This is the first of many year-end “The Best…” lists I’m writing. There’s a reader’s poll at the bottom of this post which will close on November 1st.
You might also want to read The Best Ways To Create Online Content Easily & Quickly — 2008.
This list brings together what I think are this year’s seventeen best ways to create online content easily and quickly. 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.
* 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.
You can read here how I have students easily display their work online.
A very small number of the applications that have made it on this list are viral marketing tools. You can read this article about how I use these in the classroom.
I’d like people voting in the poll to select no more than ten of the seventeen tools on the list. Please note that voters will only be able to participate in the poll one time, and (at least theoretically) will be prevented from voting more than once.
If you’re reading this post in an RSS Reader, you’ll have to come directly to my blog in order to vote. For some reason, the poll isn’t included feeds from this blog.
Here are my choices for The Best Ways To Create Online Content Easily & Quickly:
Number seventeen is: BECOME A TALKING STAR TREK CHARACTER: Using the text-to-speech feature, choose a Star Trek character and have him/her speak, then post it on a student/teacher website.
Number sixteen is: DESIGN A WEIRD BACKYARD: Create a decorative backyard, write a message using the text-to-speech feature, and post the link to your Eddiegram on website or send it to a friend.
Number fifteen is: MAKE A QUILT ONLINE: The International Quilt Study Center & Museum lets users create their own quilt. They can then email the link to a friend and/or post the link on a teacher or student website or blog
Number fourteen is:CREATE A “PHOTROPISM”: At Phototropism you “create sculptures that react like plants to weather conditions.” You can then email the link for posting. It’s cool – in a very weird sort of way.
Number thirteen is: 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
Number twelve is:CREATE A DATA VISUALIZATION:The New York Times Visualization Lab looks like it’s going to be a fascinating place to visit periodically. It provides data the newspaper gathers (it looks like they are adding new information regularly) and then users can choose from a variety of different options to “visualize” it. You’re then provided a link and an embed code for your creation. Students could then post it on their own website and describe it. Not only can this be a neat place for English Language Learners to gain a better understanding and analysis of current events through the use of visuals, but it can also offer them higher-order thinking opportunities to try and identify which form of visualization portrays a more accurate perspective
Number eleven is: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.
Number ten is: PUT A CAPTION BUBBLE ON AN IMAGE: Caption Bubble lets you very easily find an image on the web and add a text caption bubble. The link can then be emailed and/or posted on a student or teacher blog. I’ve posted about this site before, but it appears to have gotten even better. You can find many other similar tools on my website at Student Photos.
Number nine is: WRITE A FORTUNE FOR A FORTUNE COOKIE: Unfortunate lets you do just that. There are other similar web applications out there, but those seemed to have example fortunes that were inappropriate for the classroom.
Number eight is: DRAW A PICTURE (& TYPE TEXT): Any Canvas lets you draw something, and includes a lot of “bells and whistles.” You can type in text as well, and post the link to your creation on a blog or website.
Number seven is: BECOME A TALKING POTATO: With Spud Yourself! you can turn your image into a talking potato (or use one of the site’s pictures). By using the text-to-speech feature, English Language Learners can develop their language skills in a fun way through writing and listening. You can post the link to your talking potato on a teacher or student blog/website.
Number six is: SEND A HEALTHY E-CARD: The Centers For Disease Control have a huge collection of E-Cards related to health. You can add your own message, email it to a friend/teacher, and then post the url on a website or blog.
Number five is: CREATE A NEAT-LOOKING ESSAY OUTLINE: aMaps let you create a visualization of a basic essay form – state your position and provide reasons, along with examples. After completing a scaffolded outline, you’re provided with a pretty neat looking visual picture of what you’ve developed, along with the embed code. You can also email the link to a friend or teacher for posting on a blog or website, and then people can respond to what you wrote.
Number four: CREATE AN INFORMATIONAL MAP: Show/World & Show/USA (which are on The Best Map-Making Sites On The Web list ) lets you create visual representations of information using maps. Students can then embed their creations on their blog/website and describe what they’ve done.
Number three is: CREATE A TALKING ANIMAL: Talking Pets lets you do it. You can choose a pet picture, or upload your own. Then, using the text-to-speech feature, you can have it say a short message, then email the link for posting on a blog or website.
Number two is: 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.
And, now, the Number one tool to create online content easily and quickly is: POST ANYTHING ONLINE IN SECONDS: File2.ws lets you, without registering, quickly upload any document and turn it into a webpage. This is an extraordinary tool. You can see examples of how my students used it to create multilingual materials on swine-flu prevention. Students can create anything, for example, using Microsoft Word, and immediately turn it into a webpage. (unfortunately, it appears hat File2.ws has now gone out of business — Crocodoc is a new, and even better, substitute).
Below you’ll see the poll. Remember, people can only vote once. The sites are listed in the reverse order that you’ll find within this post — my choice for number one is the first one listed in the poll widget.
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You might also want to explore nearly 300 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.
Great post Larry! Our site Timelines (http://www.timelines.com) lets people record and share history with photos, videos, text, maps and timelines. Check it out for next year’s contest!
This is a great list indeed. I haven´t taken a vote yet because I haven´t had the time to check all the nominees.
Anyway, from what I have seen so far, I love Any Canvas best because you can not only draw but also upload images to the background, add text and then grab the code to embed the final product. A versatile tool that can lend itself to very creative work in the classroom.
Thanks for sharing this!
Great post! I will check out many of these sites and be looking forward to the list for 2010. I have used http://www.elfyourself.com at Christmastime to send funny greetings to friends via e-mail. You type in a message and add a picture. Then the program pastes your head on dancing elves and they sing your message. It is kind of like Spud Yourself!