Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

April 9, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

“Booktrack” Lets You Read Books With Soundtracks & Make Your Own

booktrack

Booktrack Classroom has books in the public domain online to which they’ve added “soundtracks” — music, street sounds, etc. In addition, students can create their own soundtracks to books that they write. Even better, teachers can create virtual classrooms with assigned readings and/or to share their own creations. And, best of all, it’s free.

You can read many of the books without having to register, but must do so in order to create them. It’s very, very easy to create your own books — the site has lots of sounds and music you can add to the text. Oddly, though, it doesn’t seem to provide the option of recording your own narration or sound effects. With those features, it would make it particularly useful to English Language Learners and also make it a more engaging creative activity for everyone.

Also, unfortunately, only people registered on Booktrack can see your finished product. It would be nice if it would be accessible — either though a link or an embed — to others.

Without those last three options, the book creation tool could still be a nice alternative to “mix it up” a bit after using other tools on The Best Places Where Students Can Write Online list.

I could see the ability to read the public domain books as helpful to non-English Language Learners (the books available are too high level for ELLs). I know some students like to listen to music while they read, and having this as an option could make it an attractive option that provides audio that might be less distracting and more classroom appropriate than other music students might choose.

Check the comments for Booktrack’s response to some of my concerns

I’ll be adding this site to The Best Sites That Students Can Use Independently And Let Teachers Check On Progress.

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April 6, 2014
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 , 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 2013). I also sometimes include tech tools that might not exactly fit the definition of Web 2.0:

LearnClick, and online cloze-maker (fill-in-the-gap), has re-introduced limited free services. It’s worth checking-out.

Google+ has added a feature of showing the number of times you’re posts have been “viewed.” Go to your profile page and you can see it. I wouldn’t put much stock in it — I think it’s just their feeble effort to prove it’s not a “Ghost Town.” As you can see from the screenshot below, it says my posts have received nearly 4 million views, which is an insane number that has no relation to reality:

googleplus

Yakit and Yakit Kids are iPhone and iPad apps that let’s “any photo talk.” I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Beginning iPad Users and to The Best Sites For Beginning iPhone Users Like Me.

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April 1, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Lingua.ly Launches App ELLs Might Like

ling

I’ve previously posted about Lingua.ly, a very useful Chrome extension for people learning another language, including English (see Lingua.ly Is A Useful Tool For Second-Language Learners).

In fact, it’s on The Best Websites For English Language Learner Students In 2013 list.

They just launched their first mobile app (it’s Android-only now, but they should have a version for the iPhone, too) that appears to be an engaging flashcard-learning tool and one that automatically identifies appropriate-level Web articles to read. You can learn more about it at TechCrunch.

I’ll have students try it out today in class and, for now, I’m adding it to The Best Mobile Apps For English Language Learners.

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March 30, 2014
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 , 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 2013). I also sometimes include tech tools that might not exactly fit the definition of Web 2.0:

Sketch Toy is a simple and useful online drawing tool. You can learn more about it at Richard Byrne’s blog. I’m adding it to The Best Art Websites For Learning English.

Tapestry is both an online tool and an app that has multiple storymaking tools. You can read more about it at TechCrunch.

I’ve previously posted about SAS Curriculum Pathways and Literably. SAS has tons of useful resources, and has just added the ability for teachers to create virtual classrooms and have students record reading assessments, which teachers then listen to and assess. Literably also has students record reading assessments, and they do the assessment (though they have recently reduced the number of free ones they will do). Personally, I don’t think anything beats a teacher doing it one-on-one with a student — both in terms of data and in terms of building relationships but, if used appropriately, I think an audio recording can be useful.

How to get Copyright Free Images is an excellent post by Phil Longwell. I’m adding it to The Best Online Sources For Images.

Can’t Get There From Here? Try a Google Hangout is by Peter DeWitt. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning What Google+ Is All About.

How to Get Started with Microsoft Office on iPad is from Read Write Web. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Beginning iPad Users.

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March 29, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
2 Comments

“Tools for flipping your class”

'back flip' photo (c) 2007, Rachelle Meyer - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Ana Maria Menezes, whose Life Feast blog is a must-read for any ESL/EFL/ELL teacher, has just put together an excellent list of “Tools For Flipping Your Class.”

I’m embedding it below, though I’m not sure if it will show up in an RSS Reader.

