Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

April 12, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

Gates Perspective On Student Surveys Was Bad, But Now It’s Getting Weird

I have posted numerous times about how I use student evaluations in my class, their results, and why I think it’s a terrible idea to connect them to the teacher evaluation process (see The Best Posts On Students Evaluating Classes (And Teachers) ).

And, of course, The Gates Foundation has come out squarely in support of doing just that in their Final MET “Effective Teaching” Report.

Now, however, their recommendations have gone from being bad towards approaching just plain weirdness.

In a piece titled Ask the Students, Thomas Kane, the director of the Gates project, is suggesting that now it’s important to start “aligning the language of the surveys with the language of the teaching standards.”

Yup, this practice, in line with the particularly useless directive that some teachers are given to write the standards that are supposed to be covered that day on the front whiteboard, is really going to give teachers helpful information about their craft. How about this question:

Was your teacher effective in helping you learn to interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone?

Or how about:

Was your teacher effective in teaching you to integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words?

You can see my previous posts about the questions that I think are truly helpful — both to us teachers and to our students….

October 1, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo

“What education reformers did with student surveys” Is Clearly A Candidate For Best Educational Policy Post Of The Year

As regular readers know, I’ve been very outspoken in my support and use of student evaluations of teachers as formative assessments and outspoken in my criticism of efforts by the Gates Foundation to incorporate them in formal summative evaluations of teachers (you can see many of my posts on this topic at The Best Posts On Students Evaluating Classes (And Teachers) ).

Today in The Atlantic, Amanda Ripley wrote a feature titled Why Kids Should Grade Teachers, which parrots the typical school reformer line.

Also today, Felix Salmon at Reuters wrote a devastating critique of her article and the whole idea in What education reformers did with student surveys.

It’s clearly a candidate for best educational policy post of the year. Here are some excerpts, but the whole piece is a “must-read”:

….along comes the Gates Foundation with a 36-question survey, severely chopped from a much longer one developed by Ronald Ferguson. Since there are 36 questions, the survey essentially measures teachers along 36 different axes, all of which are aligned with each other to differing degrees. In and of itself, that’s more useful than just measuring test scores, which are much less teacher-specific and which only provide one axis of educational quality.

But then what do the reformers do? They regress the survey answers against test scores, look at which survey questions align most closely with that test-score axis, and declare that those axes — the ones which test scores, by definition, are already measuring — must be the “most important”. Did you think that caring about kids was of paramount importance? Silly you! It turns out that caring about kids isn’t as correlated with test-score results as, say, whether the class learns to correct its mistakes. And therefore, we shouldn’t be worrying as much about whether teachers care about their kids; we should be worrying more about other things, instead. That’s what the test-score regressions tell us, so it must be true!…..

No! Stop! Do none of these people get it? What everybody wants, here, is better teachers. These surveys could be instrumental in helping to improve teaching. Teachers would be able to see where they score well and where they score badly, and ask themselves how to improve their scores in areas where they are weak. Principals could see which teachers were good on which axes, and set classes up so that students ended up with a balanced range of teachers. And generally, everybody could treat this data as an interesting and very rich way of improving educational outcomes.

Instead, reformers are rushing to use this data as a quantitative performance-review tool, something which can get you a raise or which can even get you fired. And by so doing, they’re turning it from something potentially extremely useful, into a bone of contention between teachers and managers, and a metric to be gamed and maximized.

July 12, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo

I’ve Got A Bad Feeling About This: “Next Up in Teacher Evaluations: Student Surveys”

Education Week Teacher has just published a report titled Next Up in Teacher Evaluations: Student Surveys (Learning First also has a good post on the same topic). It discusses the growing interest in using student survey results as a part of a teacher evaluation process and specifically talks about what’s happening in Pittsburgh. Here is how it ends:

But there was no denying that linking the Tripod results to evaluations is the logical and likely next step for Pittsburgh—and one that a few other places have already taken.

(ADDENDUM: I just remembered I wrote specifically about Tripod surveys earlier this year)

You will find few, if there are any, other teachers who have written as positively and as often about the value of student evaluations (see The Best Posts On Students Evaluating Classes (And Teachers) ). I do them regularly, post results — warts and all — on this blog, voluntarily report them to my colleagues and supervisors, and always learn a great deal from them.

