Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

May 19, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

“25 Trends” Is A Neat Twitter Visualization Tool

Type in any name or topic into 25 Trends and you’ll get a neat visualization with links to related tweets. It seems useful and accessible.

I’m adding it to The Best Third-Party Twitter Apps That Don’t Require Your Password. By the way, I’ve just updated that list.

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January 23, 2011
by Larry Ferlazzo
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I Don’t Know If “Clay Yourself” Is A Good Sales Tool, But For ELL’s, It’s The Best Example Of Viral Marketing I’ve Seen

Clay Yourself is a site publicizing a hotel chain. Users get to create a clay-like avatar, choose a name for it, complete a “mad-lib”-like travel script, record themselves speaking the script they’ve helped create, and then place it in a virtual gallery. You can post the link to Facebook or Twitter, or email it to yourself.

It hits all four domains — reading, writing, speaking and listening. You can’t beat that!

It will certainly be in my next edition of The Best Ways To Create Online Content Easily & Quickly.

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December 1, 2010
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Make A “Joy To My Small World” Video

Disneyland offers you the opportunity to create your own virtual dolls and place them in a music video with your own personal messages. You can then email the link or embed it in a blog or website.

English Language Learners could have a great time making it (no registration is required and it only takes a few minutes), posting it on a student/teacher blog or website, and describing what they’ve created. The music in the video is “It’s A Small World After All,” which is also easy for ELL’s to understand.

Too bad it’s annoying to so many of the rest of us :)

I’m adding the link to The Best Places To Learn About Christmas, Hanukkah, & Kwanzaa.

By the way, I’m also adding to that list a series of photos showing White House Christmas decorations. It’s from MSNBC.

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November 30, 2010
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Part Fifty-Four Of The Best Ways To Create Online Content Easily & Quickly

The first part of this post is my usual introduction to this series. If you’re familiar with it already, just skip down to the listing of new sites…

Here’s the latest installment in my series on The Best Ways To Create Online Content Easily & Quickly. As you may remember, in order to make it on this list, the web tool has to:

* be easily accessible to English Language Learners and/or non-tech savvy computer users.

* allow people to create engaging content within minutes.

* host the user’s creation on the site itself indefinitely, and allow a direct link to be able to be posted on a student or teacher’s website/blog to it (or let it be embedded). If it just provides the url address of the student creation, you can either just post the address or use Embedit.in , a free web tool that makes pretty much any url address embeddable.

* provide some language-learning opportunity (for example, students can write about their creations).

* not require any registration.

You can find previous installments of this series with the rest of my “The Best…” lists at Websites Of The Year. Several hundred sites have been highlighted in these past lists. You might also want to take a look at the first list I posted in this series — The Best Ways For Students (And Anyone Else!) To Create Online Content Easily, Quickly, and Painlessly.

You might also want to look at The Best Ways To Create Online Content Easily & Quickly — 2010.

I’ll also be publishing an “all-time best” list next year.

Here are the newest additions:

APPRECIATE SOMEONE OR SOMETHING: At Appreciate It, you can say what you appreciate it and add your thoughts to a long list of others. Students can get a direct link to what they’ve written to post on a student blog or website.

“ANIMATE TEXT WITH STYLE”: At Wondersay, you can animate any text and embed or link to it.

MAKE YOUR OWN MONKEY: You can create your design for the famous “Julius” the monkey at Paul Frank’s Planned Pines site. Click “enter” and, after it’s complete, the url address of the student’s creation can be posted on a student/teacher blog or website, and students can describe and discuss it.

SEND AN eCARD: Worldwide Health has a large variety of free eCards to write and send. Students can write to an imaginary friend or family member, or describe the image, send it to themselves or to a teacher, and place the link on a student/teacher blog or website.

Additional suggestions are always welcome.

