The first, The Week in Rap, is an online video set to rap music that reviews in a few brief minutes major events of the week. For students who don't keep current of world events, this is an excellent means to introduce them to world events and to promote in-class discussions.
Take some time to view a recent The Week in Rap video. Remember the old days when we sent students to school editions of Time or Newsweek magazines to stimulate discussions of current events. Students using The Week in Rap get a glimpse into world events in a matter of minutes, but can also replay the video and read its text to facilitate further reflection.
The other tool, Etherpad, is an online synchronous writing environment conducive to a social constructivist approach to learning, as students use the tools to collaborate and create texts. The additions each writer, at his or her own computer, makes appear on the screen as one text forms. This tool has applicability for a range of learners. Try it out with a friend or colleague.
Let us know what you think of these free tools to use in the classroom.