachers can strategically place the blanks to be filled in the “gap-fill” exercise, instead of just having an algorithm choose them. I’ve added Edueto to my All-Time Best list.

Hypothes.is is a neat-looking online tool to annotate webpages.

Imgur, the wildly-popular photo and GIF-sharing site, has now made it easy to embed the resources they have on blogs and websites, and the embed coded includes automatic attribution. You can read more about it at this TechCrunch post.

Classmint is like a super Flashcard site.

Render Forest is an online video-maker. You can learn more about it from The ASIDE Blog.

Meeting Words is online tool for creating documents collaboratively. You can read more about it at Richard Byrne’s blog.

Russel Tarr unveiled yet another new feature at his ClassTools site that lets users create a “3D Gallery” with captions.

Anyone who’s every listened to NPR is probably familiar with StoryCorps, and I’ve published several posts sharing their resources. They recently unveiled a new free mobile app at the TED Conference that allows anyone to record an interview with anyone and upload it their new site, StoryCorps.me. They have both iPhone and Android versions, and they’re great! The app provides multiple suggestions for questions, depending on who you are interviewing (you can also add your own). It’s a perfect tool for having students interview their parents, grandparents or other older family members (which also makes it easy to ensure students have parental consent — by the way, their policy states users must be over 13). It’s super-simple to use. Of course, classmates could also interview others, as long as teachers had parental permission. I’ve added this app to my All-Time Best list.

I have a lengthy list of free tools at The Best Tools For Creating Visually Attractive Quotations For Online Sharing. Here’s a new addition to that list: Live Luv Create .You can use many of their stock images or use your own, and then add text. The two negatives to the site are, one, even though it’s free, you do have to register with it. Most of the other tools on my list let you create quotes without requiring registration. The other problem is that though it provides an embed code when you first create your image, unless you grab it then there doesn’t appear to be any way to find it again.

Five Thirty Eight wrote an extensive article  about a new free Google Chrome Extension called Draftback. It allows you to see the entire writing process unfold for any Google Doc. In other words, every mistake, correction, revision, etc. — either in the “realtime” it took or in a “speeded-up” time. You can then easily embed the created “Draftback.” I’m not sure if it’s just a cool toy that people will use once to try it out, or a tool that could be very effective in teaching writing to students.

Firefox has unveiled “Hello,” a video-calling system that is built into its browser. No registration is necessary. All you have to do is easily “create a conversation,” name it, and send the url link to the person with whom you want to talk. You can also create a contact list. They can use other browsers, like Chrome, and still use the link to the video call. Unfortunately, it appears to me that you can’t have group video chatrooms — in other words, it appears that you can just have two computers using the url address.

Trello is another free tool that teachers and students can use to create online corkboards/bulletin boards (like Padlet and other sites on The Best Online Virtual “Corkboards” (or “Bulletin Boards”)list).

Prezi, the incredibly popular (though, to me, still rather discomforting to look at) presentation tool, has unveiled an iPhone app called Nutshell.

Presentate is a new tool for creating online presentations. It looks nice, but you have to register for its beta. I received my invitation fairly quickly. I’m not convinced the world needs yet another online presentation site, but I’ll still add it to The Best Ways To Create Online Slideshows.

Thematic is another tool for creating slideshows. I like it a little better than Presentate, and it’s now open to the public. You can learn more about it at Richard Byrne’s blog. I’m adding it to that same “Best” list.

Speaking of online slideshow tool, here are two more:

One is Bunkr. Last May they unveiled a “new” Bunkr, which was a big improvement. Recently, they supposedly unveiled a new Bunkr which has been completely redesigned. You can read a wayover-the-top review of it at TechCrunch. It is worth a look, though.

Sway is Microsoft’s new online slideshow tool.

