Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

November 8, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2015

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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

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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!

October 14, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

The 50 Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2017

As regular readers know, I’ve begun posting my end-of-year “The Best….” lists. There are over 1,700 regularly updated lists now.  You can see them all here. You might also want to check out All Mid-Year 2017 “Best” Lists In One Place.

As usual, in order to make this list, a site had to be:

* accessible to English Language Learners and non-tech savvy users.

* 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 2017.

You might want to visit previous editions, as well as The “All-Time” Best Web 2.0 Applications For EducationThe “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 2016

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

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

Instead of ranking each of the tools on this list in order, I have them organized into three general groups: Useful, Good, and Excellent. The “Excellent” tools are added to the “All-Time” list mentioned previously.

Here are my fifty choices for The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2017:

USEFUL

Get Acquainted is a very intriguing online survey tool that creates “conversational polls.” I’d encourage you to read Richard Byrne’s post and watch his video about it. I’m adding it to The Best Sites For Creating Online Polls & Surveys.

Bamboozle lets you create games your class can play by projecting them on a screen.  They seem easy to create, though I it doesn’t yet have that large of a collection of ones that other teachers have created.  You might also be interested in The Best Websites For Creating Online Learning Games.

Stitcht lets many people upload videos from a similar event to one place and puts them all together.  I’m adding it to The Best Web Applications That Lets Multiple People Upload Their Photos To One Place.

Shabaam lets you record audio to accompany a huge selection of GIFs. It could be a good tool for ELL speaking practice. I’m adding it to The Best Sites To Practice Speaking English.

Queeky is a free online drawing tool. I particularly like their MultiDraw feature, which lets you create private virtual rooms where users can collaborate in drawing. I’m adding it to The Best Art Websites For Learning English and to The Best Online Tools For Real-Time Collaboration.

Taleship is a new simple site designed to promote “slow” collaborative writing.  You write something, and then you invite a new person to continue the story. I’m adding it to The Best Sites For Collaborative Storytelling.

Time.Graphics looks like an easy (and free) online tool for creating timelines. It takes seconds to register, and it has a sophisticated, yet simple, interface, and you can easily add multi-media features. I’m adding it to The Best Tools For Making Online Timelines.

SlideBot lets you type the text you want to appear in each slide and then uses its software to design your slideshow in seconds. It’s pretty neat, and they’ve just unveiled a free education version. Unfortunately, if you want to be able to export it or use it in full-screen mode, it will cost $15. Those restrictions might make its use in education somewhat limited. However, I could also see some pretty major advantages, including eliminating the extensive time that some students spend on slide design. In addition, having students use SlideBot even a few times could be a good learning experience about good design of slides – its software appears pretty powerful based on my testing it out. I’m going to purchase the $15 dollar license for myself because it seems to create slideshows that are a hell of a lot better looking than the ones I create manually. In many ways, it’s a non-animated version of “My Simple Slideshow,” which automatically creates animations from text (see Wow – “My Simple Show” Is An Extraordinary Tool For Creating Free Video “Explainers”). I’m adding this info to The Best Ways To Create Online Slideshows.

Verse lets you create interactive videos. I’m adding it to A Potpourri Of The Best & Most Useful Video Sites.

Story Friend is a new iPhone app that may have potential.  It lets you create slideshows (like a zillion other apps).  However, this one lets you include content from other social media accounts, too – sort of a like a mobile Storify tool.

Dotstorming is an online collaborative tool that allows groups to work together and vote on preferences. It’s like a bunch of other similar tools, though this one stands out because it lets you easily search for and post images.  I’m adding it to The Best Online Tools For Real-Time Collaboration.

PortfolioGen lets students easily create online portfolios of their work.  I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Developing Student Portfolios.

Anchor is an easy tool for creating podcasts.  You can read more about it at Richard Byrne’s blog.  I’m adding it to The Best Sites To Practice Speaking English.

QuizPedia lets you – or students – easily create…quizzes. You can learn more about it from Ed Tech For Beginners. I’m adding it to The Best Ways To Create Online Tests.

Author Path is a free tool to help university students write theses or journal articles. I had my daughter check it out (she just completed her Masters Thesis), and she says it would have been very helpful to her.

Sketchboard is an online whiteboard where users can draw collaboratively. I’m adding it to The Best Online Tools For Real-Time Collaboration.

