Assignment 1A — Annotated Resource List for English Teachers

I have evaluated web based resources for an English Teacher in the Middle School or High School level 7-12.

Here are the websites I evaluated:

Writing.com:  K-12 writing forum, with free tools, readings, contests

Grammarly.com An app for correcting and teaching spelling and grammar

https://edsitement.neh.gov/  A high end literature site offering content, activities, media, and lesson plans for High School students.

http://www.readwritethink.org   A site offering educators the “highest quality practices in reading and language arts instruction”

http://cct2.edc.org  An introductory site to teaching digital literacy in the classroom. The website offers reasons to teach it, how to teach it, and provides sample lessons that can be used as springboards for further study

 

Visuwords.com  A website that defines words by creating a colourful mind map that associates the word with adjectives, homonym, antonyms, similar word groups, and usage

 

I evaluated the websites on the following criteria:

AUTHORITY: Who is the content creator?  Is the author and EXPERT or PEDESTRIAN?

FUNCTIONALITY:  Is the web resource EASY TO USE or A BLACK HOLE OF INFO?

CURRENCY: UPDATED or NON DATED?  I didn’t put too much stock in this area, since unlike Science or Social Studies, English resources are not as time sensitive.

COVERAGE: “You’ll find what you’ll need” or “Maybe, but it will take some digging”

GRADE LEVEL MATCH:  K-12 or 7-12?

Here are my findings laid out in table format.

Web Content Annotated Resource List

Let’s explore some of these websites for their use in supporting a lesson, unit, or entire course.

Writing.com:  Unless you want to spend your entire prep searching for content, this is by far the most unfriendly user site.  It’s part blog, part resources, part writing forum, part advertisement.  Writing.com started early (2000) and was probably the center for English teachers just beginning to check out online material.  But they haven’t done anything in the past decade to upgrade their site’s functionality.  I wish a better, more organized website would buy their name, because that’s the only thing they have going for them.

Grammarly.com:  Although I haven’t used it, I think I will install it on my FireFox and MS word software.   As a teacher, I would encourage all my students to edit their papers using this app before peer editing and handing it in.  Not only does it detect and correct, it explains the mistake in a side bar.

edsitement.neh.gov:  The .neh.gov stands for National Endowment for Humanities, so you know you are getting top quality, scholarly resources from this site.  By far the best resource site I evaluated.  Organized, functional, easy to navigate, the site offers digital and media student resources for English teachers, as well as suggested lesson plans, activities, tasks, that can all be used in a wider study of unit.  The material is organized under different genres and headings for easy searches.  The content is mature and for the upper high school level, and I would use it to solidify unit themes.

readwritethink.org:  Content is submitted by teachers but passes through two literacy educators using the benchmark of Classroom Tested and Evidence-Based teaching.  Most of the content submitted is for individual lessons, and could be use to reinforce unit themes or ideas, or for just something fun as a unit completion.

Digital Literacy:  Although the content is a decade old (2005) the resource is simple to use and unique in its presentation. There are activities that students take the same digital media (sound, image, movie) and put it in different contexts to see how it affects the message.  Decoding the Meaning, Critical Thinking Problem Solving and Decision Making  is one of six components of BC’s  Digital Literacy Framework

I’ve never encountered a site that offers activities for decoding meaning with digital media, and I think this would be an excellent additional resource for approaching the subject.

Visuwords:  A fun site that maybe students could explore for a lesson and use as a digital tool.  My mind does not work with mind maps, but for the visual learner they may gravitate to this fantastic technology.  However, using Visuwords for an entire unit of study may prove challenging.  A possible idea is to look up coded language or expressions during a novel study, that doesn’t translate as smoothly from the dictionary definiton, and decode them using visuwords.



1 comment so far ↓

  • #   lkondos on 10.23.16 at 3:40 pm     Reply

    Hi Delano,

    I think you did a solid job on evaluating your websites. Grade level match is also an important criteria, and one I did not add to my list, although I did find myself searching for exactly that. I have used Readwritethink before, but find their material often a little lacking in terms of quality or grade level. I suppose it is a subjective thing.

    Thank you for the links to and evaluation of Visuwords and Edsitement. I believe I could use them in future.


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