Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

April 29, 2008
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Create Your Own Yard

Lowes lets you create your own yard. Users develop and maintain their virtual backyard, and can add all sorts of stuff to it (coincidentally, Lowes sells all this “stuff.”).

It’s nice interactive that provides a number of opportunities to English Language Learners for vocabulary development. You can save your creation, but you don’t get a unique url address that you can post. Instead, you have to input your email address to access it. Of course, it would be pretty easy just to have students make one up and post the link to the Yard Creator along with the pseudo email address so others can access it. Students could then write about their yard, too.

You can read here about how I use viral marketing applications like this one to help teach English Language Learners.

I’ll be placing the link somewhere on my Examples of Student Work page.

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April 19, 2008
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Part Thirteen Of The Best Ways To Create Online Content Easily & Quickly

Here’s the latest in my series of The Best Ways To Create Online Content Easily & Quickly. You might want to review Part One to get some background on this series of posts.

You might also want to check all my other “The Best…” lists. In fact, this one is somewhat of a milestone — it’s the fiftieth one I’ve done.

Here are some additional sites where English Language Learners, and others, can create engaging online content easily and quickly — without any registration needed:

CREATE YOUR OWN WORLD WAR II PROPAGANDA FILM: You can use the Propaganda Film Maker to combine images and audio to try convincing the public to support World War II. It’s a good site to us as part of a history lesson.

DESIGN A TALKING POSTCARD FROM A VACATION SPOT: Using this viral marketing campaign, you can take advantage of something called the Bluegreen Vacation Time Machine to pick a geographical location, use the text-to-speech feature, and email a url address talking about your make-believe trip. It’s a good language-development activity, as well as serving to reinforce some geographical info.

BE A PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Choose your candidate and pretend that you are him or her. You can record your message with a computer microphone or call a toll-free number (or they can call you). Then email your impersonation to a friend or teacher and post the url.

CREATE THE END TO AN “APPRENTICE” EPISODE: You can watch a short version of the ridiculous television show The Apprentice and then make your own ending. Then email your creation to a friend or teacher and post its url address on a blog or online journal. This seems to work well with Firefox, but it may have some problems with Internet Explorer.

SEND SOME BEAUTIFUL CHINESE E-CARDS: The National Palace Museum in Taiwan has some great Asian artwork you can easily write about and then send to a friend or teacher for posting.

SEND AN E-CARD FOR MOTHER’S DAY: With Mother’s Day coming up in a few weeks, students could send some nice ones from Fun Punch, Up To Ten, Kidlink, and/or Toons Canada. You can post the url address of all the cards you create.

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February 16, 2008
by Larry Ferlazzo
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One More Site For The Best Ways To Create Online Content

I forgot to include one other site in my three-part series “The Best Ways To Create Online Content Easily, Quickly, & Painlessly.”

This last one is a viral marketing ad from an athletic shoe manufacturer.  You write a message, and a founder of the “free-running” sport runs over the letters of your message.  You can then email the link to a teacher or friend.

You can find it at K Swiss Free Running.  It was a little buggy when I tried it, so you probably want to be patient until it completely loads.

I’ll be placing the link somewhere on my Examples of Student Work page.

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February 1, 2008
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Get Munked

Get Munked is the latest weird example of viral marketing that might be useful to English Language Learners (see my TechLearning article from last year about viral marketing in the ESL classroom).

As a marketing gimmick for the new Chipmunks movie, you can record your voice or use a text-to-speech feature to have one of the singing Chipmunks speak your words.  You can then email its url for posting on a website or blog.

I suspect it won’t do much to help English Language Learners with their pronunciation to hear a Chipmunk version of what they say or write,  but it might be a fun little activity to do at the end of a Friday class.  And anything that promotes speaking or writing in English is certainly an asset.

I’ve placed the link on my Examples of Student Work page under Student E-Cards.  It’s not really an E-Card, but a strange-sounding chipmunk didn’t deserve its own section on my website.

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January 16, 2008
by Larry Ferlazzo
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“Tricked Out” Mouse

In yet one more weird example of viral marketing (see Samuel L. Jackson, My ESL Students, And Me),  student can create a very strange-looking computer mouse at Tricked-Out Mouse.