It’s a pretty exhaustive list, but she’s inviting others to add to it. All you have to do is click “ADD TO LIST.” I’m not sure if you have to go directly to the List.ly website to make those additions, or if you can do it with the embedded version in this post. Ana will be checking it regularly to avoid duplications.

I, too, have various “flipped” tools listed on two “Best” lists — The Best Posts On The “Flipped Classroom” Idea and A Potpourri Of The Best & Most Useful Video Sites. I haven’t gotten a chance yet to compare Ana’s list to mine.

Check it out!

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March 24, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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“Scrawlar” Will Certainly Be One Of The Top Web 2.0 Tools Of The Year…

scrawler

Scrawlar lets teachers create virtual classrooms, lets students write and use a “whiteboard,” doesn’t require student email registration (just a classroom password and a student-created sign-in code, and is free. It’s also usable on laptops, desktops, tablets and phones.

It doesn’t get much better than that!

For now, I’m adding it to The Best Sites That Students Can Use Independently And Let Teachers Check On Progress, but I assume I’ll be adding it to other “Best” lists, too.

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March 22, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
2 Comments

English Language Learners Design Their Own “Ideal” Neighborhoods

I’ve written a lot about my annual favorite lesson of the year for English Language Learners — students first identify what neighborhood qualities are most important to them; they then analyze their neighborhood and the wealthiest one in Sacramento (including through field trips and statistical analyses); next they decide which one they think is the best; and then they write a persuasive essay sharing their reasons. Every year, and this one has been no exception, at least ninety-percent choose our school’s neighborhood over the “Fabulous Forties.”

You can read their essays here and you can see a complete description of the unit plan at A Lesson Highlighting Community Assets — Not Deficits.

But their essay is not the culminating task for this three-week unit.

Lastly, they have to design their own ideal neighborhood; write about what they have put in it and why, as well as who lives in it. Then, they use Fotobabble to show their design and record a summary of what they wrote about it.

Here are some examples, and you can see the rest at our class blog.

This whole lesson is just another way to reinforce that, just as our ELLs bring far more assets than deficits to the table, so do our neighborhoods….

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March 15, 2014
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 , 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 2013). I also sometimes include tech tools that might not exactly fit the definition of Web 2.0:

Resurrect is a cool Google Chrome extension that automatically seeks out old copies of dead webpages.

I’ve previously posted about List.ly, a useful tool to make…lists. The Edublogger just published an interview with its founder.

Verso is a web tool for students to watch video, and is particularly useful for “flipped” classrooms. You can read more about it at Richard Byrne’s post. I’m adding it to The Best Posts On The “Flipped Classroom” Idea.

Revolutionaries around the world add new social media networks to tech toolkit
is a really interesting piece at The PBS New Hour.

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March 7, 2014
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 , 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 2013):

Quizlet for learners: a step-by-step guide is by Lizzie Pinnard, and is excellent. Quizlet is on The Best Tools To Make Online Flashcards list, so I’m adding this link there.

Teacher Training Videos has an excellent video tutorial on using Google Docs/Google Drive.

I recently posted Getty Images Has Just Become The Number One Source For Images In Social Media — Choose From 40 MILLION! Here’s a useful piece in The Atlantic giving more information about it: Why Getty Going Free Is Such a Big Deal, Explained in Getty Images.

Common Core, Book Trailers, and Three Good Tools for Creating Them is a helpful post from Richard Byrne that shares several web tools. Though it’s obviously Richard’s post, and not mine, I’m going to add it to the section of My Best Posts On Books: Why They’re Important & How To Help Students Select, Read, Write & Discuss Them where I have several other book trailer-related posts.

Tumblr Now Lets You Dial A Toll-Free Number To Post Audio To Your Blog is a TechCrunch post. I’m adding it to The Best Sites For Students To Record Audio By Phone.

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March 5, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Getty Images Has Just Become The Number One Source For Images In Social Media — Choose From 40 MILLION!

Getty Images has just unveiled an embed feature for 40 million of their photos, making them available for non-commercial use.

40 MILLION! That’s a lot of images.

However, that’s less than a third of the photos on their site, so after searching with a keyword, you have to look for photos that have the embed symbol (circled) on the bottom right, as in the screenshot below:

getty2

I don’t see how you can resize the images (though perhaps someone can tell me how that is possible) but, if so, you can’t have everything :)

The image at the top of this post is an example of how a Getty Image looks when it’s embedded.