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

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

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February 8, 2010
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Part Forty-Five Of The Best Ways To Create Online Content Easily & Quickly

The first part of this post is my usual introduction to this series. If you’re familiar with it already, just skip down to the listing of new sites…

Here’s the latest installment in my series on The Best Ways To Create Online Content Easily & Quickly. As you may remember, in order to make it on this list, the web tool has to:

* be easily accessible to English Language Learners and/or non-tech savvy computer users.

* allow people to create engaging content within minutes.

* host the user’s creation on the site itself indefinitely, and allow a direct link to be able to be posted on a student or teacher’s website/blog to it (or let it be embedded). If it just provides the url address of the student creation, you can either just post the address or use Embedit.in , a free web tool that makes pretty much any url address embeddable.

* provide some language-learning opportunity (for example, students can write about their creations).

* not require any registration.

You can find previous installments of this series with the rest of my “The Best…” lists at Websites Of The Year. Several hundred sites have been highlighted in these past lists. You might also want to take a look at the first list I posted in this series — The Best Ways For Students (And Anyone Else!) To Create Online Content Easily, Quickly, and Painlessly.

You might also want to look at The Best Ways To Create Online Content Easily & Quickly — 2009.

Here are the newest additions:

DESIGN A DONUT: Dunkin Donuts lets you create your very own virtual donut and share it with others. Students can describe what they made and explain why they made it that way.

COMPOSE LYRICS FOR A BEAVER ON A FIDDLE: You can compose lyrics to a song being played by a beaver that fiddles, and see them displayed as captions while the music plays. You can then post your creation on a student/teacher website or blog for all the world to see — lucky them….

MAKE A BABY TALK: etrade’s “Talking Baby” commercials during the Super Bowl are famous annual events. Now you and your students can create their own talking babies by either using the text-to-speech feature or recording their own voices. Their creations can be posted on a student/teacher website.

CREATE MORE MUSIC: The American Heart Association has unveiled a web application that lets you create a “hand symphony” and send the link of your creation to a friend or yourself. It can then be posted on a teacher website or blog. It’s designed to promote the Association’s new hands-only CPR, and the site also has a one minute video demonstrating it.

Feedback is always welcome.

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

You might also want to explore the 400 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.

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February 2, 2010
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Send A “Talking Baby”

etrade’s “Talking Baby” commercials during the Super Bowl are famous annual events. Now you and your students can create their own talking babies by either using the text-to-speech feature or recording their own voices. Their creations can be posted on a student/teacher website.

I’ll be adding this application to my next edition of “The Best Ways To Create Online Content Easily and Quickly.” Because of the Super Bowl connection, I’ll also be adding it to The Best Sites Where ELL’s Can Learn About The Super Bowl.

I’ll certainly be using it in my Intermediate English class. It’s great speaking practice, and students will have a lot of fun with it.

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December 24, 2009
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Part Two Of The Best “Fun” Sites You Can Use For Learning, Too — 2009

I’ve already posted The Best “Fun” Sites You Can Use For Learning, Too — 2009, but I’ve collected enough new sites to warrant posting a Part Two.

These are websites that were not designed with education in mind, but which can easily be used for learning purposes — particularly, though not exclusively, for English language development. I only hope that creators of “educational” content can learn from the qualities that make these sites so engaging.

I’m not listing these sites in any order of preference.

Here are my picks for Part Two Of The Best “Fun” Sites You Can Use For Learning, Too — 2009:

OPTICAL ILLUSIONS

In my classes I help students learn academic vocabulary. One new word has been “interpretation” and its various forms. I usually show students several optical illusions that can be found at various sites. Then, they have short conversations with other students about what they see:

“What is your interpretation of what’s in the picture?”

“It seems to me that there’s a ……”

Here is a new resource for illusions that can be used in this way:

The British newspaper The Telegraph has fifteen video and audio illusions.

PHOTOS:

Students can pick some of these photos to write about or describe, or they can be used in class as part of the  Picture Word Inductive Model teaching strategy:

See 15 Of The World’s Strangest Animals.

