I’ve already posted The Best “Fun” Sites You Can Use For Learning, Too — 2009, but I’ve collected enough new sites to warrant posting a Part Two.
These are websites that were not designed with education in mind, but which can easily be used for learning purposes — particularly, though not exclusively, for English language development. I only hope that creators of “educational” content can learn from the qualities that make these sites so engaging.
I’m not listing these sites in any order of preference.
Here are my picks for Part Two Of The Best “Fun” Sites You Can Use For Learning, Too — 2009:
In my classes I help students learn academic vocabulary. One new word has been “interpretation” and its various forms. I usually show students several optical illusions that can be found at various sites. Then, they have short conversations with other students about what they see:
“What is your interpretation of what’s in the picture?”
“It seems to me that there’s a ……”
Here is a new resource for illusions that can be used in this way:
The British newspaper The Telegraph has fifteen video and audio illusions.
Students can pick some of these photos to write about or describe, or they can be used in class as part of the Picture Word Inductive Model teaching strategy:
See 15 Of The World’s Strangest Animals.
Fun videos are always useful. If you have a computer projector, students can watch them using the “Back-To-The-Screen” activity (read how to do it at The Best Popular Movies/TV Shows For ESL/EFL). Or, if you don’t have a projector, you can do a similar activity if you’re at a computer lab. Or you can just have everybody watch the same video and write about it as a class.
Most of these videos are from YouTube (which is likely blocked by school content filters), but some of them are worth using a converter to download into your laptop or a service like EdublogsTV or Watch Now to show to students. They’re great for English Language Learners – short, engaging videos that students can then write about and discuss.
Here are my video suggestions:
This is an amazing video of 3D Projections on buildings.
In addition to the ideas I’ve mentioned on how to use videos, I had my Theory of Knowledge students watch the Ted Talk “The Raspyni Brothers juggle and jest” and have them first identify how the jugglers made what they did and the objects they used look “new” to viewers and, secondly, discuss how mathematicians, historians, artists and scientists use those same techniques to study the world. Students shared some brilliant stuff!
ONLINE VIDEO GAMES:
I’ve written about how I use online video games as language-development activities with my students.
Here are some of particularly good ones that came out recently:
The Ballad of Ketinetto is an online video game series excellent for English Language development. Here are the most recent games in the series, along with links to their “walkthroughs” (instructions on how students can win — see my article for how to use them):
The Ballad of Ketinetto 3 (Walkthrough)
The Ballad of Ketinetto 4 (Walkthrough)
The Ballad of Ketinetto 5 (Walkthrough)
The Ballad of Ketinetto 6 (Walkthrough)
Finwick is another useful game, even without a Walkthrough.
The Company of Myself (Walkthrough)
Feedback is always welcome.
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You might also want to explore the 400 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.
Just wanted to point out that the comments of the 3D animations on the buildings contain an interesting discussion on whether the video is real or photo-shopped. I think I will show this in class and then ask the class to determine if they think it is real or not and discuss their views. It should bring about a great discussion about critically viewing info. Thanks for the link to this video.