But I’m not convinced that tying them to a formal teacher evaluation is a good idea.

They are great tools for formative assessment (not summative) and can be key ways for me to be data-informed (not data-driven).

Just as formative assessments have been found to be much more effective in supporting student learning than high-stakes summative assessments like standardized tests, the same can hold true for educators.

As I’ve written before, I just don’t understand why “reformers” like the Gates Foundation and others continue to take tools that have incredible potential for teacher development as a formative assessment and destroy their many positive attributes in the name of summative assessment. They’re doing it with videotaping teachers and now they’re doing it with student evaluations.

This is what I’ve written before about how and why I use student surveys:

I want to know more from students than what Gates is asking. I want to know if they think I’m patient and if they believe I care about their lives outside of school. Yes, I certainly want to know what they think I could do better, and I also want to know what they think they could do better. I want to learn if they think their reading habits have changed and, for example, when I’m teaching a history class, are they more interested in learning about history than they were prior to taking the class. I want to find-out what they believe are the most important things they learned in the class and, for many, it might be learning life skills like the fact their brain actually grows when they learn new things or the fact that they had in them the capacity to complete reading a book or writing an essay for the first time in their lives. And, in the discussion that follows (one thing I learned during my nineteen year community organizing career is that a survey’s true use is as a spark for a conversation) we discuss all these things and many more, including the differences between what might be what we like to do best and what we learn the most from.

Just as I don’t believe standardized test scores give an accurate assessment of student learning (though I incorporate it as part of my being “data-informed”), and just as I doubt the value of feedback on a video of my teaching offered by someone a thousand miles away who knows nothing about me or my students, I question how helpful a standardized student evaluation form created by people completely disconnected from my students and me is going to be.

And, though I’m confident that the vast majority of my students will take it seriously and not view it as a grade on whether they were entertained or not (one of the reasons I know this to be the case is because we do a mini-unit on the qualities of a good lesson, and they have to incorporate them in lessons that they teach to their classmates), I’m not confident that this is  the case everywhere.

Do we really need to ratchet up the pressure even more on teachers — many of whom leave within their first five years now?

What do you think?

November 20, 2008
by Larry Ferlazzo

Update On The Best Tools For Surveys & Polls

I rated as the number one site on The Best Sites For Creating Online Polls & Surveys.

At the time, it just had one drawback — you couldn’t restrict the number of times an individual voted.

I just received an email from them announcing several new features to their web application, and that ability to limit multiple answers is one of them.

I’d encourage you to give it a try.

September 19, 2008
by Larry Ferlazzo

Kwik Surveys

Kwik Surveys is a new site to create embeddable online…. surveys.

I haven’t experimented with it enough yet to determine if it deserves being added to The Best Sites For Creating Online Polls & Surveys. I’d be interested in hearing from people who have used or will use it.

The tool does look pretty good to me at first glance.

June 22, 2008
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Sites For Creating Online Polls & Surveys

'Quora in 20 minutes' photo (c) 2011, Nicholas Wang - license:

I’m planning to involve readers more in ranking sites for some of my year-end “The Best…” lists, and so thought I would investigate various web applications that allow you to create online polls and surveys. I wasn’t able to find exactly what I was looking for that would work for my purposes but, at the same time, I was able to identify a number of sites that would work great for most teacher or student surveys/polls.

I have students create polls/surveys that they generally do face-to-face, but I expect that they will be making ones that could be used in our international Sister Classes Project — and those would have to be done online. In addition, our mainstream ninth grade English classes might be creating some online polls, too.

The criteria I used in to determine if a site would make this list included that it was:

* accessible to English Language Learners and/or people who are not very computer savvy.

* free-of-charge.

* difficult, if not impossible, to access polls that other users of the site might have made (to minimize the chance of finding inappropriate content for the classroom).

* able to be embedded in a blog or website.

* pretty flexible on restrictions about the number of polls created or the number of people responding to them.

Some, though not all, of the sites that made this list also allow people responding to the poll to provide multiple answers to one question, which was a key criteria in the kind of survey tool I was originally looking to use for engaging readers in helping rank sites in some of my “The Best…” lists. However, none of those had one other key element I needed — the ability to restrict voters from the same IP address. It looks like I’m going to have to pay in order to get that ability, which is not one that the vast majority of teachers or students will need in online polls/surveys they create. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if some site-owners would try to vote multiple times in my reader polls if given a chance, so I would like to make doing that at least a little more difficult.