Here’s another new online game from Russel Tarr’s ClassTools site: It’s called Connect Fours and is based on a BBC game show that I’ve posted about previously in “Only Connect” Is A Great Game For The Classroom. As I wrote then, the concept of the game was great was for English Language Learners, but the online BBC game itself was too advanced for them. I had suggested, though, that it would be easy for students and teachers to create their own versions with paper and pencil, and I’ve done that numerous times in my classes. Thankfully, though, Russel has now created a super-easy version that teachers and students can use to make their own online without having to register. In the game, there are sixteen squares with words on each one. The player needs to use the words to create four categories of four words each. It’s a great game that helps develop the higher-order thinking skill of categorization.

Russel Tarr has yet another new online game called Dustbin. Students can very easily create a game — without registering — that requires players to categorize words. Categorization is a higher-ordering thinking skill, and I’m always on the look-out for interactives that have that requirement.

I’ve previously posted several times about how much I love the Shadow Puppet app — there isn’t anything out there that’s an easier tool for creating a quick audio-narrated slideshow. It’s perfect for English Language Learners. Today, the company behind Shadow Puppet has just released another new and free educational app that looks like it could be very useful. It’s called Seesaw, and basically lets students easily create digital portfolios that can be shared with teachers and parents. It’s free for teachers and students, and has a free and paid version for parents.

There’s the the new Public Domain Project, which offers a growing number of tens of thousands of images and clips that can be used freely.

Hstry is a nice new online too for creating timelines. Richard Byrne wrote a post about it, and I’d suggest just you visit his blog to learn more. As he points out, one of the particularly nice features of this free tool is that teachers can create virtual classrooms for their students.

Let me know what you think!

December 2, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
3 Comments

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2014

133458222271603_a-4f8e6057_-D99VA_pm

As regular readers know, I’ve recently begun posting my end-of-the-year  “The Best….” lists. There are nearly 1,400 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.

* free-of-charge.

* appropriate for classroom use.

* completely browser-based with no download required (however, I’ve begun to make exceptions for special mobile apps).

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 2014.

You might want to visit previous editions, as well as The “All-Time” Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education and The “All-Time” Best Ways To Create Online Content Easily & Quickly:

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2013

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

Usually, I rank each Web 2.0 on this list from bottom-to-top. This year, though, I had a lot of difficulty with the ratings, so I’m doing it differently. Three sites stand above all others (“The Best Of The Best”), and are the only two this year that I’m adding to The “All-Time” Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education. You’ll find them at the bottom.

Just up from those three are nine others in the “Excellent” — they’re good, but not quite at the “all-time” level. They’re not ranked within those ten — I think they’re all equally useful.

The first sites I list are new ones that are good, but just not useful enough to make the “Excellent” category. I’m calling them “Very Good.” They also are not ranked within that category.

Here are my thirty-three choices for The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2014 (Feel free to let me know if you think I’m leaving any tools out):

The Very Good New Web 2.0 Applications For Education

* Zaption looks like a useful tool for creating interactive videos for students.

* Pixteller, is another tool that lets you easily create visually attractive quotations.

* Google has unveiled Google Classroom, which looks like a one-stop shop for teachers and students. It’s free, with no ads, and describes itself as providing the ability to

* Appear.in seems like a super-simple video conferencing site for up to eight people that doesn’t even require any registration.

* Booktrack Classroom has books in the public domain online to which they’ve added “soundtracks” — music, street sounds, etc. In addition, students can create their own soundtracks to books that they write. Even better, teachers can create virtual classrooms with assigned readings and/or to share their own creations. And, best of all, it’s free.  You can read many of the books without having to register, but must do so in order to create them. It’s very, very easy to create your own books — the site has lots of sounds and music you can add to the text. Oddly, though, it doesn’t seem to provide the option of recording your own narration or sound effects. With those features, it would make it particularly useful to English Language Learners and also make it a more engaging creative activity for everyone.

* Sketch Toy is a simple and useful online drawing tool.

* Flip Quiz is an easy site that lets you create an online Jeopardy-like game board that students can play.

* ExamTime is sort of a flashcard site on steroids that provides a number of other tools, too.

* Learning Pod looks like a nice place to create online quizzes.