Chart Accent lets you create charts and then annotate them. Thanks to Flowing Data for the tip.

Pinup is the latest addition to The Best Online Virtual “Corkboards” (or “Bulletin Boards”).

I’ve written some past posts about the work of Philip Tetlock (Quote Of The Day: “beliefs are hypotheses to be tested…” and The Best Resources On The Importance Of Knowing What You Don’t Know).  He’s particularly known for his work in developing a science of “forecasting.” He recently unveiled a site called Good Judgment where users can forecast an answer to a question and, when and if the action takes place, is “scored” on their forecasting ability.  Users make a prediction, then share their reasoning, and you can link directly to individual’s forecasts. This seems to me to be an excellent way for students to write for an authentic audience, which is why I’m adding it to The Best Places Where Students Can Write For An “Authentic Audience”

Recap is a new tool designed to have students create short videos highlighting their reflections on the learning they’re doing in the classroom. I’m adding it to A Potpourri Of The Best & Most Useful Video Sites.

StepMap looks like a decent map-making site. I’m adding it to The Best Map-Making Sites On The Web.

Animaker looks like a pretty simple tool for creating online animations. It has lots of premium features, but you can make five for free. I’m adding it to The Best Ways For Students To Create Online Animations.

Telegra.ph lets your create a webpage without having to register.  You can read more about it at Richard Byrne’s blog.  It’s similar to a number of other sites, including Loose LeavesJust Paste It, and Instablogg.

Web Whiteboard is a nice online collaborative..whiteboard. You can read more details at Richard Byrne’s blog. I’m adding it to The Best Online Tools For Real-Time Collaboration.

Quizlet, the amazing site that’s already on The Best Tools To Make Online Flashcards, has just unveiled the ability for users to create and study “interactive diagrams.” Basically, these are annotated images that can be used for study that also include audio. They are easy to make, and English Language Learners could use them to label images. There are quite a few other tools that let you do this (see The Best Online Tools For Using Photos In Lessons ).  However, none of the others include the features of being able to record audio and use them as a studying tool.  Students could create them as “games” that their classmates can “play.”

Flipanim lets users easily create short animations. I’m adding it to The Best Ways For Students To Create Online Animations.

The Keep Calm-O-Matic is another site that lets you create visually engaging quotations to share online. I’m adding it to The Best Tools For Creating Visually Attractive Quotations For Online Sharing.

Mozilla sponsors its own free, online collaborative whiteboard space. I’m adding it to The Best Online Tools For Real-Time Collaboration.

I Heart Venn Diagrams lets you make…Venn Diagrams. I’m adding it to Not “The Best,” But “A List” Of Mindmapping, Flow Chart Tools, & Graphic Organizers.

You can easily create simple email newsletters with elink.  I’m adding it to The Best Applications For Creating Free Email Newsletters.

Raw Shorts lets you easily create…short videos. I’m adding it to A Potpourri Of The Best & Most Useful Video Sites and The Best Resources For Creating Infographics.

Word Wanderer is an intriguing tool that reminds me of a word cloud creator. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About “Word Clouds.”

DataBasic “is a suite of easy-to-use web tools for beginners that introduce concepts of working with data. These simple tools make it easy to work with data in fun ways, so you can learn how to find great stories to tell.”

Muro is a simple online drawing tool.  I’m adding it to The Best Art Websites For Learning English.

Culture Street lets you make and save comic strips online. I’m adding it to The Best Ways To Make Comic Strips Online.

Edji lets you upload any text and have readers annotate it with comments. You can make all the comments public to readers, or keep them private. Thanks to Shelly Terrell for the tip.  Even though it only works with text and not websites, I’m still adding it to The Best Applications For Annotating Websites.

Prism also lets you just annotate text to upload, but in a very dynamic way.

Add Text lets you easily…add quotations on top of photos. I’m adding it to The Best Tools For Creating Visually Attractive Quotations For Online Sharing.

You can quickly and easily create online bar charts with Chartico.  I’m adding it to The Best Tools To Make Simple Graphs Online.  By the way, I just updated and revised that list.

Tolks is a great tool that lets you create animated dialogues. In many ways, it’s similar to the Google Docs Story Builder, which I was disappointed to see appears to have been shut down.  The main problem with Tolks is that you can only use it if you register with Twitter or Facebook, which isn’t going to work with students in schools with Internet content filters.