I’d be interested in hearing people’s suggestions about which “for pay” service would be the best for that purpose.

But, for now, here are my picks for The Best Sites For Creating Online Polls & Surveys:

With Micro Poll, you can ask multiple questions, and people taking the poll can provide multiple answers. You do have to register, but it’s easy to do so.

(Editor’s Note: I’m adding one more online poll/survey application to this list — PollDaddy. Not only is it easy, and has a lot of features the other sites on my list have, it also is one of the few that has a security feature to prevent multiple voting.)

Yarp is a new web tool that very,very easily lets you create a simple online invitation or survey. I’m particularly interested in the survey aspect, and I’m adding it to this list. It has a lot of benefits:  no registration is required; you can quickly type a question in and choosed various responses (a or b; true or false, yes or no); and those who respond can also write their own comments. This is a stand-out application for English Language Learners who want to use a simple survey for an in-class project or, even better, with sister classes in other places.  It provides wonderful and accessible opportunities for reading and writing.

Doodle is another addition. Registration isn’t required, and it’s extremely easy to create a poll that can be embedded in a blog or website or be accessed via its url address.  Participants can leave comments, too. It appears to have been set-up primarily to organize group events, but it can be used as a poll for just about anything. The Make Use of blog has an extensive explanation of how it works, though it’s pretty darn simple.

Flisti is a new and extremely easy application that lets you create a very simple poll. No registration is required, and you can post the link to the poll on a teacher/student website/blog, or embed it there.

Obsurvey is a very flexible and easy web application for making online polls/surveys.

The Answer Garden is an intriguing combination of a survey tool and a word cloud generator. Without requiring any registration, it lets you pose a question to which people can write their own short answers. The answers appear as a word cloud below the question, with the words changing in size based on how often they are used in responses. Responders have the option of writing in their own answer or clicking on one of the words already in the word cloud. The entire “garden” can be embedded in a blog or website, and you can also link to it. The fact that anybody can answer anything to the question without identifying themselves makes it problematic — to say the least — in many school settings. But in certain mature situations, it could be very useful.

SurveyMapper is a tool to create simple surveys. It’s unique twist, though, is that it also shows you a map (of U.S. states or countries in the world) of where the people who answered the question live. Just because it gets “points” for being creative in a crowded field, I’m adding it to this list.

I’m not very impressed with the features that are available for free from Survey Monkey, but that’s the service I use when I have a poll on this site. I need to pay a few bucks, but it makes things easy if you are doing a larger poll.

QuizSnack is a simple tool that is also worth a look.

Kwik Surveys is a new online survey tool.

Hall is a new site that lets you do several things — all apparently without requiring registration — including creating a simple poll.

Kwiqpoll lets you easily create a poll — and no registration is required. You’re give the poll’s url address, but it’s not embeddable. It has no frills, but it’s easy as pie.

Zoho has unveiled a nice new survey tool called…Zoho Survey. The free version includes unlimited surveys and up to 15 questions and 150 responses per survey. You can read more about it at TechCrunch. Here’s a video about it:



You can find links to these sites, as well as to many others that didn’t make this list, on my website under Student Surveys.

As always, feedback is welcome.

If you found this post useful, you might want to consider subscribing to this blog for free.

August 6, 2007
by Larry Ferlazzo

Even More Online Surveys

I’ve posted twice before about using online surveys and polls with English Language Learners as a language development tool — Create an Online Survey/Poll and Another Online Survey Application.

If the ones I listed there and on my website weren’t enough for you, Mashable has just written a post about forty online survey tools.

I’m happy with the ones I’ve already written about, but there might be some gems in Mashable’s list if you get a chance to look through them.

October 19, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

All My NY Times Posts For English Language Learners – Linked With Descriptions


I’ve been writing posts for The New York Times Learning Network for three years on teaching English Language Learners, and that adds-up to a lot of posts! Many include online student interactives and all include multiple teaching ideas.

I thought readers would find it helpful if I put links to them all together, along with short descriptions.

And, as I post new ones, I’ll add them here, too…

Teach academic writing through civics and citizenship lessons around the legal voting age.  In addition, use surveys and polls to provoke listening and speaking practice.

