Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

February 20, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

I Really Like How SAS Curriculum Pathways Site Incorporates Knowledge Transfer In Social Studies

I’ve often written about how much I like SAS Curriculum Pathways, a free site with tons of interactive lessons that students can complete and then email to their teacher.

One particularly impressive feature they’ve added to a number of their U.S. History lessons is a task where students have to apply what they learned to a different fictional scenario. They talk about it in a blog post as an element of Bloom’s Taxonomy “apply” level, and it’s also an opportunity for students to “transfer” their knowledge (see The Best Resources For Learning About The Concept Of “Transfer” — Help Me Find More). More specifically, it’s an example of “near transfer” (applying knowledge to a similar situation) as opposed to “far transfer” (applying it in a substantially different arena).

If you’d like to learn more about transfer, check out the previously-mentioned “Best” list, as well as an excerpt from one of my books that appeared in The Washington Post, The real stuff of schooling: How to teach students to apply knowledge.

I’ll also be publishing a series on the topic later this spring at my Education Week Teacher column, which will include an experiment they’re doing – an animated video explaining the issue.

August 4, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

SAS Curriculum Pathways, Just About The Best Online Ed Site, Has Gotten Even Better…

sassas

I’ve previously written a lot about how much I like SAS Curriculum Pathways, a free site with tons of interactive lessons that students can complete and then email to their teacher.

It’s just gotten even better….

One, today they unveiled a big upgrade to the design of their site, and it looks great.

Secondly, they have a nice new feature called Explore Primary Sources, which provides lots of creative lessons for students to access…primary sources.

August 6, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Two Great Sites – SAS Curriculum Pathways & Awesome Stories – Upgrading Big Time This Month

'Awesome' photo (c) 2012, Sam Howzit - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

I have posted often about two of my favorite sites, SAS Curriculum Pathways and Awesome Stories. They’re both free and are on more of my “The Best…” lists than you can shake a stick at.

And they’re both getting even better this month….

SAS Curriculum Pathways has added a bunch of new activities that I’m looking forward to using with both my ELL and mainstream students. You can read one of my previous posts about it to learn a little more.

Awesome Stories will be unveiling their new website later this month (here’s one of my previous posts about them). Here’s what they say it will include:

New Functionality Launching in August:

Teacher Portal

Student Portal

Standards-based Search

Advanced subject, grade Search

Teacher Accounts linked to Student Accounts

Teacher Assignment, Grading, Communication

Assignable CCSS “Tasks” linked to Story Chapters

Teacher Class Reports

School Reports

District Reports

Great stuff!

October 19, 2011
by Larry Ferlazzo
5 Comments

“SAS Curriculum Pathways” Looks Like A Winner

Earlier this evening, Mary Ann Zehr, formerly a reporter with Education Week and now a high school ESL teacher in Washington, D.C., sent a tweet recommending something called SAS Curriculum Pathways for history resources.

Since I have always respected Mary Ann’s judgement, I immediately checked it out.

And I’m impressed.

It has a huge amount of interactives in all subjects. In many of them, students complete the activity online, and then send their work electronically to their teacher (it can also be printed out).

Before I continue, I should also mention that it’s free…

I really don’t know who SAS is (I didn’t have time to investigate), but they have set this system up so it’s free to educators and their students. The teacher signs-up and is give a log-in name for all the students in a school. It doesn’t appear that students need their own individual log-in because they have to type in their name before beginning any activity. Let me tell you, that will make using this site immeasurably easy — students won’t have to remember — or forget — individual passwords!

Since I’m teaching US History this year, I mainly focused on those sites, and they looked pretty good and accessible to ELL’s with audio support for the text. The site, though, has resources for all subjects.

In my quick review of the US History sites, they all appeared engaging, though primarily geared to lower-levels of thinking, primarily comprehension and recall. But since I use the Web generally as a reinforcement tool, that works fine for me.

Let me know if you’re familiar with SAS or, if you are just starting out with it, what you think of their other activities.

I’m adding it to The Best Websites For Teaching & Learning About U.S. History.

February 25, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

February’s Tops Posts From This Blog

I regularly highlight my picks for the most useful posts for each month — not including “The Best…” lists. I also use some of them in a more extensive monthly newsletter I send-out. You can see older Best Posts of the Month at Websites Of The Month (more recent lists can be found here).

You can also see my all-time favorites here. I’ve also been doing “A Look Back” series in anticipation of this blog’s tenth anniversary in February.