Slatebox appears to have a lot of bells and whistles.  However, the feature I like most is its ability to easily search, label, describe and connect photos.  That capability makes it a great tool for students to create picture data sets.  Plus, no registration is required.  I’m adding it to The Best Online Virtual “Corkboards” (or “Bulletin Boards”).  Thanks to Donna Baumbach for the tip.

 

GOOD 

Quiznetic is a Kahoot-like tool that lets you create learning games in various racing forms. Students can then “race” each other in answering the questions and see their positions. It appears to be free, and seems simple to use.

Google unveiled AutoDraw, a free site that uses artificial intelligence that provides a series of guesses about what you are drawing. You can choose the right “guess” to pretty-up your artistic creation, write up some description, and then download it or share the link.  This is perfect for English Language Learners – instead of spending tons of time getting their drawing “just right,” they can, instead, have fun drawing quickly and spend more time on the language part of the exercise. And it’s great for ESL teachers, too – no more working hard trying to draw images of scenes for vocabulary items to support language acquisition. Now just draw a few lines, project it onto the screen, and you’ll be able to show a masterpiece. I’m adding this info to The Best Art Websites For Learning English.

Apple released a neat new free app called Clips. You can read a very good – and detailed – explanation of its features at TechCrunch. It’s billed as a video-editing tool, and it seems like an excellent and simple one. I’m always on the look-out for one of those since I have my IB Theory of Knowledge students periodically make videos, so Clips definitely gets added to the Not The “Best,” But A List… Of Online Video Editors list. But it’s much more than just a video-editor.  It has the “stop-action” ability of Instagram video (press to video, stop, press again), it provides flowing text you want to display by recognizing the words you say (a particularly useful tool for English Language Learners) and, even though it’s an Apple product, it’s easy to share videos to whatever platform you want to use. So, because of those features and others, I’m also adding it to The Best Resources For Learning To Use The Video Apps “Vine” & Instagram.

StoryShares lets teachers create virtual classrooms for free and offers a collection of books that students can read. Even better, there’s an option that provides audio of the text in a pleasing-to-the-ear-voice. The best part of the site, though, is that students can also write and publish their own books to share. I’m adding it to The Best Sites Where Students Can Work Independently & Let Teachers Check On Progress.

Google Sites opened its new version to the public for creating websites.You can read all about it at TechCrunch. I’m adding it to The Best Ways For Students Or Teachers To Create A Website.

Adobe Spark has been my “go-to” tool for English Language Learners to write and display online their written work. Their videos, accompanied by music, are very engaging. However, it might have competition now that I learned about Commaful from Nik Peachey. Commaful lets you simply and easily create online slideshows of your writing, with the text accompanied by easily search-for and selected photos, videos or GIFs. Then, you can link to or embed your creation. It doesn’t have music, unlike Adobe Spark, and the photo selection does not appear to be as robust. However, Commaful does have one huge advantage over Adobe Spark – you can create your stories without registering or logging-in. That is indeed a huge advantage, as any teacher will tell you. Of course, another disadvantage is it’s unclear what kind of standards are maintained for Commaful’s content. I didn’t see anything inappropriate in a quick search, but who knows? I’m adding this to The Best Places Where Students Can Write Online,

Annotator Tool is an easy and accessible feature from the Maryland Public Television’s Thinkport. All a teacher has to do is create a name for the project and a password, copy and paste any text, provide instructions for annotation and – voila – you’re done. Students then go to the Annotator Tool site, type in the name of the project, register, and do all the required annotations. The next time the teacher sings-in, he/she will see all the student submissions and comment on them, which students can access. It really can’t get more simple. The only question I have is wondering how long bot the teacher and student work is saved on the site. I’m adding it to The Best Applications For Annotating Websites.

The Book Creator app has been enormously popular in the classroom where students have iPads – it’s super easy for students to create…books and that’s why it’s been on the The Best Resources For Beginning iPad Users list. It has now come to the Web when using the Chrome browser!I’m adding this info to: The Best Sites That Students Can Use Independently And Let Teachers Check On Progress and  The Best Places Where Students Can Write Online.

EXCELLENT

Unfortunately, this was the first year that no new Web 2.0 application made it into this category.