Students put “scrambled” sentences in order to correctly re-create a paragraph from a story about schools, and are encouraged to create their own sequencing activities.    Another teaching activity is having students identify their visions for their own school and write an argumentative essay about it, as well as meeting with their principal.

Students complete a cloze (fill-in-the-gap) activity in an article about the World Cup, and use the same passage and other teaching ideas to learn about synonyms.

Learn about “articles” in the English language through a cloze activity about Mexico City and additional exercises.   In addition, a teaching idea provides suggestions on how to have students create their own itineraries for trips around the world.

This Mother’s Day interactive and supplemental activities focus on conjunctions and having students do writing about their mothers or other key family members.

Students separate run-on sentences in this interactive about International Dance Day, and use it as a model for creating their own.  In addition, they can view a variety of dance videos and write a compare/contrast essay.

Learn about punctuation in this interactive on body language and supplemental exercises, and then have students do some fun listening activities with different videos to see if people are being truthful or not.

Have students learn about nouns in this interactive on the popularity of soccer in China.  Then, have students complete (and then create their own) “scrambled” exercise where they have to place answers with the correct questions in re-creating interviews.

Students learn to categorize words in this interactive on eating insects, and then broaden their categories further.  In addition, they can watch engaging insect videos and describe — verbally and in writing — what they see.

Fill-in-the-blanks in this story about “chewing gum art” and have students create their own artwork online, which they then describe both verbally and in writing.

Complete a cloze about how animals can impact children’s heath, and then students can draw, write or even create a video about pets that are or have been in their lives.

Use a passage about fossils and dinosaurs to learn new vocabulary, practice pronunciation with tongue twisters, and practice a simple paragraph-writing framework.

Learn about comparatives and superlatives while learning about skyscrapers, as well as having students building their own as part of the Language Experience Approach.  In addition, students can use “close reading” techniques as they watch a documentary about the history of tall buildings.

Practice prediction with students as they reading about Valentine’s Day and learn about idioms at the same time.  Plus, have students create Valentine’s cards and share about romantic traditions in their home countries.

Fill-in-the-blanks in this passage about preparation for the Sochi Olympic Games, and use the event as an opportunity to practice writing and listening with a Picture Dictation activity.

Students learn about the progressive tense in this passage about the changing nature of families, and use the article as a stepping-stone to a lesson of creating family trees — with a twist!

Use this fun activity to learn about prepositions through reading incorrectly translated passages and street signs.

Learn about holiday food traditions from different cultures though a fill-in-the-blank passage and different lesson ideas.

Have students watch videos about current events and craft higher-order thinking questions about them.

Students practice the reading strategy of summarization while, at the same time, practice using humor as a language-development activity.

Students watch a short video and have to list the scenes in the correct sequence.  They can then create their own similar “quiz” for classmates and even create their own videos.

Choose the most accurate description of a picture taken at a United Farmworkers Union demonstration  and have students reflect on protest movements in their home countries and in the United States.  Use the lesson to expand to other historical photos and use them for language-development activities.

Teach and learn the past tense through a passage about John F. Kennedy, and use a text data set for an inductive lesson about his life.

Watch a video about the Mexican wrestling style called “lucha libre” and use it in a sequencing lesson.  Then have students create their own wrestling personas.

Watch a clip from West Side Story and use it for a musical sequencing activity.  Then, have students research and write about gangs today.

Learn about The Day of The Dead and Halloween, and use it as a lesson in developing  literal and interpretative questions.

Learn pronouns and the importance of learning from failures and mistakes through this interactive on J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series.

Watch a video and read a passage about a girls soccer team in Mexico to learn about punctuation, and have students create punctuation games and practice reading strategies, too.

Teach the vocabulary of colors by a fill-in-the-blank passage, a discussion of their cultural significance, and the use of a Times’ “grid” of different photos that students have to describe in a game-like activity.

Learn about magic in a sequencing activity and develop academic vocabulary while exploring different illusions.

Study the use of “articles” and learn about the concept of “grit” (perseverance) through online interactive exercises.

Study the 9/11 terrorist attacks through a K-W-L chart and Venn Diagrams that lead to writing a compare and contrast essay.

Learn about mariachis and use them to kick-off an exploration of the different aspects of students’ home cultures.

