Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

June 24, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

This Week In Web 2.0

'Web 2.0 paljastaa' photo (c) 2011, Janne Ansaharju - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

In yet another attempt to get at the enormous backlog I have of sites worth blogging about, I’ve recently begin a regular feature called “The Week In Web 2.0.” (you might also be interested in The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2016 – So Far). I also sometimes include tech tools that might not exactly fit the definition of Web 2.0:

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.

Richard Byrne writes about a revamped version of Google Sites that will be appearing in the near future.

Speaking of Richard, he’s now up to 300 practical videos explaining how to use different ed tech tools!

Here’s an example focused on Adobe Spark, which is on my “Best” list (see link at top of this post) for web tools and which may end up ranked number one new tool at the end of the year:

The Roll looks like it could be a useful app for automatically organizing photos on our phones.

June 15, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
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The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2016 – So Far

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As regular readers know, it’s time for me to begin posting my mid-year “The Best….” lists. There are nearly 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

I don’t rank my mid-year lists, but do place them in order of preference in my end-of-year lists. Just because a tool is on this mid-year list does not mean it will make the cut for the year-end version.

Feel free to let me know if you think I’m leaving any tools out.

Here are my twenty-one choices for The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2016- So Far (not ranked in any order):

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.  It has the potential to join the “All-Time Best” list, but I still need to spend a little more time with it before I make a decision.

Google unveiled a new collaborative space called…Spaces. It appears to be a private space where invited users can share posts, photos and links.

Now, any teacher – including clueless ones like me – can experiment with a new Minecraft Education Edition for free over the summer. Check it out here.

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.

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.  It, too, has a chance to join the “All-Time Best” list after I spend more time with it.

Opinion Stage is a free and easy tool for making online tests, polls and lists.

Pablo lets you create visually attractive quotes and provides access to over 50,000 royalty-free images.

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.

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….

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.

The KnowMe app is the one Web 2.0 tool I’ve 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.

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.

Having an easy tool that students can use to create online lists with commentaries — books, movies, figures in history, etc. — can come in handy. Unfortunately, the ones I use to recommend and use have all gone under. Now, Intralist has opened-up for business. You’re limited to five items, but you can easily add images and commentary, and people can leave comments.

June 9, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
2 Comments

Teachers Can Try-Out New “Minecraft Education Edition” For Free This Summer

minecrafat

I’ve never tried Minecraft, and don’t have a clue about how it works. However, I know a lot of kids love it and some teachers use it (I’d love to hear in the comments about their experience).

Now, any teacher – including clueless ones like me – can experiment with a new Minecraft Education Edition for free over the summer. Check it out here.

I heard about it at TechCrunch, which shared a number of details, including saying that the cost per student come fall will be between $1 and $5.

For others who are equally uninformed, you might want to read The Minecraft Generation, a big New York Times article that came out a couple of months ago.

I’m adding this info to The Best Sites Where Students Can Work Independently & Let Teachers Check On Progress.

May 31, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

“FoxType” Looks Like A Very Versatile Writing Site

Daniel Willingham sent a tweet this morning about a site called FoxType Sentence Tree that would automatically diagram sentences.

I guess if you’re really into grammar – as fan who is proficient in English or as an advanced English Language Learner who thinks it could be helpful – it’s a site to bookmark. For someone who is definitely not into sentence diagramming, I nevertheless thought it was pretty cool and found it to be very accurate the several times I tried it out:

diagram

I also noticed the site had a number of other features, and some of them seemed particularly interesting to me.

One was a visual thesaurus. It seemed a little less “busy” than others I have on The Best Reference Websites For English Language Learners list, but I have to say that in testing it out not all of the displays looked as attractive or as accurate as this one:

happiness

They also have a text editor that seems to provide decent feedback on writing that’s submitted, and I’m adding that resource to The Best Online Tools That Can Help Students Write An Essay:

foxtype

You get to use all the tools for free during an extended period, and then they just ask you to pay what you think it’s worth.

All in all, it’s a very intriguing site.

May 25, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

The Week In Web 2.0

'Web 2.0 paljastaa' photo (c) 2011, Janne Ansaharju - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

In yet another attempt to get at the enormous backlog I have of sites worth blogging about, I’ve recently begin a regular feature called “The Week In Web 2.0.” (you might also be interested in The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2015). I also sometimes include tech tools that might not exactly fit the definition of Web 2.0:

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. I’m adding it to:

The Best Ways For Students Or Teachers To Create A Website

The Best Tools For Creating Visually Attractive Quotations For Online Sharing

A Potpourri Of The Best & Most Useful Video Sites

ClipChamp is an easy tool to make and share five minute “talking head” videos from your webcam. I’m adding it to the “Potpourri” list.

I’m always looking for free online video editing tools that students can use, and Videorama looks like a good app for the job. You can read more about it at TechCrunch. I’m adding it to Not The “Best,” But A List… Of Online Video Editors.

Speaking of videos, I posted in March about Instagram’s announcement that they were going to increase the length of videos you could make with the app from fifteen seconds to one minute. They’ve now done that, in case you haven’t noticed, and it’s a godsend to teachers and students alike. I’ll be sharing videos my English Language Learners and my IB Theory of Knowledge students are making with it.

Three Ways to Share Your Screen and Lend Tech Help is from – who else – Richard Byrne. I’m adding it to The Best Screenshare Tools To Help Others With Computer Problems.

The link in this next tweet shows some pretty interesting ways to use online tools for virtual professional learning communities:

May 16, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Google Launches New Collaborative Space Called…Spaces

spaces

Google unveiled a new collaborative space called…Spaces today. It appears to be a private space where invited users can share posts, photos and links.

I might be off-base, but I wonder if it’s Google’s attempt to create a Ning-like tool.

You can read more about it at TechCrunch, Google tries its hand at social again with launch of group chat app, Spaces.

I’m adding it to The Best Online Tools For Collaboration — NOT In Real Time.

April 23, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

The Week In Web 2.0

'Web 2.0 paljastaa' photo (c) 2011, Janne Ansaharju - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

In yet another attempt to get at the enormous backlog I have of sites worth blogging about, I’ve recently begin a regular feature called “The Week In Web 2.0.” (you might also be interested in The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2015). I also sometimes include tech tools that might not exactly fit the definition of Web 2.0:

Quizlet has released a new game-playing tool called Quizlet Live. It looks good, is free, and you can learn how to use it here. It seems somewhat similar to Kahoot and other like-minded classroom games, with the primary difference being that students can play in teams (however, Kahoot has just added that team feature – I assume, in response to Quizlet). You can read more about it at EdSurge and at Richard Byrne’s blog.

Speaking of Kahoot, The NY Times ran a story on them, Kahoot App Brings Urgency of a Quiz Show to the Classroom.

Participate lets teachers collect different learning resources.

Sean Parker relaunches Airtime, a video chat room for watching – together is a TechCrunch post about a new app that lets users create a virtual room. I’m adding it to The Best Online Tools For Real-Time Collaboration.

Snapchat Explained by Students to Teachers is from Richard Byrne’s blog.

It’s about time: a round-up of time-lining tools is from Joyce Valenza. I’m adding it to The Best Tools For Making Online Timelines.

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