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 (a short one) 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. 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.
Here are my latest picks:
CREATE A CRAZY IMAGE: Be Funky is a very easy web application that allows you to grab a photo off the web and, among other things, write a “text bubble” for a person or animal in the photo. You can then post the url of your creation. They’ve just added a number of new options, and made the site a lot more accessible. It would be a fun, and useful, writing activity for an English Language Learner. Plus, it’s accessible to all language levels.
MAKE A “BEAUTIFUL CONNECTON”: Nokia lets you choose an artistic creation, type a message that goes with it, and then make an audio recording. You can then email and post the url of the final result on a website.
WRITE A PICTURE STORY: 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.
DESIGN A LOGO FOR YOUR NAME: What A Lovely Name lets you type in a first name and learn about its origin and symbolism. You can actually create a logo for it, and then email the link for posting on a teacher blog or website. It certainly would make for high-interest reading — a student could learn about his/her name or a family member’s or girl/boyfriend’s name. The descriptions are short, simple, and accessible to English Language Learners. Students could use the information they found to do a little more research (if their name has Hebrew origins, they could learn more about what that meant) and share what they learn, or they could just write what the found particularly interesting and why.
The only drawback I saw was that, even though the site appears to have a database of thousands of names, and it definitely includes ones more prevalent in Latino families, there seems to be a dearth of common Asian ones. For those of us with many Hmong, Mien, Chinese, and Vietnamese ELL students (and from other Asian countries) then, using it in the way I suggested isn’t an option. However, you can add names to the database with information, so that in itself be another assignment for an authentic audience.
As always, feedback is welcome.