Of course, I’m adding this info to The Best Online Sources For Images.

You can learn more about this new Getty feature at TechCrunch and at The Verge.

Thanks to Yoni Appelbaum for the original tip.

NOTE: Getty embedded images do show-up in an RSS feed. However, they apparently are not “Pinnable” on Pinterest.

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March 3, 2014
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 , 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 2013):

Flip Quiz is an easy site that lets you create an online Jeopardy-like game board that students can play. Thanks to a Journey In TEFL for the tip.

Common Core in Action: Screencasting in the Fourth Grade Math Classroom is a useful post from Edutopia that shares screencasting tools for the iPad:

A screencasting app gives children the ability to create a video that shows them writing on their iPad screen and captures their voice as they solve a word problem.

I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Beginning iPad Users.

It isn’t exactly a fit for this post, but I’m still sharing about the new Google Maps Gallery here. Google has created this portal where lots of groups can share their Google Maps, and there are some pretty impressive resources. Here are three posts that share more about it:

Google Launches Maps Gallery To Make Public Data Maps More Discoverable is from TechCrunch.

Google Maps Gallery Wants To Be The Internet’s Digital Atlas is from ReadWrite.

Google Releases the YouTube of Google Maps is from Google Maps Mania.

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March 2, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
2 Comments

New & Easier Embedding Options For Pinterest

'Pinterest' photo (c) 2013, Gustavo da Cunha Pimenta - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

I use Pinterest a lot (you can see my Boards here), and share a lot resources there you won’t find on this blog.

I’ve liked the site since it came online, but they’ve been a lesson on the worst ways to handle embedding their content. At first, it was quite easy. But then, they changed the system to a cumbersome two-step process and made all their old embeds defunct — in other words, if you had used their first system, most of those embeds stopped working!

However, it appears that they now may have learned from their mistakes. Now, embedding pins is a simple one-step process — click on a pin, then click on the forwarding arrow at the top next to the “send” button, and you’re given a simple embed code for that pin.

Plus, they’ve also created a embeddable widget that looks like a combination of a user’s boards that you can place on a website or blog. Here are their simple instructions on how to get it:

1. Visit your profile
2. Click the < > button to preview your widget and get the code you need to add it to your site

I’ve just put this widget on my sidebar:

Visit Larry’s profile on Pinterest.

I’m adding this info to The Best Guides To Figuring Out Pinterest.

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February 24, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Using “Dvolver Moviemaker” With English Language Learners

movie

Dvolver Moviemaker has been a longtime favorite of many English teachers around the world.

Students can very, very easily create short animation — with music and dialogue bubbles — to tell a short story. The final creation can be embedded in a blog (though its embed code is not very elegant) or, as I usually do, just post the link.

I’ve used it in many ways. We’ve been learning how to write a persuasive essay and, after studying gangs, today students used Dvolver to demonstrate their understanding of “What I Think; Opposing Position; and Counter-Argument.”

It was a useful, and fun, formative assessment. I’ve embedded one example below (actually, I wasn’t kidding about their embed code — it messed up my entire blog, so I’m just including the link here), and you can see more here at our class blog.

Here are examples some of my previous students have created.

Dvolver is already on The “All-Time” Best Ways To Create Online Content Easily & Quickly list, and I’ll add this post to The Best Web Tools For English Language Learners (In Other Words, The Ones My Students Regularly Use).

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February 24, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
2 Comments

The “All-Time” Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education

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I’ve been posting annual lists of the Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education for seven years.

I thought it would be useful for readers, my students, and me to review them all and identify my choices for the “all-time” best ones.

I’ve begun creating a number of these “All-Time” Best list, with The “All-Time” Best Ways To Create Online Content Easily & Quickly being the first one. Some of the sites there could easily be on this list, too. However, I’ve put all sites that don’t require registration over there.

Look for quite a few more “All-Time” Best lists over the next couple of months.  I think readers might find these lists helpful, but I’m primarily creating them for my students to experiment and help me decide if all these tools should stay on this list or not.

There are over 1,200 Best lists now that are categorized and updated regularly.  You can see them all here.

In order to make this “All-Time” list and, in fact, to make any of my annual Web 2.0 lists, a site has 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.