VIDEOS:

Fun videos are always useful. If you have a computer projector, students can watch them using the “Back-To-The-Screen” activity (read how to do it at The Best Popular Movies/TV Shows For ESL/EFL). Or, if you don’t have a projector, you can do a similar activity if you’re at a computer lab. Or you can just have everybody watch the same video and write about it as a class.

Most of these videos are from YouTube (which is likely blocked by school content filters), but some of them are worth using a converter to download into your laptop or a service like EdublogsTV or Watch Now to show to students. They’re great for English Language Learners – short, engaging videos that students can then write about and discuss.

Here are my video suggestions:

This chainsaw (it’s not bloody) illusion is the most amazing illusion I’ve ever seen.

This is an amazing video of 3D Projections on buildings.

You probably want to turn-off the music on this video of people using the trampoline. I had never imagined this sort of stuff could be done.

Here are videos of some amazing basketball shots.

Speaking of sports, here are videos of incredible “shots” from ones other than baseketball.

In addition to the ideas I’ve mentioned on how to use videos, I had my Theory of Knowledge students watch the Ted Talk “The Raspyni Brothers juggle and jest” and have them first identify how the jugglers made what they did and the objects they used look “new” to viewers  and, secondly, discuss how mathematicians, historians, artists and scientists use those same techniques to study the world. Students shared some brilliant stuff!

VIRAL MARKETING:

I’ve written how I use viral marketing tools with my English Language Learner students. Here are some new ones that students have enjoyed:

With Animal Mix-Up you can create a bizarre creature, email the link and post it. English Language Learners can not only use it as an opportunity to describe their creation, but the design process itself provides an excellent opportunity for vocabulary development. There are a lot of choices for creature modifications, and their accompanied with visual and text descriptions.

You can choreograph a dance for a piece of chocolate, choose the accompanying music, and write a message using this piece of viral marketing. The link can be posted a student/teacher blog or website.

You can send a Critter Carol — dogs singing a Christmas song, with a message you write included. Students can create on, and then post the url of their card on a website or blog.

ONLINE VIDEO GAMES:

I’ve written about how I use online video games as language-development activities with my students.

Here are some of particularly good ones that came out recently:

The Ballad of Ketinetto is an online video game series excellent for English Language development. Here are the most recent games in the series, along with links to their “walkthroughs” (instructions on how students can win — see my article for how to use them):

The Ballad of Ketinetto 3 (Walkthrough)

The Ballad of Ketinetto 4 (Walkthrough)

The Ballad of Ketinetto 5 (Walkthrough)

The Ballad of Ketinetto 6 (Walkthrough)

Finwick is another useful game, even without a Walkthrough.

The Company of Myself (Walkthrough)

The Water Well (Walkthrough)

Feedback is always welcome.

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

You might also want to explore the 400 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.

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November 23, 2009
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Send A Critter Carol

With the holiday season coming-up, you can send a Critter Carol — dogs singing a Christmas song, with a message you write included. Students can create on, and then post the url of their card on a website or blog.

I’m adding it to The Best Places To Learn About Christmas, Hanukkah, & Kwanzaa.

On the same “pet” site, there’s a pretty accessible interactive that helps you decide what kind of dog is best for you. Students might enjoy trying it.

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November 6, 2009
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Part Forty-One Of The Best Ways To Create Online Content Easily & Quickly

The first part of this post is my usual introduction to this series. If you’re familiar with it already, just skip down to the listing of new sites…

Here’s the latest installment in my series on The Best Ways To Create Online Content Easily & Quickly. As you may remember, in order to make it on this list, the web tool has to:

* be easily accessible to English Language Learners and/or non-tech savvy computer users.

* allow people to create engaging content within minutes.

* host the user’s creation on the site itself indefinitely, and allow a direct link to be able to be posted on a student or teacher’s website/blog to it (or let it be embedded). If it just provides the url address of the student creation, you can either just post the address or use Embedit.in , a free web tool that makes pretty much any url address embeddable.