* Function Carnival is a new site that lets you set-up virtual classes, have students watch videos, and then have them create graphs based on what they see. I don’t really understand it, but it looks cool, Dan Meyer helped create it (which means it has to be good), and you can read more about it here.

* ClassFlow is a new tool that was unveiled by Promethean in January.  It looks pretty interesting, though I’ve got to wonder what it’s cost structure is going to end up being. I suspect that Promethean isn’t going to make it entirely free forever, but maybe I’m just being cynical. It seems like a pretty easy tool for teachers to use to create multimedia presentations for the classroom and, apparently, provides a way for students to respond to teacher questions (I didn’t explore that feature). I also think it would a useful tool for students to use to create lessons that they would teach to their classmates.

* Biteslide looks like a fairly easy tool to create slideshow-like presentations.

* Gibbon lets you easily create what they call “flows,” which are basically lists of web resources with instructions written by the flow’s creator. I think Gibbon has ambitious plans but, for teachers, it’s an easy tool for teachers to create Internet scavenger hunts for students and for students to create them for their classmates.

* Bookopolis lets teachers create virtual classrooms — for free — where students can identify the book they’re reading (they just have to type in the title and the site automatically “finds” it) and write a review. There are a number of other features, too. It seems like a very useful site, though I’m less-than-thrilled with the extrinsic points and badges students can earn.

* I have a fairly popular The Best Tools For Creating Fake “Stuff” For Learning list. The fake “stuff” I’m referring to includes newspaper articles, sports “trading cards,” iPhone conversations, Facebook pages etc. These can be used for conversation practice, to create reports on historical figures (or on natural disasters or on just about anything) and for numerous other learning activities. Simitator is another one I’m adding to the list. It lets you create “fake” Facebook pages, Twitter threads and more. Unfortunately, though, you have to download your creation — it won’t let you link to it (most of the other tools on my Best list let you save them as Web pages.

* I’m always on the look-out for tools that allow students — and teachers — to create online personalized “newspapers” to read and to share. In other words, sites that let you create topics that then provide daily attractive webpages to read, along with sending you daily email updates. I keep updating The Best Sites For Creating Personalized “Newspapers” Online because my favorite ones keep on going out of business. The previous owners of The Washington Post have created an excellent new one called Trove.

* Heganoo looks like a very nice and easy online map-making site. After a quick registration (though I never received a confirmation email, but was still able to use the site without it) you can identify any location or locations on a map and make it a point-of-interest where you can add text, links and, most importantly as far as I’m concerned, an image by just pasting its url address. That ability to add an image via web address is a bit unusual for map-making sites.I’m adding it to The Best Map-Making Sites On The Web.

* Comment Bubble lets you have a virtual discussion via comments on any video.

* One my most popular posts is about a tool called News Jack (see Easily Make Your Own Unique (& Fake) CNN, NY Times, Etc. Website With “News Jack”). Reader Uday Ogra tells me about a new similar site called Create News.Sites like these are engaging tools for students to write about historical and literary events, though I still wonder how they fit in with copyright laws….

* I’m a big fan of having students both read and write Choose Their Own Adventure stories (see The Best Places To Read & Write “Choose Your Own Adventure” Stories).One big problem I’ve found, though, is that there hasn’t really been a super-easy way for students to create their own. Thanks to reader “Grubie,” though, I think I might have found one. It’s called Rootbook. The site has lots of choose your own adventure stories you can read without registering or signing-in. In addition, if you register (which takes seconds), you’re also given the ability to create your own. And it seems to be pretty easy to do so — the only trick I found was that you have to make sure to upload a photo cover page first to your story or else it won’t let you continue.

* Liberio is a new tool that says it will let you turn any Google Drive document into an eBook. It also says it lets you upload and use a document from your computer.

The Excellent New Web 2.0 Applications For Education

* I’m always looking for great tools that students can use, especially my IB Theory of Knowledge students, to save links to articles and websites when they’re doing research. In addition, it’s a bonus when I can find one that’s especially accessible to English Language Learners — those stand-out by have the ability to show images of sites and not just text links. Start.me is a new one of these “home-page” creators that looks like it fits both those bills. It’s free, doesn’t require any kind of browser bookmarklet to use (in other words, you can just copy and paste url addresses). One of its features that I really like is that it seems to have the ability to let you embed any webpage just by pasting its url address.