May 13, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

The Twenty-Five Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2017 – So Far

As regular readers know, it’s time for me to begin posting my mid-year “The Best….” lists. There are over 1,700 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 2017.

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 Fifty Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2016

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-five choices for The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2017- So Far (not ranked in any order):

Publishthis.email lets you create a website via email.  You can read more about it at Richard Byrne’s site.  I’m adding it to A Few Simple Ways To Introduce Reluctant Colleagues To Technology.

Quiznetic is a Kahoot-like tool that lets you create learning games in various racing forms. Students can then “race” each other in answering the questions and see their positions. It appears to be free, and seems simple to use.

Google unveiled AutoDraw, a free site that uses artificial intelligence that provides a series of guesses about what you are drawing. You can choose the right “guess” to pretty-up your artistic creation, write up some description, and then download it or share the link. The image above is an example. This is perfect for English Language Learners – instead of spending tons of time getting their drawing “just right,” they can, instead, have fun drawing quickly and spend more time on the language part of the exercise. And it’s great for ESL teachers, too – no more working hard trying to draw images of scenes for vocabulary items to support language acquisition. Now just draw a few lines, project it onto the screen, and you’ll be able to show a masterpiece. I’m adding this info to The Best Art Websites For Learning English.

Apple released a neat new free app called Clips. You can read a very good – and detailed – explanation of its features at TechCrunch. It’s billed as a video-editing tool, and it seems like an excellent and simple one. I’m always on the look-out for one of those since I have my IB Theory of Knowledge students periodically make videos, so Clips definitely gets added to the Not The “Best,” But A List… Of Online Video Editors list. But it’s much more than just a video-editor.  It has the “stop-action” ability of Instagram video (press to video, stop, press again), it provides flowing text you want to display by recognizing the words you say (a particularly useful tool for English Language Learners) and, even though it’s an Apple product, it’s easy to share videos to whatever platform you want to use. So, because of those features and others, I’m also adding it to The Best Resources For Learning To Use The Video Apps “Vine” & Instagram.

Erasures lets you create a version of “Blackout Poetry” online. You can learn more about Blackout Poetry here.

Loopy lets you create interactive simulations – just by drawing. This is how they describe themselves:

It’s the ancient, time-honored way of learning: messing around and seeing what happens. Play with simulations to ask “what if” questions, and get an intuition for how the system works!

Raw code is too inaccessible. Also drag-and-drop is too mainstream. But with LOOPY, you can model systems by simply drawing circles & arrows, like a wee baby

I don’t quite get it, but my post about it was quite popular, so apparently a lot of readers do….

StoryShares lets teachers create virtual classrooms for free and offers a collection of books that students can read. Even better, there’s an option that provides audio of the text in a pleasing-to-the-ear-voice. The best part of the site, though, is that students can also write and publish their own books to share. I’m adding it to The Best Sites Where Students Can Work Independently & Let Teachers Check On Progress.

SlideBot lets you type the text you want to appear in each slide and then uses its software to design your slideshow in seconds. It’s pretty neat, and they’ve just unveiled a free education version. Unfortunately, if you want to be able to export it or use it in full-screen mode, it will cost $15. Those restrictions might make its use in education somewhat limited. However, I could also see some pretty major advantages, including eliminating the extensive time that some students spend on slide design. In addition, having students use SlideBot even a few times could be a good learning experience about good design of slides – its software appears pretty powerful based on my testing it out. I’m going to purchase the $15 dollar license for myself because it seems to create slideshows that are a hell of a lot better looking than the ones I create manually. In many ways, it’s a non-animated version of “My Simple Slideshow,” which automatically creates animations from text (see Wow – “My Simple Show” Is An Extraordinary Tool For Creating Free Video “Explainers”). I’m adding this info to The Best Ways To Create Online Slideshows.

Verse lets you create interactive videos. I’m adding it to A Potpourri Of The Best & Most Useful Video Sites.

Story Friend is a new iPhone app that may have potential.  It lets you create slideshows (like a zillion other apps).  However, this one lets you include content from other social media accounts, too – sort of a like a mobile Storify tool.

Dotstorming is an online collaborative tool that allows groups to work together and vote on preferences. It’s like a bunch of other similar tools, though this one stands out because it lets you easily search for and post images.  I’m adding it to The Best Online Tools For Real-Time Collaboration.