Use a passage about soccer star Lionel Messi  to encourage students to create their own fill-in-the-blank exercises for classmates to complete.

Encourage students to reflect back on their class year, and provide them with suggestions on how to continue their study during the coming months.

Teaching and learning strategies about the environment and Earth Day.

Using videos, photographs and music for language-development activities, including ones to practice descriptive language and make a connection between art and activism.

Lessons that explore citizenship, including considering if there is a difference between “citizenship” and “active citizenship.”

Learn about the Picture Word Inductive Model as a teaching/learning strategy, as well as sequencing activities with videos and a fun language-learning game.

Multiple lessons focused on different holidays and holiday traditions.

Using video clips for language-development, learning about Malala Yousafsai, discussing the length of the school year and more!

Many lesson ideas about politics and elections.

A mixture of activities, including ones on idioms, recipes,  developing neighborhood tours and writing a compare/contrast essay.

Ideas on using students’ personal stories to maximize the effectiveness English-language development lessons.


September 3, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

Uh Oh, It Looks Like Facebook’s Zuckerberg Now Has His Own Pet Teacher Evaluation Project

Mark Zuckerberg, fresh from his disastrous $100 million investment in Newark schools (The Best Posts & Articles For Learning About Newark’s $100 Million From Facebook) has decided he wants his own piece of the teacher evaluation business.

He’s just become a major (I assume, THE major) investor in an education start-up called Panorama that is promoting the use of student evaluations to evaluate teachers.

The New York Times has just published an article about them — Grading Teachers, With Data From Class.

As regular readers know, it’s unlikely to find another teacher more committed to student evaluations of teachers than me. I regularly have students do them and share online and with administrators and colleagues their results — warts and all. You can see them all at The Best Posts On Students Evaluating Classes (And Teachers).

In fact, The Washington Post reprinted one of the reports that shared even more warts than usual a year or two ago.

Regular readers also know that it would also be difficult to find another teacher who has stronger negative feelings than me about the idea of using student surveys as an element in a teacher evaluation.

My reasons are numerous, and you can read them in my previous posts on the topic, which you can also find on the previously mentioned “Best” list.

Ordinarily, I’d write a summary of my objections. However, today was the second day of the new school year, and I’m exhausted. It looks like it will be another great set of classes and students, but, as all teachers know, the first week of school is a killer until we get our “teacher legs” back :)

I’ll put a more extensive post on my “to do” list, but thought that — in light of today’s Times’ article — I wanted to get something out quickly….

June 15, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

This Week In Web 2.0

'Web 2.0 paljastaa' photo (c) 2011, Janne Ansaharju - license:

In yet another attempt to get at the enormous backlog I have of sites worth blogging about, I’ve recently begin a regular feature called “The Week In Web 2.0.” (you might also be interested in The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2013). I also sometimes include tech tools that might not exactly fit the definition of Web 2.0:

I’ve just completely updated The Best Sites For Creating Online Polls & Surveys and also added two new tools to that list:



Flipgram is another Animoto-like app to create videos out of your media. Thanks to Richard Byrne for the tip. I’m adding it to The Best Sites For Beginning iPhone Users Like Me.

Voxer is an app that has potential for speaking practice with English Language Learners. Joe Mazza talks about various other educational uses for it at his blog. Here’s video about it. I’m adding it to the iPhone list, as well as to The Best Sites To Practice Speaking English:

June 14, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

How My Students Evaluated Me This Year

'Blue Morphsuit on Canada Day' photo (c) 2011, Doug Hay - license:

The school year ended this week and, as I do every year, I had students anonymously evaluate me. As regular readers know, I post the results of these surveys each semester — warts and all. In fact, The Washington Post republished one of the less flattering ones a couple of years ago.

You can see reports from all the previous years, as well as links to more reflective pieces on the use of these kinds of surveys, at The Best Posts On Students Evaluating Classes (And Teachers).

In the past, I’ve published separate posts for each class. This year, instead, I’m going to share all the results in one big post:


I taught one Geography class with Intermediate English Language Learners. Here’s the evaluation form I used with them.


* Ninety percent said they learned “a lot” in the class (as opposed to “some” or “a little.”)