* My Storybook lets students easily create simple virtual books with text and images/characters you can insert with a click. You can also draw your own.

* PixiClip is a neat drawing tool. It lets you make a drawing and record either audio-only or a video to go along with it. It also lets you upload an image from the web and “mark it up,”

* Curriculet lets teachers assign what appears to be books in the public domain (though I might be wrong on that) and embed quizzes and questions into them.

* TUZZit is a free online graphic organizer tool that provides lots of different options of organizers (you can also create your own); lets you paste online images videos, virtual post-it notes and more onto them; and then you can share your creation with online collaborators. In some ways it seems like an Exploratree on steriods (that site is on Not “The Best,” But “A List” Of Mindmapping, Flow Chart Tools, & Graphic Organizers list). In other ways, it reminds me of tools on The Best Online Virtual “Corkboards” (or “Bulletin Boards”) list.

* There are lots of sites out there that let you create virtual “corkboards” and you can see them at The Best Online Virtual “Corkboards” (or “Bulletin Boards”). Padlet (formerly known as Wallwisher) is probably the most well-known tool of this kind. Richard Byrne  shared about a new site that might end up being the best of the bunch. It’s called Stoodle.

* Canva is a new tool for creating infographics.

* slidebean is a new free tool for creating online slideshows. It provides multiple formats and the ability to search the Web, within the application, for images. I’ve added it to The Best Ways To Create Online Slideshows.

* Stupeflix, which is on Not The “Best,” But A List… Of Online Video Editors list, has launched a free iPhone app called Replay that — at least to me — looks very, very Animoto-like. It lets you easily turn your photos into music videos.  I’m assuming there are lots of differences between the two, but I could only find two in my admittedly quick try-out of Replay, and both came out in Replay’s favor: one, the process appeared a lot faster than in Animoto’s app and, two, Replay appears to provide a number of features that Animoto requires you to pay (admittedly, not a lot) for…

The Best Of The Best New Web 2.0 Applications For Education

* 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.

* 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.

* 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.

 

I’m looking forward to hearing readers’ reactions to this list!

June 5, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
5 Comments

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2014 – So Far

449286666247046_a-287a3a82_RT6RUw_pm

It’s that time of year again when I start posting mid-year “The Best….” lists. There are over 1,300 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.

* 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 2013, but, if so, I’m including them in this list because they were “new to me” in 2014.

You might want to visit previous editions, as well as The “All-Time” Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education:

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2013

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 useful)

I don’t rank my mid-year lists, but do place them in order of preference in my end-of-year lists.

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

Here are my twenty-two choices for The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2014 (so Far) — not ranked in any order:

slidebean is a new free tool for creating online slideshows. It provides multiple formats and the ability to search the Web, within the application, for images. I’ve added it to The Best Ways To Create Online Slideshows.

Zaption looks like a useful tool for creating interactive videos for students.

Reader Irina let me know about Pixteller, another tool that lets you easily create visually attractive quotations.

Google has unveiled Google Classroom, which looks like a one-stop shop for teachers and students. It’s free, with no ads, and describes itself as providing the ability to. It’s invite-only for now, but is supposed to be available to anyone by September.

TUZZit is a free online graphic organizer tool that provides lots of different options of organizers (you can also create your own); lets you paste online images videos, virtual post-it notes and more onto them; and then you can share your creation with online collaborators. In some ways it seems like an Exploratree on steriods (that site is on Not “The Best,” But “A List” Of Mindmapping, Flow Chart Tools, & Graphic Organizers list). In other ways, it reminds me of tools on The Best Online Virtual “Corkboards” (or “Bulletin Boards”) list.

Appear.in seems like a super-simple video conferencing site for up to eight people that doesn’t even require any registration.

