As regular readers know, I’ve recently begun posting my end-of-the-year “The Best….” lists. There are nearly 1,400 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.
* appropriate for classroom use.
* completely browser-based with no download required (however, I’ve begun to make exceptions for special mobile apps).
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 2014.
You might want to visit previous editions, as well as The “All-Time” Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education and The “All-Time” Best Ways To Create Online Content Easily & Quickly:
Usually, I rank each Web 2.0 on this list from bottom-to-top. This year, though, I had a lot of difficulty with the ratings, so I’m doing it differently. Three sites stand above all others (“The Best Of The Best”), and are the only two this year that I’m adding to The “All-Time” Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education. You’ll find them at the bottom.
Just up from those three are nine others in the “Excellent” — they’re good, but not quite at the “all-time” level. They’re not ranked within those ten — I think they’re all equally useful.
The first sites I list are new ones that are good, but just not useful enough to make the “Excellent” category. I’m calling them “Very Good.” They also are not ranked within that category.
Here are my thirty-three choices for The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2014 (Feel free to let me know if you think I’m leaving any tools out):
The Very Good New Web 2.0 Applications For Education
* Zaption looks like a useful tool for creating interactive videos for students.
* Pixteller, is another tool that lets you easily create visually attractive quotations.
* Google has unveiled Google Classroom, which looks like a one-stop shop for teachers and students. It’s free, with no ads, and describes itself as providing the ability to
* Appear.in seems like a super-simple video conferencing site for up to eight people that doesn’t even require any registration.
* 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.
* Sketch Toy is a simple and useful online drawing tool.
* Flip Quiz is an easy site that lets you create an online Jeopardy-like game board that students can play.
* ExamTime is sort of a flashcard site on steroids that provides a number of other tools, too.
* Learning Pod looks like a nice place to create online quizzes.
* Function Carnival is a new site that lets you set-up virtual classes, have students watch videos, and then have them create graphs based on what they see. I don’t really understand it, but it looks cool, Dan Meyer helped create it (which means it has to be good), and you can read more about it here.
* ClassFlow is a new tool that was unveiled by Promethean in January. It looks pretty interesting, though I’ve got to wonder what it’s cost structure is going to end up being. I suspect that Promethean isn’t going to make it entirely free forever, but maybe I’m just being cynical. It seems like a pretty easy tool for teachers to use to create multimedia presentations for the classroom and, apparently, provides a way for students to respond to teacher questions (I didn’t explore that feature). I also think it would a useful tool for students to use to create lessons that they would teach to their classmates.
* Biteslide looks like a fairly easy tool to create slideshow-like presentations.
* Gibbon lets you easily create what they call “flows,” which are basically lists of web resources with instructions written by the flow’s creator. I think Gibbon has ambitious plans but, for teachers, it’s an easy tool for teachers to create Internet scavenger hunts for students and for students to create them for their classmates.
* Bookopolis lets teachers create virtual classrooms — for free — where students can identify the book they’re reading (they just have to type in the title and the site automatically “finds” it) and write a review. There are a number of other features, too. It seems like a very useful site, though I’m less-than-thrilled with the extrinsic points and badges students can earn.
* I have a fairly popular The Best Tools For Creating Fake “Stuff” For Learning list. The fake “stuff” I’m referring to includes newspaper articles, sports “trading cards,” iPhone conversations, Facebook pages etc. These can be used for conversation practice, to create reports on historical figures (or on natural disasters or on just about anything) and for numerous other learning activities. Simitator is another one I’m adding to the list. It lets you create “fake” Facebook pages, Twitter threads and more. Unfortunately, though, you have to download your creation — it won’t let you link to it (most of the other tools on my Best list let you save them as Web pages.
* I’m always on the look-out for tools that allow students — and teachers — to create online personalized “newspapers” to read and to share. In other words, sites that let you create topics that then provide daily attractive webpages to read, along with sending you daily email updates. I keep updating The Best Sites For Creating Personalized “Newspapers” Online because my favorite ones keep on going out of business. The previous owners of The Washington Post have created an excellent new one called Trove.
* Heganoo looks like a very nice and easy online map-making site. After a quick registration (though I never received a confirmation email, but was still able to use the site without it) you can identify any location or locations on a map and make it a point-of-interest where you can add text, links and, most importantly as far as I’m concerned, an image by just pasting its url address. That ability to add an image via web address is a bit unusual for map-making sites.I’m adding it to The Best Map-Making Sites On The Web.
* Comment Bubble lets you have a virtual discussion via comments on any video.