PortfolioGen lets students easily create online portfolios of their work.  I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Developing Student Portfolios.

Anchor is an easy tool for creating podcasts.  You can read more about it at Richard Byrne’s blog.  I’m adding it to The Best Sites To Practice Speaking English.

QuizPedia lets you – or students – easily create…quizzes. You can learn more about it from Ed Tech For Beginners. I’m adding it to The Best Ways To Create Online Tests.

Sketchboard is an online whiteboard where users can draw collaboratively. I’m adding it to The Best Online Tools For Real-Time Collaboration.

Chart Accent lets you create charts and then annotate them. Thanks to Flowing Data for the tip.

Pinup is the latest addition to The Best Online Virtual “Corkboards” (or “Bulletin Boards”).

Qzzr looks like a fun place for students to create online quizzes.  I learned about it from Creative Language Class and am adding it to The Best Ways To Create Online Tests.

Stormboard, which is free for educators at least through July, 2017, is a nice new collaborative online “corkboard/bulletin board” where you can share “stickies,” including photos, videos and text. I’m adding it to the very popular The Best Online Virtual “Corkboards” (or “Bulletin Boards”).

I’ve written some past posts about the work of Philip Tetlock (Quote Of The Day: “beliefs are hypotheses to be tested…” and The Best Resources On The Importance Of Knowing What You Don’t Know).  He’s particularly known for his work in developing a science of “forecasting.” He recently unveiled a site called Good Judgment where users can forecast an answer to a question and, when and if the action takes place, is “scored” on their forecasting ability.  Users make a prediction, then share their reasoning, and you can link directly to individual’s forecasts. This seems to me to be an excellent way for students to write for an authentic audience, which is why I’m adding it to The Best Places Where Students Can Write For An “Authentic Audience”

Recap is a new tool designed to have students create short videos highlighting their reflections on the learning they’re doing in the classroom. I’m adding it to A Potpourri Of The Best & Most Useful Video Sites.

StepMap looks like a decent map-making site. I’m adding it to The Best Map-Making Sites On The Web.

Animaker looks like a pretty simple tool for creating online animations. It has lots of premium features, but you can make five for free. I’m adding it to The Best Ways For Students To Create Online Animations.

Telegra.ph lets your create a webpage without having to register.  You can read more about it at Richard Byrne’s blog.  It’s similar to a number of other sites, including Loose LeavesJust Paste It, and Instablogg.

Web Whiteboard is a nice online collaborative..whiteboard. You can read more details at Richard Byrne’s blog. I’m adding it to The Best Online Tools For Real-Time Collaboration.

Google Sites opened its new version to the public for creating websites.You can read all about it at TechCrunch. I’m adding it to The Best Ways For Students Or Teachers To Create A Website.

November 22, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
5 Comments

The Fifty Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2016

the-fifty-best-web-20gggggg

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

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

Instead of ranking each of the fifty 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 fifty choices for The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2016:

USEFUL

Vizia lets you integrate quizzes and polls into videos. 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.

WebReel lets you create a “reel” – a slideshow – of links to web addresses. You can also write a description of each site in the presentation. It would be an easy tool to use if teachers or students were creating webquests or internet scavenger hunts, which is why I’m adding it to The Best Places To Create (And Find) Internet Scavenger Hunts & Webquests.

Elink is a new tool for collecting and curating web resources. For teachers, I think it would be most helpful in creating Webquests or Internet scavenger hunts – you can leave comments about each site you save.

Ormiboard lets up to four people collaborate on an online whiteboard and is free, at least for now. I’m adding it to The Best Online Tools For Real-Time Collaboration.  Thanks to Shelly Terrell for the tip.

After quickly registering, Marvel Comics lets you create your own comic that you can print, send, or embed. I’m adding it to The Best Ways To Make Comic Strips Online.

Limnu is a free online collaborative whiteboard that looks pretty good. I’m adding it to The Best Online Tools For Real-Time Collaboration.

Wakelet is another addition to the very crowded resource curation market.  It does seem fairly easy to use, and you can leave notes to the links you save.  Because of those features, I’m adding it to The Best Places To Create (And Find) Internet Scavenger Hunts & Webquests because teachers and students can use it for that activity.