Booktrack Classroom has books in the public domain online to which they’ve added “soundtracks” — music, street sounds, etc. In addition, students can create their own soundtracks to books that they write. Even better, teachers can create virtual classrooms with assigned readings and/or to share their own creations. And, best of all, it’s free.  You can read many of the books without having to register, but must do so in order to create them. It’s very, very easy to create your own books — the site has lots of sounds and music you can add to the text. Oddly, though, it doesn’t seem to provide the option of recording your own narration or sound effects. With those features, it would make it particularly useful to English Language Learners and also make it a more engaging creative activity for everyone.

Sketch Toy is a simple and useful online drawing tool.

Tapestry is both an online tool and an app that has multiple storymaking tools. You can read more about it at TechCrunch.

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.

Flip Quiz is an easy site that lets you create an online Jeopardy-like game board that students can play.

ExamTime is sort of a flashcard site on steroids that provides a number of other tools, too.

Learning Pod looks like a nice place to create online quizzes.

Curriculet lets teachers assign what appears to be books in the public domain (though I might be wrong on that) and embed quizzes and questions into them.

Function Carnival is a new site that lets you set-up virtual classes, have students watch videos, and then have them create graphs based on what they see. I don’t really understand it, but it looks cool, Dan Meyer helped create it (which means it has to be good), and you can read more about it here.

ClassFlow is a new tool that was unveiled by Promethean in January.  It looks pretty interesting, though I’ve got to wonder what it’s cost structure is going to end up being. I suspect that Promethean isn’t going to make it entirely free forever, but maybe I’m just being cynical. It seems like a pretty easy tool for teachers to use to create multimedia presentations for the classroom and, apparently, provides a way for students to respond to teacher questions (I didn’t explore that feature). I also think it would a useful tool for students to use to create lessons that they would teach to their classmates.

Biteslide looks like a fairly easy tool to create slideshow-like presentations.

Gibbon lets you easily create what they call “flows,” which are basically lists of web resources with instructions written by the flow’s creator. I think Gibbon has ambitious plans but, for teachers, it’s an easy tool for teachers to create Internet scavenger hunts for students and for students to create them for their classmates.

Stupeflix, which is on Not The “Best,” But A List… Of Online Video Editors list, has launched a free iPhone app called Replay that — at least to me — looks very, very Animoto-like. It lets you easily turn your photos into music videos.  I’m assuming there are lots of differences between the two, but I could only find two in my admittedly quick try-out of Replay, and both came out in Replay’s favor: one, the process appeared a lot faster than in Animoto’s app and, two, Replay appears to provide a number of features that Animoto requires you to pay (admittedly, not a lot) for…

There are lots of sites out there that let you create virtual “corkboards” and you can see them at The Best Online Virtual “Corkboards” (or “Bulletin Boards”). Padlet (formerly known as Wallwisher) is probably the most well-known tool of this kind. Richard Byrne  shared about a new site that might end up being the best of the bunch. It’s called Stoodle.

Canva is a new tool for creating infographics.

PixiClip is a neat drawing tool. It lets you make a drawing and record either audio-only or a video to go along with it. It also lets you upload an image from the web and “mark it up,” but I think there are plenty of other web tools that let you do that easily enough — and let you grab images off the web with photo url addresses (PixiClip just lets you upload one from your computer) — so I don’t think that feature particularly stands out (you can see those other tools at The Best Online Tools For Using Photos In Lessons).

Feedback is welcome.

If you found this post useful, you might want to look at the 1,300 other “The Best…” lists and consider subscribing to this blog for free.

December 7, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2013

194734390966308_a-360d7575_y4OjUg_pm

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!

June 16, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
9 Comments

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2013 – So Far

847021462363853_a-79164ac7_wWC-UQ_pm

It’s that time of year again when I start posting mid-year “The Best….” lists. There are over 1,100 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.

* 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 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)

I don’t rank my mid-year lists, but do place them in order of preference in my end-of-year lists.

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

Here are my  thirty-two choices for The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2013 — not ranked in any order:

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.

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.

Populr.me is an easy tool for creating websites.