* provide some language-learning opportunity (for example, students can write about their creations).

* not require any registration.

You can find previous installments of this series with the rest of my “The Best…” lists at Websites Of The Year. Several hundred sites have been highlighted in these past lists. You might also want to take a look at the first list I posted in this series — The Best Ways For Students (And Anyone Else!) To Create Online Content Easily, Quickly, and Painlessly.

You might also want to look at The Best Ways To Create Online Content Easily & Quickly — 2009.

Here are the newest additions:

CREATE A GAME OF HANGMAN: With the Flash Hangman Challenge, you can easily write a phrase, email it to a friend, and it will automatically be turned into a Hangman game that can also be posted on a teacher/student website or blog. No registration is required. I’m also adding it to The Best Sites For Making Crossword Puzzles & Hangman Games.

TALK LIKE AN ELF: K-Mart has just created a “Talk Like An Elf” application. Go to the site, click on Elfspeak, and then record your message or use the text-to-speech option. Your message, which has a pitch that they must figure an elf might sound like, can then be emailed to a friend and the url can be posted on a student/teacher website or blog. You can also embed it, or send it directly to Facebook. It’s a brand new app, and, when I used it a few times, it was a bit temperamental. But I’m sure they’re working the bugs out as I write this.

DESIGN A WEIRD FLOWER: The musical group Black Eyed Peas has created a site called Planting My Ideas. You can use music, images, and words to create your own flower, which would then be posted in the site’s gallery. You can also post the link on a student or teacher’s website/blog, and have students write about it as a language development activity. It’s supposed to inspire creativity.  It’s interesting, fun, and a bit weird.

MAKE A BOOK: With Picture Book Maker, you can easily create a…picture book (including text). It can be saved online or printed out. It’s super-easy to use, plus no registration is required. The url of your creation can be posted on a student/teacher blog or website.

It’s a short list this time, but the next one I’m sure will be filled with a ton of Christmas-related activities.

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June 28, 2009
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Request Some “Bliss” & Develop Language Skills!

In yet another bizarre example of viral marketing, Jamba Juice has created a gimmick that can be very useful to English Language Learners (see my article titled Samuel L. Jackson, My ESL Students, and Me to learn more how I use these web tools for language-development).

Jamba Juice lets you make a virtual Brown Bag Bliss Request. You choose a a face to put on a paperbag, type in a message of something you want in life, and then its text-to-speech feature has a person with that bag over their read speak the message. It can then be posted on your blog or website.

You can learn about many similarly strange apps in my series of posts on creating online content easily & quickly. You can find them on my “The Best…” lists under the Web 2.0 section.

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March 9, 2009
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

Made For Each Other?

Made For Each Other is yet another weird example of viral marketing that can be used as a fun and useful language-learning tool (you can read about how I use these applications here).

I guess it’s connected to advertising to Frito-Lay in some way (though it’s hard to tell how).

It’s too strange to explain, other than to say you connect two creatures to one another and then write a love note for one of them to give to the other. You are then given the link to that note that can be posted on a student or teacher website.

If you have a few minutes left to kill in the computer lab, and you want to give your ELL students a short and engaging writing task, this would certainly be an option.

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February 1, 2009
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Part Thirty Of The Best Ways To Create Online Content Easily & Quickly

Here’s the latest installment in my series on The Best Ways To Create Online Content Easily & Quickly.  As you may remember, in order to make it on this list, the web tool has to:

* be easily accessible to English Language Learners and/or non-tech savvy computer users.

* allow people to create engaging content within minutes.

* host the user’s creation on the site itself indefinitely, and allow a direct link to be able to be posted on a student or teacher’s website/blog to it (or let it be embedded).  If it just provides the url address of the student creation, you can either just post the address or use Embedit.in , a free web tool that makes pretty much any url address embeddable.

* provide some language-learning opportunity.