Chalkmotion is an intriguing free tool that lets you either draw or choose “hand-drawn” illustrations to use in a slideshow (you can also add text). The intriguing part comes in when you publish your show – instead of just showing the images, it shows the the process of actually drawing them, too. It can be a little annoying because of the time involved, but also sort of fun. As you can see from the simple one I created, I could see ELLs using it for vocabulary reinforcement. I’m not ready to put it on any “Best” list, but it’s worth a look.

BeatLab seems like a very accessible way to create and share lots of different kinds of music. Thanks to Richard Byrne for the tip. I’m adding it to The Best Online Sites For Creating Music, which I just updated and revised.

Mad Libs, I think, have very limited usefulness with English Language Learners since they really don’t promote accurate understanding. However, for ELLs who are in the high-intermediate range, I’ve found they can be an occasional fun activity that also reinforces parts of speech. Having students create their own versions for their classmates can move this activity to a much more productive level, however, and the Word Blanks site is the easiest tool out there for making them.

Clarisketch looks like an excellent app for ELLs — you can draw and then record audio about it. Unfortunately, it’s only available as an Android app. I hope they’ll have an iPhone version soon. I’m adding it to The Best Sites To Practice Speaking English.

Google unveiled a new collaborative space called…Spaces. It appears to be a private space where invited users can share posts, photos and links.

Prisma is a new free app that lets you turn your photos into manga. I could see this being a very attractive tool for reluctant writers to use — they can create their own web comics. You can read more about it at TechCrunch.

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.

Opinion Stage is a free and easy tool for making online tests, polls and lists.

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.

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.

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.

FotoJet is a new free online photo editor. I’m adding it to The Best Sites For Online Photo-Editing & Photo Effects, which I’ve just updated and revised.

NowComment seems like a good tool for students to use when annotating online documents and they can see the comments of others, too (teachers can create private groups).  The reason it’s under “Useful” instead of “Good” is because the only way you can annotate a website is by copying and pasting it, and I’m not sure if that’s legal or not.

Coggle is a new mindmapping tool.  I’ve added it to Not “The Best,” But “A List” Of Mindmapping, Flow Chart Tools, & Graphic Organizers.

GOOD

Thanks to David Kapular, I learned about a new site where users can create animations. It’s called Animatron. You can create five animations for free, but after that the cost is $15 per year. The feature that made it stand out to me was its audio recording capability, even though the sound quality isn’t top notch.

Tour-Builder by Google lets you easily create…tours. It’s super-easy to add videos or photos (uploaded or via searching the Web), and can be used to document literary journeys, field trips, historical events, etc. I’m adding it to The Best Map-Making Sites On The Web.Thanks to Sarah Thomas for the tip.

Perusall is a new online tool inspired by Eric Mazur. I’ve previously posted about his work encouraging college instructors to move away from lectures. Perusall is a free site where teachers can assign student readings for homework and where students annotate the text while connecting with other students doing the same thing at the same time. The tool then also supposedly provides some kind of automatic assessment for the student annotations. Teachers can upload anything they want, as well as assigning textbooks that then have to be purchased through the site (I assume that this is their strategy for making money). You can read more about it at This new tool makes the flipped classroom more social. I’m adding it to The Best Sites That Students Can Use Independently And Let Teachers Check On Progress.

Vicki Davis  shared a link to a new resource, Write The World, on Twitter. Write The World lets teachers set-up virtual classrooms for free where they can monitor student writing progress and, if they wish, let classmates use it for a peer review process. They can be private or public groups. In addition, the site has writing contests, provides prompts, and encourages students to view each other’s work from around the world. I’m adding it to: The Best Places Where Students Can Write For An “Authentic Audience” and The Best Online Tools That Can Help Students Write An Essay.

I learned about Genial.ly from Shelly Terrell’s excellent post, Visualizing Learning with Infographics: 23 Resources. Genial.ly seems like a new and useful free tool for creating infographics.

eMargin is a free tool developed by Birmingham City University in the United Kingdom. You can upload any text and have students annotate it, and the same text can be annotated by a closed group. In addition, you can “upload” a web address and annotate it, as well. The lay-out can be a bit funky with websites, but it’s still workable. I’m adding it to Best Applications For Annotating Websites.