Here are some of the posts I personally think are the best, and most helpful, ones I’ve written during this past month (not in any order of preference). There are a lot of them this month:

New Study On Reading Takes Right Idea & Messes It Up

ASCD Educational Leadership Publishes My Article On Personalized Learning

Here Are The Ten Downloadable Graphic Organizers I Use With ELL Beginners To Write A Story

“Performance Assessments are ‘Absolutely Worth the Effort’”

I Really Like How SAS Curriculum Pathways Site Incorporates Knowledge Transfer In Social Studies

A History Of The United States’ Fear Of Immigrants

Study Finds That It’s True: Good Teaching Conditions For Educators Equals Good Learning Conditions For Students

We Should Be Obsessed With Racial Equity

Immigration Fears Appear To Become Reality

Useful Resources On “Fake News,” Including An NPR Story Highlighting My Lesson

Have Students Use “GlobalXplorer” To Become “Armchair Archaeologists”

New Study Reaffirms What Teachers Know: Relationships Matter

“Math can be a ‘Hard Sell’”

“Author Interview: ‘The ABCs of How We Learn’”

You’ll Want To Read This Interview With Education Researcher Kirabo Jackson

A Look Back: Every Teacher Who Has An ELL In Their Class Should Watch This “Immersion” Film

New “What If?” History Presentations

A Look Back: New Study Shows Intervention Has Big Impact On “Achievement Gap” – Also Shows Shortcomings Of Ed Research

Video: “Immigrants In Our Community Are A Gift”

Immigration Raids Across The Country – Is This Just The Beginning? (If It Is, Here Are Helpful Resources)

“Putting Teacher Action Research Into Action” Is My New British Council Post

A Look Back: How Much “Content” Knowledge Do You Really Need To Be An Effective Teacher?

A Look Back: Important New Study Looks At Assets, Not Deficits, Of Teen “Defiance”

No Surprise: Study Finds That If Teachers Show Bias, Then Students Don’t Trust Them Or School

Sad News: Swedish Statistician & “Edutainer” Died Today – Here Are His Best Videos

DeVos Is Confirmed As Ed Secretary: Here’s a Wrap-Up

A Look Back: Video – “10 Strategies to Help Students Develop Intrinsic Motivation to Write”

A Look Back: Here Are Downloadable Scaffolded Instructions For Students To Create A “3/2/1” Poster

Video: Entire “Uncut” 84 Lumber “Journey” Super Bowl Commercial (That Will Be Shown In Many ELL Classes Tomorrow)

“What If?” History Projects

“Good Judgment” Is A Site Where Our Students Can Showcase Their Forecasting Skills

“Home Language Support ‘Helps Learners Navigate Both Worlds They Inhabit’”

A Look Back: “KQED Interviews Me About Saul Alinsky & His Connection To Teaching”

The Right – & Wrong – Way To Apologize

Here’s A Lesson – & A Template – That Intermediate ELL Students Taught Beginners

A Look Back: “Ways A Mainstream Teacher Can Support An ELL Newcomer In Class”

“‘The Writing Strategies Book’: An Interview With Jennifer Serravallo”

Three Excellent Resources For Learning About Effective Social Change

“Understanding the Benefits of a Student’s Home Language”

A Look Back: “The Elephant In The Room In The Talent vs. Practice Debate”

Everything Is Crazy, So What Do We Teachers Do In Class This Week?

New Study Connects Growth Mindset & “Bouncing Back” From Mistakes

A Look Back: No, Most Educators Are Not “Fueling Student Anxieties” – Trump Is Handling That On His Own

Good Advice On “De-Escalating Power Struggles In The Classroom”

 

January 5, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Five Most Popular Posts Of The Week

Here’s the latest edition of this regular feature . These are the posts appearing this blog that received the most “hits” in the preceding seven days (though they may have originally been published on an earlier date).

You might also be interested in 2016’s Most Popular Posts! and Ninth Anniversary Of This Blog — What Have Been My Most Popular Posts?

1.A Look Back: “The Fifteen Tech Tools & Non-Tech Resources I Use Most Often With My Students”

2. Classroom Instruction Resources Of The Week

3. SAS Curriculum Pathways, Just About The Best Online Ed Site, Has Gotten Even Better…

4. The Best Resources For Helping Teachers Use Bloom’s Taxonomy In The Classroom

5. The Best Websites For Creating Online Learning Games

January 1, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo
4 Comments

A Look Back: “The Fifteen Tech Tools & Non-Tech Resources I Use Most Often With My Students”

In February, this blog will be celebrating its ten-year anniversary! Leading up to it, I’m re-starting a series I tried to do in the past called “A Look Back.” Each week, I’ll be re-posting a few of my favorite posts from the past ten years.

You might also be interested in:

 A Look Back: Best Posts From 2007 To 2009 

 A Look Back: 2010’s Best Posts From This Blog

A Look Back: 2011’s Best Posts From This Blog

A Look Back: 2012’s Best Posts From This Blog

A Look Back: 2013’s Best Posts From This Blog

A Look Back: 2014’s Best Posts From This Blog

I published this post in 2015, and it’s still pretty accurate (though I will be spending a good portion of this coming week doing planning for my classes and might have a few additions):

I share lots of tools and resources – in fact, I publish about five posts a day.

