As regular readers know, it’s time for me to begin posting my mid-year “The Best….” lists. There are over 1,700 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 2017.
You might want to visit previous editions, as well as The “All-Time” Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education; The “All-Time” Best Ways To Create Online Content Easily & Quickly and The “All-Time” Best 2.0 Tools For Beginning English Language Learners.
I don’t rank my mid-year lists, but do place them in order of preference in my end-of-year lists. Just because a tool is on this mid-year list does not mean it will make the cut for the year-end version.
Feel free to let me know if you think I’m leaving any tools out.
Here are my twenty-five choices for The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2017- So Far (not ranked in any order):
Publishthis.email lets you create a website via email. You can read more about it at Richard Byrne’s site. I’m adding it to A Few Simple Ways To Introduce Reluctant Colleagues To Technology.
Quiznetic is a Kahoot-like tool that lets you create learning games in various racing forms. Students can then “race” each other in answering the questions and see their positions. It appears to be free, and seems simple to use.
Google unveiled AutoDraw, a free site that uses artificial intelligence that provides a series of guesses about what you are drawing. You can choose the right “guess” to pretty-up your artistic creation, write up some description, and then download it or share the link. The image above is an example. This is perfect for English Language Learners – instead of spending tons of time getting their drawing “just right,” they can, instead, have fun drawing quickly and spend more time on the language part of the exercise. And it’s great for ESL teachers, too – no more working hard trying to draw images of scenes for vocabulary items to support language acquisition. Now just draw a few lines, project it onto the screen, and you’ll be able to show a masterpiece. I’m adding this info to The Best Art Websites For Learning English.
Apple released a neat new free app called Clips. You can read a very good – and detailed – explanation of its features at TechCrunch. It’s billed as a video-editing tool, and it seems like an excellent and simple one. I’m always on the look-out for one of those since I have my IB Theory of Knowledge students periodically make videos, so Clips definitely gets added to the Not The “Best,” But A List… Of Online Video Editors list. But it’s much more than just a video-editor. It has the “stop-action” ability of Instagram video (press to video, stop, press again), it provides flowing text you want to display by recognizing the words you say (a particularly useful tool for English Language Learners) and, even though it’s an Apple product, it’s easy to share videos to whatever platform you want to use. So, because of those features and others, I’m also adding it to The Best Resources For Learning To Use The Video Apps “Vine” & Instagram.
Loopy lets you create interactive simulations – just by drawing. This is how they describe themselves:
It’s the ancient, time-honored way of learning: messing around and seeing what happens. Play with simulations to ask “what if” questions, and get an intuition for how the system works!
Raw code is too inaccessible. Also drag-and-drop is too mainstream. But with LOOPY, you can model systems by simply drawing circles & arrows, like a wee baby
I don’t quite get it, but my post about it was quite popular, so apparently a lot of readers do….
StoryShares lets teachers create virtual classrooms for free and offers a collection of books that students can read. Even better, there’s an option that provides audio of the text in a pleasing-to-the-ear-voice. The best part of the site, though, is that students can also write and publish their own books to share. I’m adding it to The Best Sites Where Students Can Work Independently & Let Teachers Check On Progress.
SlideBot lets you type the text you want to appear in each slide and then uses its software to design your slideshow in seconds. It’s pretty neat, and they’ve just unveiled a free education version. Unfortunately, if you want to be able to export it or use it in full-screen mode, it will cost $15. Those restrictions might make its use in education somewhat limited. However, I could also see some pretty major advantages, including eliminating the extensive time that some students spend on slide design. In addition, having students use SlideBot even a few times could be a good learning experience about good design of slides – its software appears pretty powerful based on my testing it out. I’m going to purchase the $15 dollar license for myself because it seems to create slideshows that are a hell of a lot better looking than the ones I create manually. In many ways, it’s a non-animated version of “My Simple Slideshow,” which automatically creates animations from text (see Wow – “My Simple Show” Is An Extraordinary Tool For Creating Free Video “Explainers”). I’m adding this info to The Best Ways To Create Online Slideshows.
Story Friend is a new iPhone app that may have potential. It lets you create slideshows (like a zillion other apps). However, this one lets you include content from other social media accounts, too – sort of a like a mobile Storify tool.
Dotstorming is an online collaborative tool that allows groups to work together and vote on preferences. It’s like a bunch of other similar tools, though this one stands out because it lets you easily search for and post images. I’m adding it to The Best Online Tools For Real-Time Collaboration.
PortfolioGen lets students easily create online portfolios of their work. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Developing Student Portfolios.
Pinup is the latest addition to The Best Online Virtual “Corkboards” (or “Bulletin Boards”).
Stormboard, which is free for educators at least through July, 2017, is a nice new collaborative online “corkboard/bulletin board” where you can share “stickies,” including photos, videos and text. I’m adding it to the very popular The Best Online Virtual “Corkboards” (or “Bulletin Boards”).
I’ve written some past posts about the work of Philip Tetlock (Quote Of The Day: “beliefs are hypotheses to be tested…” and The Best Resources On The Importance Of Knowing What You Don’t Know). He’s particularly known for his work in developing a science of “forecasting.” He recently unveiled a site called Good Judgment where users can forecast an answer to a question and, when and if the action takes place, is “scored” on their forecasting ability. Users make a prediction, then share their reasoning, and you can link directly to individual’s forecasts. This seems to me to be an excellent way for students to write for an authentic audience, which is why I’m adding it to The Best Places Where Students Can Write For An “Authentic Audience”
Recap is a new tool designed to have students create short videos highlighting their reflections on the learning they’re doing in the classroom. I’m adding it to A Potpourri Of The Best & Most Useful Video Sites.
Animaker looks like a pretty simple tool for creating online animations. It has lots of premium features, but you can make five for free. I’m adding it to The Best Ways For Students To Create Online Animations.
Telegra.ph lets your create a webpage without having to register. You can read more about it at Richard Byrne’s blog. It’s similar to a number of other sites, including Loose Leaves, Just Paste It, and Instablogg.
Google Sites opened its new version to the public for creating websites.You can read all about it at TechCrunch. I’m adding it to The Best Ways For Students Or Teachers To Create A Website.