This post is the third (the first one was Web 2.0 Tools For Beginning English Language Learners – “Phrase.It” and Web 2.0 Tools For Beginning English Language Learners – “Padlet”) in a lengthy series where I will be sharing the Web 2.0 tools that I’m using with my Beginning English Language Learners, along with explaining how we’re using and sharing student examples of each one.

Szoter is a free tool that lets you annotate images. You might be familiar with Thinglink — Szoter is very similar, but doesn’t have as many features as Thinglink (for example, Thinglink lets you create virtual classrooms for free).

Szoter, however, offers one key feature that is missing in Thinglink — you can use it without registering. Being able to use a tool without having to log-on (which means students don’t have to remember registration details which are invariably forgotten — this also means I don’t have to keep a list for when that happens) is, in my mind, a must-have feature for Web 2.0 site I’ll be writing about in this series.

I’ve written a lot about using the Picture Word Inductive Model with Beginner ELL students. A key element of that instructional strategy is annotating a large image related to a theme (food, jobs, school, etc.) and using that as an ongoing classroom learning element.

With Szoter, students can easily create their own personalized versions of these annotated images. For example, we’re studying a unit on “Home” right now. Students who felt comfortable doing so took photos of their homes/apartments and their inside rooms, texted them to me, and I posted them on our classroom blog. They then pasted the image link to Szoter and created their own annotated images. They then pasted links to them in our class blog.

Here’s an example:


Students who didn’t share pictures could then easily grab ones off the web and annotate them.

It’s easy, and the only problem is, as you can see, it’s sometimes a little tricky to get the arrows pointed in the correct direction.  But that’s a relatively unimportant “hiccup.”

I’m adding this post to The Best Online Tools For Using Photos In Lessons.