Creating their own unique English subtitles to funny “foreign language” or silent movie scenes has been a fun language-learning activity done in many English Language Learner classrooms for years. There are several tools that teachers have used for just that purpose, which you can find at The Best Places To Create Funny Subtitles For Silent Movies. Caption Generator lets you do that for any video on YouTube, so ELLs and their teachers can now have even more choices. However, you probably want to use it with caution. Some of the videos that have been captioned and viewable on the site may not be classroom appropriate. However, I assume (thought haven’t checked at my school computer) that those videos will be blocked by district content filters. I can’t be sure, though.

Thanks to Sara-E. Cottrell, I recently learned about Sugarcane, a free web tool that lets you easily create lots of different kinds of learning games, as well as access ones that others have created. It’s owned by IXL Learning, but your school doesn’t have to be subscribed to it in order to use Sugarcane. I’m adding it to The Best Websites For Creating Online Learning Games.

The new PhotoScan app from Google, for both Android and iPhone, lets you easily convert your old “paper” photos into high-resolution digital images.  It’s great for personal use, but I’m also finding it helpful for scanning some of the many old photos I’ve taken over the years that would be good for the classroom.

Most of us are probably familiar with the famous ethical “Trolley Problem” (see The Best Videos About The Famous “Trolley Problem”). Now, MIT has created what’s got to be the most engaging online version of the age-old ethical dilemma in its “Moral Machine.” Their take on the problem is that you are designing the moral decisions a self-driving car has to make. You’re given thirteen scenarios and, after you’re done, you can see how your answers compare to those of previous participants. The best part, though, of the site comes next. You can then create your own scenario that others can play! I think it’s safe to say that for as long as this site is up, any IB Theory of Knowledge class that has access to technology will be playing it during their Ethics unit.

Unsplash has been on my The Best Online Sources For Images list for quite awhile. It has tens of thousands of images that can be used for free – commercially or for educational purposes – without having to provide any attribution to the photographer (though, of course, it’s still a nice thing to do). Until relatively recently, however, it didn’t have a search feature. They recently unveiled a great one, and it’s super-fast. I’m still going to go with Photos For Class as my favorite free image site (see “Photos For Class” Is My Favorite Site For Finding Images), but Unsplash is a close second.

Pablo lets you create visually attractive quotes and provides access to over 50,000 royalty-free images.

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….

 

EXCELLENT

The History Project is a new free online tool for creating timelines, and its partially funded by The New York Times. It’s very easy to use, with web and social media search capability built into the site when you are creating a timeline. In addition to letting you create a sequential list including images and videos, and also shows the events on a map. Best of all, in my opinion, you can easily record your own audio thoughts for each event. I’m adding it to The Best Tools For Making Online Timelines, and it may be the best of the lot…

My Simple Show lets you create free audio “explainers” – about biographies, chemical reactions, you name it. What makes it truly exceptional is the scaffolding and support it provides each step of the way, plus so much of it is automated – down to the selection of images (which you can easily change). You can provide your own audio narration or choose its computer generated voice. It’s very, very simple to use and accessible to English Language Learners.

Zooniverse is an amazing site where scholars put up projects that require “people-powered research” – for example, attempting to decode formerly secret Civil War telegrams. It has many projects in multiple subject areas, along with very cool online tools for students to use when doing the research. The site also has lesson plans for teachers to use when introducing students to the site. A site like this offers real purposes for student learning. I’m amazed that I hadn’t heard of it before today when Stephen F. Knott sent the tweet about the Civil War project. Further exploration led me to all the site’s other features. I’m going to add it to Best Places Where Students Can Write For An “Authentic Audience,” but it deserves to be on a lot of other Best lists.

Reader Gabrielle Klingelhöfer shared the site Learning Apps with me, and I’m sure glad she did! It’s a free site that lets teachers create virtual classrooms where students can uses lots of different kinds of online exercises and games to learn many subjects. There are tons of already-created exercises divided by subject, and it seems super-easy – and I really mean easy – for teachers to create their own. There are many ESL and regular English interactives. There are tons on other subjects, as well. My only suggestion to the site is that it would be nice to have a further search parameter to divide by language. The other subjects have many exercises in other languages (the site itself appears to be from Germany) and it would just make it a little easier for teachers. But it’s really a minor issue for a fabulous site.

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.

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.

The KnowMe app is a Web 2.0 tool I 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.