Soo Meta lets you combine segments of videos, text, tweets and images into one presentation. One nice feature is that you can easily grab those items off the Web through a simple search option (though, for me, the image search wasn’t working).

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.

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.”

121Writing site is fairly useful. Students log-on to your class site, copy and paste their assignment onto it, and teachers can provide audio feedback on it. It could save a teacher time, and provide a way to give more detailed feedback to students who need it, and can “take” it.  I learned about it from Richard Byrne’s blog, and I’d encourage you to visit his post to read more about it. His post focuses on schools using Google Drive. However, you can use it even without using Google Drive by registering at the site here.

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.

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.

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

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.

Imgembed is a “crowdsourced” collection of what’s now up to one million images that are free to use as long as you credit the photographer (it automatically appears with the embed code). You can also pay if you don’t want to have a header with an attribution. And you can contribute your own photos, too.

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Quizpoo lets you create, without requiring registration, “this or that” quizzes. I had never actually heard of that “genre” of tests before, but you can see plenty of examples on their site. I could see students having a lot of fun making these kinds of tests. For example, as we study Latin America in my ELL Geography class, they could make one on “Mexico or Brazil” with the first “question” being “Brasilia” and the answer choices being “Mexico” or “Brazil.” The following “questions” could include “Pele” and “Baja California.” Students in my English class could make grammar ones like “Plural or Singular,” etc.

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.

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.

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.

Make It Share It is new, and it seems to me that there isn’t an easier site out there to make simple animations. And it provides an embed code for your creation!

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.

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

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.

Feedback is welcome.

If you found this post useful, you might want to look at the 1,100 other “The Best…” lists and consider subscribing to this blog for free.

December 11, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2012

It’s that time of year again when I start posting year-end “The Best….” lists. There are over one thousand 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.

* 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 2011, but, if so, I’m including them in this list because they were “new to me” in 2012.

You might want to visit previous editions:

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)

Here are my ranked choices for The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2012:

Number Twenty-Nine

Infinite.ly is a pretty darn easy way to create a free website. Be sure to click “Get a Free Account now …” on their homepage.

Number Twenty-Eight

Striking.ly is a very easy tool for creating a website. I particularly like the fact that you can grab images off the Web to insert in them.

Number Twenty-Seven

Kwiqpoll lets you easily create a poll — and no registration is required. You’re give the poll’s url address, but it’s not embeddable. It has no frills, but it’s easy as pie.

Number Twenty-Six

In Focus lets you, without any registration required, literally “highlight” a section of any webpage and provides a unique url address linking to it.

Number Twenty-Five

The free web tool Inklewriter is, without a doubt, the easiest way to write a choose your own adventure story. You can read more about it at Gamasutra, New, free tools allow any novice to make an accessible text adventure.

Number Twenty-Four

Pandamian is a super-simple — and free — tool to create an ebook. Sign-up takes a few seconds, and you’re given your own url address for all your future books. Click on “create a new book” and you’re off! You can easily copy and paste images, and readers can leave moderated comments. They can also subscribe to an RSS feed if they want to be updated on newer chapters and it can be embedded.

Number Twenty-Three

Quicklinkr lets you very easily collect websites, images, videos, etc — without requiring registration. They are shown with screenshots, and you can put them into “folders.” It appears you have to register if you want to come back to edit it, or to leave a comment about one of the saved links (registration is quick and easy). Unfortunately, that comment feature appears the only way you can add a text description to any link you save. There might be another way, but I didn’t see it.

Number Twenty-Two

Edcanvas is a nifty tool that lets you very easily add videos, images, website snapshots and files to create a grid canvass for students to access (teachers can also create virtual classes so that students could create their own). You can also type text on top of what you drag into the grid boxes — for example, instructions. A particularly nifty feature is that it provides a search box so you can search for videos, images and websites right from within the application. It has multiple uses, but I think it’s especially good for creating Internet Scavenger Hunts and Web Quests.

Number Twenty-One

Kl1P lets you create a webpage without any registration required. You can paste text or images into it, and is a great way to publish student work — you get a custom url address for your page and can paste that on a student/teacher blog.

