January 23, 2009
by Larry Ferlazzo
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.
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