These sites are not listed any any order of preference.  These are also ones for students to use — I’m not necessarily including ones I that I use regularly — those are for another list.

Let me know if you think I’m missing some…I know I am. Even though I’ve reviewed many of my previous lists, I didn’t do an exhaustive search, so I’ll be adding more tools to this list in the coming weeks (and years!).

Here are my choices for The “All-Time” Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education:

I use Pinterest daily. However, in the vast majority of schools, it is never going to make it past Internet content filters for students. eduClipper is basically a Pinterest for schools. It has the potential of sort of being an “all in one” tool for the classroom, serving the same purposes as sites on The Best Social Bookmarking Applications For English Language Learners & Other Students list and on The Best Online Virtual “Corkboards” (or “Bulletin Boards”) list, as well as serving other functions.

Haiku Deck, an iPad app which now has a Web version, may very well be the best tool for creating online slideshows that are out there. It’s  on The Best Ways To Create Online Slideshows list.  Richard Byrne has made a tutorial explaining how to use the web version.

I’m a big proponent of the Picture Word Inductive Model as a strategy for English Language Learners to develop reading and writing skills (I describe it in detail  in my article in ASCD Educational Leadership, Get Organized Around Assets). It begins with the teacher labeling items in thematic photos with the help of students. The webtool Thinglink could be a great deal to help ELL’s maximize the advantages of this instructional strategy. Thinglink lets you upload or grab an image or video off the web and annotate items with the image or video super-easily. It basically looks like a photo in the Picture Word Inductive Model, just online.  Thinglink recently unveiled the ability for teachers to create virtual classrooms.

MarQueed is like a Thinglink  on steroids and allows collaborative annotation.  You can read more about it here.

Meograph is a cool web tool that lets you create an audio-narrated digital story with an integrated map.  You can also grab images off the web.

Easel.ly  is hands-down the easiest tool I’ve seen on the Web to create infographics. You just “drag-and-drop” a variety of themes, type in your data, and you’ve got a great infographic.

Lesson Paths (formerly MentorMob) lets you very easily create a slideshow. Webpages, videos and photos can be grabbed from the web and added, along with notes. It’s easy to use, very intuitively designed so just about anyone can figure it out, and attractive.

The free web tool Inklewriter is, without a doubt, the easiest way to write a choose your own adventure story. I’m tentatively putting it on this “All-Time” list, thought I’m not sure if I’m going to keep it here.  I’m going to have my students experiment with it a little more this year.

Magisto is an Animoto-like service that lets you upload several short videos and it then somehow “recognizes” the most important parts and turns it into a magically-produced one minute video.

Popplet is an app that is like Wallwisher on steroids. You can make an online “bulletin-board” with virtual “post-its” (called “popplets), just like in Wallwisher. And, except for the fact you have to register to use it, Popplet is just as easy and, in some ways, easier to use with a lot more functionality. With Popplet, you search for images and videos on the Web directly within the “popplet” instead of copying and pasting the url address (as you need to do in Wallwisher). You can draw within the “popplet” and it doesn’t appear to have an limit on the number of characters you can use. You can connect the “popplets.” You can also embed the whole thing.

educaplay is a great free tool where you can easily create a ton of different kinds of educational interactives that you can link to or embed in your site. These include Riddles, Crosswords, Wordsearch Puzzle, Fill in the texts, Dialogues, Dictations, Jumbled Word, Jumbled Sentence, Matching, Quizzes, and Maps. For at least some of the them, including dictation, it provides the ability to record audio.

Scoop.it lets you “scoop it” into your own personalized newspaper (that’s what I’m calling it, not them) which you can then share. It’s an ongoing process.

Fotobabble, is a neat application where people can post photos along with an audio description.

Sitehoover is an application that lets you create a personal homepage showing thumbnail images of your favorite websites. You can also organize them into separate “folders. It can be very useful to students doing research, or identifying their favorite language-learning site.

Tripline is a great map-making application. You just list the various places you want to go in a journey, or a famous trip that has happened in history or literature, or a class field trip itinerary, and a embeddable map is created showing the trip where you can add written descriptions and photos. You can use your own photos or just through Flickr. Plus, you can pick a soundtrack to go with it as it automatically plays through the travels.