That’s a lot of stuff!

One way I try to help readers, and myself, hear through the “noise” of all those posts is through my 1,500 regularly updated “Best” lists.

I use many of them at various points throughout the year, but I thought that readers might find it useful/interesting to hear which ones I use most often with students.

So this list is sort of a classroom version of my needing-to-be-updated The Web 2.0/Social Media Tools I Use Everyday & How I Use Them list.

Here are the tech tools and resources I use most often with my students (not listed in any particular order):

I’ve called SAS Curriculum Pathways the best online ed site out there, and I continue to feel that way. It has free online interactive lessons for all subjects, and I particularly like their ones for Social Studies. Students complete the lesson and then email it the teacher. It’s super-easy for everybody to use, and very high-quality.

Lingohut is a free and accessible bi-and-multi-lingual language-learning site that my students like a lot.

Edublogs hosts all my class blogs, including ones for U.S. History, World History, Theory of Knowledge and a combination English For ELLs & Geography one (you can access all of them at the link). In some cases, they contain almost my entire curriculum, including downloadable hand-outs. Students use them regularly when we visit the computer lab. In light of the insane YouTube Safety Mode (see The Best Ways To Deal With YouTube’s Awful Safety Mode), blogs are particularly useful as hosting sites after downloading videos that would be blocked by the Safety Mode.

YouTube is a great source for videotaped student presentations and projects. Though I sometimes don’t make the video links “public,” you can see most of them embedded at our class blog (and/or on my YouTube channel). Students watching themselves can be a great self-evaluating exercise, and the best TOK presentations function as models for future classes. I especially like using the Shadow Puppet app these days which lets students provide audio narration to a visual without the added pressure of having themselves appear on camera. I also do the same with Vine or Instagram videos and then upload them to YouTube (see The Best Resources For Learning To Use The Video Apps “Vine” & Instagram).

I’ve written a lot about the free language-learning app and site Duolingo, including their virtual classrooms. Students love it, though their English-learning levels seem to plateau fairly soon. I’d love it if they made it more useful to intermediate learners at some point.

EdHelper has two levels of annual subscription costs ($20 and $40 – the less expensive version works for me). It’s a great source of easily accessible texts that can easily be repurposed for classroom use in multiple ways: text data sets (You can see examples of these in my ASCD article, Get Organized Around Assets and in a couple of pieces I’ve written for The New York Times), clozes (The Best Tools For Creating Clozes (Gap-Fills)); sequencing activities (read about these in another NY Times post) to be completed by students.  They are also great for Read Alouds and Think Alouds.

Raz-Kids (annual cost of $100 for a 36 student classroom) provides an excellent selection of engaging books that students can see and hear, along with comprehension quizzes. They’re great for Beginning and Intermediate English Language Learners.

Reading A-Z (annual cost of $100) is a sister site to Raz-Kids and provides hard-copy masters of the Raz-Kids books and more. They’re great for reproduction so you can have multiple copies of the same books for students. They’re leveled, and convenient for differentiation.

The WRITE Institute, as I’ve said many times, is the best resources out there for teaching writing to English Language Learners. You can purchase excellent unit plans for $20 a piece here here.

Sounds Easy! Phonics, Spelling, and Pronunciation Practice is a wonderful book for helping students learn phonics. Unfortunately, however, the book itself doesn’t discuss what I’ve found to be its most effective use through inductive learning (see The Best Resources About Inductive Learning & Teaching).  We discuss it in our ESL/ELL Teacher’s Survival Guide.  Simply put, after using the reproducible hand-outs from the book to teach the letter-sounds, I’ve found that then having students categorize and expand the number of words that fit into their categories is extraordinarily effective.

I really like the English In Action series as a “workbook” for students to use at the beginning of class for fifteen minutes and for homework. It covers the basics and is set-up for students to feel successful.

America’s Story is a very good “consumable” textbook for ELL U.S. History. My U.S. History class blog is organized along the books’ chapters.

ACCESS World History is a very accessible text that comes with a student workbook. My World History class blog is organized along the book’s chapters.

World View is a two volume consumable Geography textbook for English Language Learners. I like it a lot, but it appears that the publisher has gone out of business, and I’m not sure if another one is going to pick it up. I hope they do. But, just in case, I’d love to hear recommendations for other ELL-friendly Geography textbooks.

Theory of Knowledge for the IB Diploma
by Richard van de Lagemaat is the TOK textbook we use. I know there’s a newer edition, but our school can’t afford it yet, and I think this version still works well.

There is one more site that may join this list, but it’s relaunching this week and I’m sworn to secrecy until they go live.  If it’s as good as I hope it to be, it will certainly be the sixteenth resource on this list.

“Drawing Out” Book Is Excellent For ELL Beginner Homework

There you have it….I’ll work hard at keeping this updated.

Feel free to share your own similar list in the comments section.

November 22, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
4 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.

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