June 15, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

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

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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.

December 30, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

All Done! Here Are My Updated 27 “Best Of 2015” Lists

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It’s been a job, but I am finally done posting and updating all my “Best of 2015” lists.

Here they all are:

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2015

The Best Videos For Educators In 2015 – Part Two

The Best Social Studies Sites Of 2015 – Part Two

My Best Posts On New Research Studies In 2015 – Part Two

The Best Online Learning Games Of 2015 – Part Two

The Best “Words Of The Year” Features For 2015

The Best Tweets Of 2015 – Part Two

The Best Fun Videos For English Language Learners In 2015 – Part Two

The Best Articles, Videos & Posts On Education Policy In 2015 – Part Two

The Best Science Sites Of 2015

The Best Resources On Class Instruction – 2015

The Best Year In Review Features — 2015

A Collection Of The Best Education-Related “Most Popular” Lists For 2015

The Best Collections Of Infographics, Charts & Maps – 2015

Best and worst education news of 2015 — a teacher’s list

The Best Articles I’ve Written In 2015

The Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources In 2015 – Part Two

The Best Education Predictions For 2016

The Best Education-Related Books Visitors To This Blog Read In 2015

The Best Articles (And Blog Posts) Offering Practical Advice & Resources To Teachers In 2015 – Part Two

The Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of ELLs In 2015 – Part Two

The Best Websites For English Language Learner Students In 2015 – Part Two

The Best Education “Year-In-Review” Round-Ups For 2015

The BEST Classroom Q & A Posts in 2015

My Twelve Best BAM! Radio Shows In 2015

My Favorite Posts In 2015 — Part Two

The Best Comic Strips For Students & Teachers In 2015 – Part Two

December 27, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

The Best Websites For English Language Learner Students In 2015 – Part Two

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This list focuses on sites that ELL students would use directly. Of course, many other sites on my other lists can also be used effectively with ELL’s.

I’ll be adding this post to All My 2015 “Best” Lists In One Place.

You might also be interested in:

The Best Websites For English Language Learner Students In 2015 – So Far

The Best Beginner, Intermediate & Advanced English Language Learner Sites

The Best Websites For English Language Learner Students In 2014 – Part Two

The Best Websites For English Language Learner Students In 2014 – So Far

The Best Websites For English Language Learner Students In 2013 – Part Two

The Best Websites For English Language Learner Students In 2013 – So Far

The Best Websites For English Language Learner Students In 2012 — Part Two

The Best Websites For English Language Learner Students In 2012 — Part One

The Best Websites For English Language Learner Students In 2011

The Best Websites For English Language Learner Students — 2010

The Best Websites For English Language Learner Students — 2009

The Best Internet Sites For English Language Learners — 2008

The Best Internet Sites For English Language Learners — 2007

The Best Web 2.0 Applications for ESL/EFL Learners — 2007

Here are my choices for The Best Websites For English Language Learner Students In 2015 – Part Two (not a very long list from over the past six months):

This school year, all my NY Times posts are self-access interactives for ELLs.

AlfaTyping looks like a nice tool for students to develop typing skills, and you can read all about it at Richard Byrne’s post. I’m adding it both to The Best Eleven Websites For Students To Learn About Computers (where you can find other typing sites) and to The Best Sites That Students Can Use Independently And Let Teachers Check On Progress.

GrammarFlip is a new site that lets teachers create virtual classrooms for their students to learn and practice grammar skills. It’s very simple to create multiple free classrooms where students can watch grammar videos and then answer questions about that particular grammar topic.

The BBC’s “Skillwise” site has a great collection of English games that would be accessible to Intermediate and Advanced English Language Learners. I’m adding the link to The Best Beginner, Intermediate & Advanced English Language Learner Sites, and am a bit surprised it isn’t already there.

Thanks to Jim Bentley, I learned about Karen Ogen‘s nice collection of learning games called Interactive Sites For Education.

Test Your Vocab is an online tool where learners can get a rough estimate of how many words they know in English. I think it could be a useful tool for students to periodically use to measure their progress and get re-energized when they see how much they’re making. I’m adding it to The Best Sites Where ELL’s Can Learn Vocabulary. I discovered it through Nina English’s blog, which I learned about through David Deubelbeiss, founder of the great EFL Classroom 2.0.

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