Quizlet is  on The Best Tools To Make Online Flashcards list.  In addition to letting you create and study flashcards, it also lets you study the words in “game” forms.  Plus, it allows voice recording for some features.

Zunal is an easy way for teachers (and students) to create webquests. I know there are some specific parameters involved in using the term “webquest,” so you can also use Zunal to create much simpler “online scavenger hunts.” At their most basic, it can be a series of questions students have to answer, along with links to websites where the information can be found. Zunal also acts as the host for the webquest or scavenger hunt after its been created.

“The Digital Vaults”  is an entry into the vast resources of the National Archives, and allows you to use those resources to create your own movies, posters, and what it calls “Pathway Challenges” to… challenge others to find connections between a series of images, documents, and other resources you put together.

ESL Video is a super-easy to take pretty much any video off-the-net and create a quiz to it. It’s designed for ESL/EFL students, but it can also be used by and for mainstream students.

VoiceThread lets you upload pictures and create an audio narrative to go along with them. In addition, audio comments can be left by visitors.

Animoto lets you easily create musical slideshows.

Screencast-o-Matic lets you easily upload PowerPoints and provide audio narration.

Stay is a great tool for students to plan virtual trips. I use it a lot in my Geography classes.

Since Slideshare is blocked for students in my District, I favor Authorstream as the preferred tool that students use to upload and then post PowerPoints on our class blogs.

And, speaking of class blogs, of course, Edublogs needs to be on this list!

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February 23, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
2 Comments

The “All-Time” Best Ways To Create Online Content Easily & Quickly

best

I’ve been posting annual lists of the Best Ways To Create Online Content Easily & Quickly for seven years.

I thought it would be useful for readers, my students, and me to review them all and identify my choices for the “all-time” best ones. These web tools are excellent ways for English Language Learners, and others who might not be very tech-savvy, to have a good experience working with technology.

In order to make it on this list, web tools must be:

* accessible to English Language Learners.

* able to provide a learning opportunity.

* available at no-cost.

* able to be used to easily create engaging online content within minutes.

* willing to host user-created work indefinitely on the website itself.

* appropriate for classroom use.

* accessible without requiring registration.

Here are my choices for The “All-Time” Ways To Create Online Content Easily & Quickly:

Pinwords allows you to create attractive illustrated quotes and lets you grab images off the web to use. Quozio is a similar site. And you can find others at my recent post, The Best Tools For Creating Visually Attractive Quotations For Online Sharing.

Phrase.it lets you easily add speech bubbles with your text to photos. You can upload your own, or choose a random image from the site. You’re then given a link to your creation.

Google’s Peanut Gallery  lets you create subtitles for a variety of old silent movies. The special twist, though, is that you create the subtitles by speaking into a computer microphone and they will then magically appear. You have to speak very clearly though, so it may, or may not, work well for English Language Learners.  One negative, however, is that it only works in the Chrome Browser.

I Wish You To lets you easily draw and create your own Ecards, which you can post, embed, and/or send to someone — and no registration is required.

Google has a tool called “Story Builder.” Without having to register, you can create a “dialogue” of sorts, add music, and end up with a link to a video-like presentation that you can share.

I Fake Siri lets you create a fake conversation — in text — with the new iPhone voice feature Siri. You can then link to, or embed, your creation. It’s just another fun opportunity for ELL’s to practice writing, reading, and speaking.

QikPad lets you write collaboratively with anyone you want, and you can then link to, or embed, whatever you come up with….

Our Mother Tongues is a very impressive site that’s designed to support and preserve Native American languages. It’s very engaging, and includes a “language map,” videos and more. One of its very neat features is that it allows you choose a virtual audio postcard with a Native American greeting that you can send to someone. You can also write a personalized message on it. You’re given a unique url address, and it can be posted on a student/teacher website or blog.

With News Jack, all you have to do is paste the url address of any website and you’re immediately given the tools to easily transform its homepage into looking however you want it to look. Without having to register, you can make the New York Times highlight photos and articles of your great basketball-playing ability; have CNN focus on covering what was happening in 1776, or The Huffington Post reporting on the first Thanksgiving dinner. You can easily grab images off the web or your computer to insert, as well as text. You can then click “publish” and you’re given the url address to your creation so it can be shared with the world.

Croak.it lets you easily record a thirty second message with a computer microphone. You then get a unique url address that you can share. No registration is necessary.