As bizarre as it sounds, there are actually quite a few vocabulary-building opportunities here for Beginning English Language Learners as they can put tank treads, different colors, and a zillion other items on their virtual mouse.

They can email their creation to themselves or a teacher, and then post the url and describe it on an online journal or blog.

I’ve placed the link on my Examples of Student Work page under Student E-Cards.

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January 13, 2008
by Larry Ferlazzo
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UPS Whiteboard

I was watching one of the football playoff games on TV today and saw a UPS ad that showed a guy drawing on a whiteboard.  The ad invited viewers to go to an online UPS Whiteboard.

In another example of viral marketing, users can write a message, email it to a friend, and have the UPS guy write it on a whiteboard.  Whoop-de-doo!  It sounds weird, but it’s apparently a big sensation.

If you’ve got a few minutes of deadtime at the end of a computer lab session, you could have English Language Learners use it and then post the url of their message on a blog or online journal.

You can read more how I use viral marketing gimmicks (most are a lot better than this one) as language development tools in this article I wrote for TechLearning.

I’ve placed the UPS link on my Examples of Student Work page under Student E-Cards.

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December 17, 2007
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Send A Message On A Cruise Ship

Yes, it’s time for another strange example of viral marketing.  You can send a Sea France Christmas Card.

This virtual card includes not only a Christmas song, but you can also write a message that will appear on the side of a virtual cruise ship.

English Language Learners might have a little fun with this, as well as getting some writing practice.

I’ve placed it on my Examples of Student Work page under Student E-Cards.

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November 29, 2007
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Be A Holiday Rock Star

Holiday Rock Star is one more bizarre (but useful to English Language Learners) example of viral marketing.  You can choose an image, or upload your own; decide on a holiday song; sing it karaoke style; and then email it to a teacher or friend.  The url can be posted on a teacher’s website or online journal/blog.

For newer readers of this blog, you might want to see an article I wrote for TechLearning last year describing how I use viral marketing as a language-development tool in the classroom.

I’ve placed the link on my Examples of Student Work page under Student Songs.

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November 27, 2007
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Smile Slideshow

Colgate has just begun offering the opportunity to create a Smile Slideshow that is a great activity for Beginning English Language Learners.

In it, users easily choose a variety of photographs.  Then, you drag-and-drop words to make a sentence or to describe the photos.   Next, you pick a word to describe the “mood” of the show, followed by choosing musical accompaniment.  Finally, you can email the link to the show for posting to an online journal or blog.

It’s a neat way to build some vocabulary.

I’ve placed the link on my Examples of Student Work page under Student Slideshows.

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November 9, 2007
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Neat New “Movie-Making” Site

Mashable posted today about a neat new site called Blink Box.  It’s another example of viral marketing, and I’ve written before how I use these advertisements with English Language Learners.

Blink Box is basically focused on selling DVD’s to people.  Once you register (it takes a minute) you can choose from numerous different movie clips.  You easily edit a clip of less than one minute, and then write a short message.  You then email the url and post it on a website or blog.  Here’s one I developed in about thirty seconds. 

The marketing part of it comes at the end of your “blink box” when you can click and purchase the movie if you want.

This is a quick, easy and fun opportunity for English Language Learners to practice their listening and writing skills to edit a video clip and connect it logically to a short text they write.

I’ll be posting this link on my Examples of Student Work page under Student Movies.

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October 27, 2007
by Larry Ferlazzo
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More Weird Viral Marketing Gimmicks

I’ve got two more strange marketing gimmicks used by companies to advertise their sites or products.  In both of them, English Language Learners and others can write a message and then, using a text-to-speech feature, have a bizarre creature speak it.  It can be emailed, and then the url posted to a blog or online journal.

You can send a Halloween eCard and have a scary-looking guy from the “Carnival of Carnage” speak what you write.

You can also send a speaking message from something called Dude Mail.

I’ve placed links to both sites on my Examples of Student Work page under eCards.

You can read more about how I use viral marketing devices with English Language Learners here.

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October 22, 2007
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Create a “Time Pod”

A viral marketing campaign for a new movie coming out allows users to create a virtual “time pod” (basically, a time capsule) and then virtually shoot it out into space.