* One my most popular posts is about a tool called News Jack (see Easily Make Your Own Unique (& Fake) CNN, NY Times, Etc. Website With “News Jack”). Reader Uday Ogra tells me about a new similar site called Create News.Sites like these are engaging tools for students to write about historical and literary events, though I still wonder how they fit in with copyright laws….
* I’m a big fan of having students both read and write Choose Their Own Adventure stories (see The Best Places To Read & Write “Choose Your Own Adventure” Stories).One big problem I’ve found, though, is that there hasn’t really been a super-easy way for students to create their own. Thanks to reader “Grubie,” though, I think I might have found one. It’s called Rootbook. The site has lots of choose your own adventure stories you can read without registering or signing-in. In addition, if you register (which takes seconds), you’re also given the ability to create your own. And it seems to be pretty easy to do so — the only trick I found was that you have to make sure to upload a photo cover page first to your story or else it won’t let you continue.
* Liberio is a new tool that says it will let you turn any Google Drive document into an eBook. It also says it lets you upload and use a document from your computer.
The Excellent New Web 2.0 Applications For Education
* I’m always looking for great tools that students can use, especially my IB Theory of Knowledge students, to save links to articles and websites when they’re doing research. In addition, it’s a bonus when I can find one that’s especially accessible to English Language Learners — those stand-out by have the ability to show images of sites and not just text links. Start.me is a new one of these “home-page” creators that looks like it fits both those bills. It’s free, doesn’t require any kind of browser bookmarklet to use (in other words, you can just copy and paste url addresses). One of its features that I really like is that it seems to have the ability to let you embed any webpage just by pasting its url address.
* My Storybook lets students easily create simple virtual books with text and images/characters you can insert with a click. You can also draw your own.
* PixiClip is a neat drawing tool. It 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,”
* Curriculet lets teachers assign what appears to be books in the public domain (though I might be wrong on that) and embed quizzes and questions into them.
* TUZZit is a free online graphic organizer tool that provides lots of different options of organizers (you can also create your own); lets you paste online images videos, virtual post-it notes and more onto them; and then you can share your creation with online collaborators. In some ways it seems like an Exploratree on steriods (that site is on Not “The Best,” But “A List” Of Mindmapping, Flow Chart Tools, & Graphic Organizers list). In other ways, it reminds me of tools on The Best Online Virtual “Corkboards” (or “Bulletin Boards”) list.
* There are lots of sites out there that let you create virtual “corkboards” and you can see them at The Best Online Virtual “Corkboards” (or “Bulletin Boards”). Padlet (formerly known as Wallwisher) is probably the most well-known tool of this kind. Richard Byrne shared about a new site that might end up being the best of the bunch. It’s called Stoodle.
* Canva is a new tool for creating infographics.
* slidebean is a new free tool for creating online slideshows. It provides multiple formats and the ability to search the Web, within the application, for images. I’ve added it to The Best Ways To Create Online Slideshows.
* Stupeflix, which is on Not The “Best,” But A List… Of Online Video Editors list, has launched a free iPhone app called Replay that — at least to me — looks very, very Animoto-like. It lets you easily turn your photos into music videos. I’m assuming there are lots of differences between the two, but I could only find two in my admittedly quick try-out of Replay, and both came out in Replay’s favor: one, the process appeared a lot faster than in Animoto’s app and, two, Replay appears to provide a number of features that Animoto requires you to pay (admittedly, not a lot) for…
The Best Of The Best New Web 2.0 Applications For Education
* I learned about the free Shadow Puppet Edu (what appears to be a premium version of the more commercial Shadow Puppet app) through an article in ASCD Educational Leadership, and am very, very impressed. It has a bunch of bells and whistles that I haven’t even explored yet but, at its core, it’s an iPhone/iPad app that lets you pick photos and super-easily (and I do mean easily) lets you add audio narration to each photo and create a slideshow.
* 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.
* Write About is a new site co-founded by educator John Spencer (his name may be familiar with readers since I’ve previously shared his work many times here). His co-founder is Brad Wilson. Write About provides many (and I mean many) images with writing prompts. Students can write their response and do an audio recording of it. Teachers can create virtual classrooms and provide individual written feedback to student writing. Student creations can be shared publicly or just with their classmates. Teachers can change prompts or upload their own photos. There’s a lot more, too. Plus, you can’t beat the cost (or non-cost):
Teachers can sign up and participate in the Write About community for free. Up to 40 free student accounts can be created with up to 3 posts each. Unlimited posts can be added with a Classroom account for $4.95/month. Teachers with multiple classes can add up to 250 students with unlimited posts for $7.95/month.
I think Write About is going to be an exceptional site, in particular for English Language Learners. It combines visual imagery, writing, speaking and listening – not to mention an authentic audience.
I’m looking forward to hearing readers’ reactions to this list!