* not require any registration.

You can find previous installments of this series with the rest of my “The Best…” lists at Websites Of The Year.  Several hundred sites have been highlighted in these past lists.  A number of them are examples of “viral marketing” by companies.  You can read how I use these tools as language-learning activities in the article Samuel Jackson, My ESL Students, And Me.

Here are the newest:

CREATE A TALKING STORYBOOK ADVENTURE: You can personalize your own talking storybook at The Tale Of Despereaux: Storybook Adventure. After you answer a few questions, the site creates a personalized virtual “pop-up” book and provides a link to it.

SEND SOMEONE A “TIP”: Career Builder has created a web tool called Anonymous Tip Giver. I’m not too thrilled with its intent — to send anonymous suggestions to better via an audio message — but it can be adapted for use as an English language learning activity.  You first choose one of several strange-looking characters to deliver your message, and then can type in your message and choose the voice in which you want it spoken. You can also decide to record your own message with an 800 telephone number if you choose. Next, you can send it to the intended recipient anonymously, add your own name and email, or just get the url of your completed message to post on a student or teacher website/blog.

SEND AN ANIMAL E-CARD: The National Zoo at the Smithsonian has a great collection of E-Cards. Not only are there a lot to choose from, but finished cards are hosted by zoo’s server and appear to stay there indefinitely.

CREATE A NEAT-LOOKING ESSAY OUTLINE: aMaps let you create a visualization of a basic essay form — state your position and provide reasons, along with examples. After completing a scaffolded outline, you’re provided with a pretty neat looking visual picture of what you’ve developed, along with the embed code. You can also email the link to a friend or teacher for posting on a blog or website, and then people can respond to what you wrote.

As always, feedback is welcome.

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

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January 30, 2009
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

Send Someone A “Tip”

Career Builder has created a web tool called Anonymous Tip Giver. I’m not too thrilled with its intent — to send anonymous suggestions to better via an audio message — but it can be adapted for use as an English language learning activity.

You first choose one of several strange-looking characters to deliver your message, and then can type in your message and choose the voice in which you want it spoken. You can also decide to record your own message with an 800 telephone number if you choose. Next, you can send it to the intended recipient anonymously, add your own name and email, or just get the url of your completed message to post on a student or teacher website/blog.

There are plenty of sites with easier and better speaking opportunities, or sites where students can use a text-to-speech feature, on various of my “The Best…” lists.  This site is just another option if you’ve got a few minutes to “kill” in the computer lab and want to have students do something a little different.

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January 23, 2009
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Part Twenty-Nine Of The Best Ways To Create Online Content Easily & Quickly

Here’s the latest installment in my series of The Best Ways To Create Online Content Easily & Quickly.  As you may remember, in order to make it on this list, the web tool has to:

* be easily accessible to English Language Learners and/or non-tech savvy computer users.

* allow people to create engaging content within minutes.

* host the user’s creation on the site itself indefinitely, and allow a direct link to be able to be posted on a student or teacher’s website/blog to it (or let it be embedded).

* provide some language-learning opportunity.

* not require any registration.

You can find previous installments of this series with the rest of my “The Best…” lists at Websites Of The Year.  Several hundred sites have been highlighted in these past lists.  A number of them are examples of “viral marketing” by companies.  You can read how I use these tools as language-learning activities in the article Samuel Jackson, My ESL Students, And Me.

Here are the newest:

SEND A TALKING MESSAGE FROM A CHEETAH: Type in a message, and then have Chester Cheetah use a text-to-voice feature to say what you’ve written. Next, email your message so the link can be posted on a website or blog. Better yet, try using Embedit.in so you can embed — in your webpage — any student-created work that only provides a url address.

MAKE A SNOWFLAKE: Make a snowflake, describe it, and post the link on a student/teacher blog or website.