English Language Learners can think about what comments they would want people to read one hundred (or one thousand) years from now and write them down, add the urls of online videos, and upload photos.  They can also view the time pods that others have already made.  The sponsors of the site say they screen for appropriate comment.

I’ve placed it on my Examples of Student Work page under Student Time Pods.

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October 21, 2007
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Send a Message From the Transformers

Ed Tech Life posted about this newest viral marketing effort — send a talking Ecard from the Transformers (of movie and comic book fame).

Users answer a few questions (a couple might be confusing to people not familiar with the Transformers) and then an audio message incorporating those answers will personalize the email you are sending.

This link joins many, many other viral marketing gimmicks that are useful to English Language Learners on my Examples of Student Work page.

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October 9, 2007
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Send A Message From Bollywood

As regular readers of this blog know, I have scores of examples of “viral marketing” tools on my Examples of Student Work page and have written articles about how to use these web applications to help English Language Learners.

I just learned about another fun example from Bionic Teaching.  You can create a Bollywood movie at Bombay TV, email it, and then post the url on a blog or online journal.  It’s just another creative opportunity for English Language Learners (or other students) to practice writing.

That same post shared another viral marketing tool I hadn’t heard of called Sprint Sweets.  That one allows you to send neon-sign e-Cards.

I’ve added both to my Examples of Student Work page.

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September 21, 2007
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Like A Rolling Stone….

Dylan: Send Someone A Message is a viral marketing site promoting a Bob Dylan  “greatest hits” album that’s coming out in October.

In it, you can create a “burma-shave” kind of message on ten sheets a young Bob Dylan shows one after another.  You then email it to a friend.  If you’re using it in class you can post the link on a blog or online journal.

It’s sort of neat, especially if you’re a Dylan fan.  It’s an opportunity for English Language Learners to write (in a strange way, to be sure).  But it would be a nice combination with the study of a Dylan song or two, like “Blowin’ In the Wind.”

I’ve placed the link on my Examples of Student Work page under, what else, but Student Messages From Bob Dylan.

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September 14, 2007
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Improv-A-Gram

Something called an Improv-A-Gram is a new viral marketing gimmick being used to advertise Tyson Chicken (don’t ask me what the connection is, though).

In it, you first pick an occasion to send your E-Card, then one of three improvisational  actors, then an attitude, next a costume, and finally you can type in a message you want to send someone.   You can then hear it spoken back to you before the E-Card is sent.

It’s as weird as it sounds.

But it’s another fun opportunity for English Language Learners to write something that they can hear spoken back to them, and then post the url on a blog or online journal.

I’ve placed the link on my Examples of Student Work page under Student Impro-A-Grams.

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September 2, 2007
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Make A Vitamin Water Commercial

In, yet again, another weird use of viral advertising, you can make a Vitamin Water Commercial.  Students choose the flavor they want; then decide on the character they want to “sell” it; next write what they want their character to say; and, then, finally, their character will say it using a text-to-speech function.  You can then email the url of your commercial to be posted on a blog or webpage.

In addition to giving English Language Learners the chance to hear what they write, this also is an opportunity for them to begin to learn what “persuade” means.

I’ve gotta’ say, though, that these viral marketing gimmicks are getting stranger and stranger.  It’s difficult for me to imagine why anyone would do this if they weren’t a language learner, but, obviously, people do.

I’ve placed the link on my Examples of Student Work page under Student Vitamin Water Commercials.

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August 14, 2007
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Design Your Handbag?

Design Your Handbag is a site from Freddy and Ma (which, apparently, is popular handbag company) where you can design your own handbag. 

Students can email the url of their design, have it posted on a teacher’s webpage or on their own blog/online journal, and then describe it.

I don’t know how well my male English Language Learner students will like the activity, but I’ve got a strong suspicion the young women will love it!

I’ve placed the link on my Examples of Student Work page under Student Handbags.

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July 22, 2007
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Create a Talking Otter

Build Your Ottogram allows you to design your own otter, including clothing, headgear, and sunglasses, and then have him/her say what you want him/her to say (through a text-to-speech feature).  You can email the url, and then have it posted on a website.

I don’t know where they come up with this stuff, but it’s great for English Language Learners.

I’ve place the link on my Examples of Student Work page under…..Student Talking Otters.

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