Try out Google Docs new demo that lets you write collaboratively with your favorite dead famous writers. Then you get to save and share your creation. As Next Web explains:

A “famous writer” will start typing and then it’s your turn. Once you’ve typed in the next line, the writer takes over
tildee lets you very easily create a simple step-by-step tutorial for just about anything. You can add text, maps, videos and photos.

Cardkarma is a neat eCard site for many occasions. Without registering, you can search Flickr for any photo and turn it into an eCard you can send and post.

Fakebook is a tool over at the excellent ClassTools site (Russel Tarr is the creative genius behind the site). Teachers and students can use it to:

- chart the career of a historical character
- create a timeline of important events
- outline the main plot of a book, play or film
and so on!

At Isle Of Tune, you create music by creating a city. Yes, that’s right, you “drag-and-drop” different parts of a city — homes, cars, trees, etc. — and each one has a musical tone. Then click “Go” and the car prompts the different elements to do their thing. No registration is required, and you’re given the url address of your creation to share. As a bonus to English Language Learners, the different parts of the city are labeled, so students can pick up vocabulary at the same time. Plus, they can describe their musical creations.

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.

Bounce lets you virtually annotate webpages. Just type in the url address, make notes on it (perhaps students can demonstrate their use of reading strategies like making a connection or asking questions) and then post the link on a student/teacher blog or website.

Five Card Flickr Story lets you pick five photos from a group of pre-selected images from Flickr and then write a story about them. It saves your selection and story, and provides you with a link to it. No registration is required.

Phreetings lets you search for an image (it appears to use Flickr, but I can’t be sure), drag and drop it on a virtual card, and then write something below it (it looks like you can write a lot there). You’re then given the url to copy and paste. During our study of natural disasters, for example, I can see my students finding an image labeled “Katrina” and writing a short report on what they’ve learned so far about the hurricane.

You can use the Propaganda Film Maker to combine images and audio to try convincing the public to support World War II.

Many ESL Teachers are familiar with Bombay TV, Futebol TV and Classik TV, which let you create subtitles for various clips (you can guess what kind of clips by each of their names).

Szoter doesn’t require registration, you can upload or grab images off the web (just insert its url address), and the final product looks just like an image would look like using the Picture Word Inductive Model (learn more about the PWIM at The Best Online Tools For Using Photos In Lessons).

Bubblr is a super-easy tool to use for adding “speech bubbles” to online photos.

Create a slideshow with Bookr.

The Art of Storytelling is a site from the Delaware Art Museum that allows you pick a painting (they don’t use photos, but the site is so good I decided to include it in this list anyway), write a short story about it, record it with your computer microphone, and email the url address for posting on a student website or blog. It’s extraordinarily simple, and extraordinarily accessible to any level of English Language Learner. No registration is required.

PixiClip is a neat drawing tool that lets you make a drawing and record either audio-only or a video to go along with it. It also lets you upload an image from the web and “mark it up.” The audio-plus-drawing capability could really come in handy for English Language Learners. .

Here’s an example:

TxtBear is great — you can create a document using Word, for example, and upload it to the Web for free. TxtBear create a url address for it.

Testmoz is an app that lets you create an online, self-correcting quiz without having to register.

Jeopardy Labs lets you easily create an online Jeopardy game without having to register. Maybe I’m the only teacher who feels this way, but I’ve always found that playing Jeopardy the way they do on TV — giving players the answer and then they have to come-up with the question — to be overly confusing for students in the classroom. When I’ve played it in class, I’ve just given the questions and had students have to say the answers. Given my feelings about this, even though it’s super simple to use this tool to create the game, I tell my students to ignore the site’s instructions and just write the questions first and the answers second so that the board displays the question.

Padlet (formerly Wallwisher) lets you make a virtual wall of “sticky notes” where you can include images, text, and/or videos. Inductive learning is a key part of our teaching at Burbank, and we use what are called “data sets” as a major component of those lessons.  After students categorize the info in these data sets, they can summarize them and use them to create Padlets, as our students did in our Nelson Mandela unit. You can see many examples of their creations in our class blog.