SAY THANKS FOR SOMETHING: Thanks-O-Meter is a very easy way to both help develop “feelings” vocabulary for early Intermediate English Language Learners and provide a writing opportunity.  Without having to register — which is a nice feature in itelf — users can pick from a menu of things they are thankful for (friends, mother, etc.).  Then they can choose from another menu of how what they chose makes them feel.  Finally, an optional next step is to write a little about how you feel.

SEND A LATE HOLIDAY GREETING THAT TALKS: Storyblender is an intriguing video-creation (and mixing) site that is invitation-only right now, but might have some potential for English Language Learners down the line when it goes public.  Right now, though, it does offer — to everyone — a free and easy tool to create a Holiday Letter. No registration is required. Just click on the preceding link and follow the clearly laid-out process. Steps including recording a video and uploading a photo, but you can just skip them and still end-up with a decent electronic holiday greeting that can be linked to or embedded. You can also record a holiday message with a computer microphone, which is particularly useful for ELL’s.

MAKE YOURSELF LOOK LIKE PRESIDENT OBAMA: This one doesn’t quite meet my criteria, since you have to upload your photo (or someone else’s), but it’s fun.  At Obamicon Me, you can easily convert your photo into the style of the well-known campaign poster and add a descriptive word. You can then get its url and, again, use Embeditin to post it on a teacher or student site.

BECOME A STAR OF A HOLIDAY MOVIE: This, too, is a little late, and requires a photo upload.  At My Movie Moment pick a famous holiday movie, upload your picture, and then you become the star. You’re then given the url of your movie.

As always, feedback is welcome.

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

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January 1, 2009
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

The Weirdest Text-To-Speech Site — Ever!

I’ve posted quite a few times about various web tools that allow students to type in words or sentences and then have the computer “verbalize” them. You can find the best of these sites at The Best Reference Websites For English Language Learners — 2008. They’re excellent applications for English Language Learners to help develop pronunciation skills.

Now, here’s the weirdest text-to-speech site ever — Talk To The Plant.

Heinz Ketchup is sponsoring this site that is supposed to determine if talking to a tomato plant will make it grow larger.

On the site you see a picture of two plants (one is a “control” plant).  You type in a “message of love” to the non-control one  and both you and that plant hear it spoken.  You can see for yourself if these “messages of love” have made a difference.

Of course, it could also be a rather unusual way to either introduce or reinforce some of the methodologies of scientific experimentation.

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December 10, 2008
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Two More Christmas E-Cards

Thanks to the Scientific Shamrock blog, here are two more Christmas E-Cards I’m adding to The Best Places To Learn About Christmas, Hanukkah, & Kwanzaa.

One is the Merry Message from Better Homes and Gardens. Have Santa Claus deliver an audio message either by recording your own voice or by using the text-to-speech feature. Students can then post the link to their message on a blog or website.

The Gingerbread Man With Everything
lets you create your own virtual…gingerbread man and send or post the link.

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November 22, 2008
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Decorate Your House (Virtually) For Christmas

With Your Coca Cola Christmas Decoration you can virtually decorate your house, school, or any other building in the world.

You enter the address of the structure you want to decorate and then a satellite image comes on the screen. Next, you choose various Christmas lights in different forms (reindeer, etc.) or design your own on it. Email your creation to yourself or a friend, post the link on a teacher/student blog or website, and then describe it as a language-learning activity. The address itself of the building is not shown in the link — only the decorated building.

It does seem to take a few hours for an email containing the link to reach your mailbox, but other than that slight delay it seems to work pretty easily.

I’m adding this site to The Best Places To Learn About Christmas, Hanukkah, & Kwanzaa.

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August 20, 2008
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Feel Like Singing?

In another example of the ability to use viral marketing in English-language development, English Language Learners can go to the Nokia Musical Mighty site.

There, they can “plug-in” the kind of music they like, then upload their image or choose one on the site, and then, finally, using the text-to-speech feature, they develop their own lyrics to the song that will then be sung by a computer-generated voice. The link to the final result can be emailed or embedded.

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