Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

November 23, 2009
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

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.

Print Friendly

November 6, 2009
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

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.

Print Friendly

June 28, 2009
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

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.

Print Friendly

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.

Print Friendly

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.

Print Friendly

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.

Print Friendly

January 23, 2009
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

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.

Print Friendly

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.

Print Friendly