My students have been completing Internet Scavenger Hunts, which are basically a series of questions along with links where they can find the answers. We’ve just been grabbing ones we find on the Web and putting them on our class blog for students to complete, but there’s no reason why students now can’t start making their own. Their classmates can then complete them. Even though there are relatively simple sites that are solely devoted to the creation of scavenger hunts and more sophisticated Webquests (see The Best Places To Create (And Find) Internet Scavenger Hunts & Webquests), I think, for our purposes, just having students come up with a few questions, then list a url address where they can find the answers, and then list a few more questions, etc. would be sufficient for what we want to do. For that purpose, I don’t there’s anything easier than a site like Copytaste ( Others include Loose Leaves, Dinky Page, Just Paste It, and Page O Rama ). Students just have to make the list of questions and websites and the page is automatically converted into a website whose url address can be pasted on our class blog.

Create an online poster with Tackk.

Use Dvolver Moviemaker to create short animations with text bubble dialogue. You can see many examples of these films on my Examples of Student Work page.

Create a cartoon at MakeBeliefsComix and the Toronto Public Library Tell-A-Story Builder.

Zee Maps lets you create maps, mark places, and add media.

Scribble Maps is a neat application that lets you create maps — with markers and images that can be grabbed off the Internet — and you can draw on it, too. Plus, no registration is required.

Let me know if you think I’m missing ones that should be on the list. I’ve posted about many more, but just included the ones that I thought were the very best….

You can see all 1,200 “The Best” lists here.

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February 13, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Haiku Deck Announces iPhone Version That Lets You Control Your Presentations

haiku

Haiku Deck, an iPad app which now has a Web version, may very well be the best tool for creating online slideshows that are out there. It’s  on The Best Ways To Create Online Slideshows list.  Richard Byrne has made a tutorial explaining how to use the web version, though it’s pretty darn easy to use.

Now, they’ve just unveiled a iPhone app that, among other things, lets you use it as a remote control when you’re showing you’re slides at a meeting.

You can read all about it at a TechCrunch post.

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February 13, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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“Thinglink” Announces Free Virtual Classrooms

I’ve previously posted about Thinglink, the online photo annotation tool that is sort of like a Picture Word Inductive Model for the Web (I describe the PWIM in detail in an ASCD Educational Leadership article, Get Organized Around Assets.

Thinglink basically allows you to label any image you choose. I’ve embedded an example at the bottom of this post.  It’s already on The Best Ways To Use Photos In Lessons list.

They’ve just announced a free education program that lets teachers create virtual classrooms where students can enroll and teachers can see their work. You can read more about it here.

It looks good, and I’m adding it to The Best Sites That Students Can Use Independently And Let Teachers Check On Progress.

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February 13, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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This Free Site Will Review Your Work & Show You How To Write It Like Hemingway Would…

hemingway

Thanks to Katherine Schulten, today I learned about the Hemingway app, a fun site that will evaluate your writing and tell you how to change it to Hemingway’s style.

I’ve included a screenshot above of what it had to say about what I believe is the best piece I’ve ever written for publication, Videotaping teachers the right way (not the Gates way).

As you can see, it told me the piece was “OK.”

Thanks, Papa :)

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February 6, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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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 , 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 2013):

ExamTime is sort of a flashcard site on steroids that provides a number of other tools, too. I’m adding it to The Best Tools To Make Online Flashcards.

Five-Minute Film Festival: 8 Interactive Video Tools for Engaging Learners is from Edutopia. I’m adding it to A Potpourri Of The Best & Most Useful Video Sites.

Learning Pod looks like a nice place to create online quizzes. You can learn more about it at Richard Byrne’s blog. I’m adding it to The Best Ways To Create Online Tests.

The mobile app Bloop It lets you easily clip a twenty second clip from any video and send it to a friend. I’m adding it to The Best Tools For Cutting-Out & Saving Portions Of Online Videos (Or Annotating Them).

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February 4, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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I Just Updated My “Best” List Sharing Tools To Annotate Webpages & It Sure Got Smaller

'Strange annotations' photo (c) 2006, Alexandre Duret-Lutz - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

I’m always on the look-out for web tools that can mimc a key instructional strategy I use with students in the classroom — having them use post-it notes to annotate books or articles so they can demonstrate their use of reading strategies (asking questions, making connections, etc.).

I just updated Best Applications For Annotating Websites, and was shocked to see how many of the tools I had listed had gone out of business.

There are still several good sites there, but it’s a considerably smaller list than it used to be….

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