Number Twenty

Check This is the latest in a long line of tools that let you create webpages quickly, without registering, and that let you also paste images into them.

Number Nineteen

Loose Leaves lets you write or paste images and automatically creates a webpage. You’re given two url addresses — one where you can edit it again and a second where others can view it. No registration is necessary.

Number Eighteen

QikPad is a nice online collaborative writing tool that has an embedding feature.

Number Seventeen

BeeClip.Edu lets you set-up a virtual classroom where students can create a “scrapbook” or other products using a very simple “drag-and-drop” interface. Text can also be added. One teacher with up to thirty students is free, but you have to pay if you want to add more.

Number Sixteen

ikiMap lets you easily create maps and, what I particularly like, is you can insert images off the web just by using their url addresses.

Number Fifteen

Slide.ly looks good and is very similar to Animoto. You can search for photos online or use your own, and easily combine them with music to create musical video-like slideshows.

Number Fourteen

Google announced a new tool called “Story Builder.”  Without having to register, you can create a “dialogue” of sorts, add music, and end up with a link to a video-like presentation that you can share.  We were studying natural disasters in our ninth-grade English class, and students had a blast creating dialogues between people experiencing a disaster of their choice.

Number Thirteen

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.

Number Twelve

Hello Slide lets you upload a PDF of your PowerPoint. You can then type in the narration and it will use a text-to-speech feature to provide audio to your slideshow.

Number Eleven

Themeefy lets you grab pretty much anything you want off the Web, and add your own materials, to create a personalized magazine that can be shared/embedded wherever you want. It looks pretty neat and simple.

Number Ten

Skqueak is a new free iPhone app I like a lot that lets you easily provide audio for photos. There are several other apps on various other “The Best…” lists,   However, I suspect that Skqueak is going to give them a run for their money. It’s very simple to use, it appears to have a very extended recording time (though I’m not sure what the time limit is exactly) and, most importantly, it makes it extremely easy to create sort of a seamless audio slideshow. None of the other similar apps have such an ability, or at least one that is as easy to use.

Number Nine

Though I’ve used clozes (fill-in-the-blank/gap-fill) for several years, this is the first time a free and easy-to-use site like LearnClick has been available (there have been other cloze-creation sites, but none that I thought were student-friendly). LearnClick makes it super-simple and free to create and post interactive clozes online so students from different classes — in fact, students anywhere — can try completing them. And they’re much more enjoyable to create, too!

Number Eight

Urlist is now my favorite tool for creating Internet Scavenger Hunts. You register, copy and paste the sites you want, easily leave comments/instructions/questions for each site (which students can see by clicking “expand,” share the link, and you’ve got your hunt. You can also “play” the sites like a slideshow, but that’s not necessary for scavenger hunt purposes.

Number Seven

Mural.ly lets you drag and drop images and links (and the links appear as thumbnail images on the screen);it lets you write on it or add speech bubbles — it’s basically a super-duper-duper Wallwisher.

Number Six

Infogr.am looks like a pretty easy tool for creating infographics that can be linked to or embedded. The selection of templates is pretty limited, but the site is still in beta. The main problem with the site is that you can only log-in using a social media site like Facebook or Twitter. That makes it usable for teachers, but, since those sites are blocked in most schools for students, they would not be able to create their own. (UPDATE: It appears that you can now register just using an email address)

Number Five

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.

Number Four

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’s recently announced for educators and students that you can now annotate fifty images free, and the cost for far more is next-to-nothing.

Number Three

Szoter doesn’t require registration, you can upload or grab images off the web (just insert its url address), and the final product looks just like an image would look like using the Picture Word Inductive Model.

Number Two

MarQueed is like a Thinglink  on steroids and allows collaborative annotation.  You can read more about it here.

Number One

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, but have to remember to copy and paste the image’s url address in the YouTube field.  Just check it out!

Feedback is welcome.

If you found this post useful, you might want to look at the 1000 other “The Best…” lists and consider subscribing to this blog for free.

Skip to toolbar