* Working in the computer lab was the most popular activity, closely followed by “making presentations.” “Reading” and “writing essays” were a little further behind. It was a surprise to me that “making presentations” was number one last semester and, as a result, I tried expanding it in different ways, including having students use inductive learning to create PowerPoints and make short presentations. However, I just don’t feel the time involved in making presentations this way, especially with our school’s outdated laptops (they liked the computer lab because those desktops worked a lot better), was a good “bang for the buck.” Instead, providing students with short readings that they could then read as a jigsaw activity (like what we did when studying Rwanda) seemed to work a lot better. Though I didn’t separate it in the evaluation form, I’m confident that students agree.

* There was a four-way tie for the least favorite activity:”reading,” “making presentations,” “writing essays” and “using textbook.” I believe “making presentations” made the list here because of the PowerPoints we did and the frustration with our antiquated laptops. We sporadically use a fairly decent ELL Geography textbook called “World View,” but I didn’t do as good of a job as I usually do using portions strategically — it was more of a “filler.” Writing essays is never popular. The most disappointing part here was, though working with our various sister classes around the world wasn’t the least popular activity, no one marked it as one of their favorites and several listed it as something they didn’t like. My theory is that we did too many, and that, in the future, we should just do a few. I guess you can have too much of a good thing….

* There was another four-way tie for the activities that students felt they learned the most from: “making presentations,” “writing essays,” “computer lab,” and “reading.”

* Ninety percent felt the pace of the class was “just right,”

* I received “A’s” from just about everybody in “organization,” “knowledge,” “caring” and “hardworking.” However, under “patience” I received an A from seventy-five percent of the class, while getting anywhere between a B and an F from the remaining students. This is an accurate reflection of a quality I know I need to work to develop, and am very open to hearing advice from readers.

* Everyone except two said they would like to take a class from me again. That’s good, because they’ll all be with me next year!

* As far as suggestions on how the class could be better, two suggestions were most common — incorporating more games into the class, which I definitely could have done and should have done, and getting better technology. I’m not going to hold my breath on that one.

All in all, I’m satisfied with the results, and I’ve got some good ideas to implement next year.


I taught two English classes of mainstream ninth-graders, always the most challenging classes I have. Here’s a version of the form I used with them (that’s the one I used for the first semester – I made some minor changes but can’t find the most recent version).


* The results are clearly different in some areas for each class. My afternoon class was more challenging than my morning one, which I at least partially attribute to coming right after lunch.

* Everyone in my morning class except for one student said they learned “a lot.” In my afternoon class, it was divided evenly between “a lot” and “some.”

* Sixty-five percent of the students in my morning class said they tried their best either “a lot of the time” or “all the time.” Thirty-five percent said “some of the time.” It was a fifty-fifty split in the afternoon class.

* Everybody in both classes said our unit on Jamaica was their favorite one.

* Ninety percent of my morning class said I was an “excellent” teacher. In the afternoon class, fifty percent said I was “excellent,” twenty-five percent said I was “good,” ten percent said I was “okay” and the rest said I was “bad.”

* Everyone in both classes, except for two in the afternoon one, felt that I “was concerned about what was happening in their lives.”

* In the morning class, eighty percent said I was patient either “a lot of the time” or “all of the time.” The rest chose “some of the time.” In the afternoon class, sixty percent said I was patient either “a lot of the time” or “all of the time.”

* Everyone in the morning class said they liked the class and they’d like to take another one with me. Eighty percent of the afternoon class said the same.

* Students in both classes chose “working in groups” and their independent book clubs as their favorite activities. Our new librarian has been especially cooperative in helping with these clubs, and I hope to expand them next year.

All in all, I’m satisfied with the evaluation results. As I mentioned, I think coming in right after lunch made things challenging in my afternoon class, and I also think just the mix of students also created the more challenging atmosphere.


I taught one International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge class that included a small portion of IB Diploma candidates and a much larger number of students, including English Language Learners, who I specifically recruited for the class and who might not ordinarily take an IB class. Here’s a version of the form I used with them (again, I made some minor changes in the actual form I used, but can’t find the most recent electronic copy).

Here are highlights:

* What are the most important things you have learned in the class?: “there are a lot of different sides of the world we can’t see”; “how to do an outline for an essay and a PowerPoint”; “presentation skills and time management”; “question everything.”

* What have you liked about this class or how it was taught?: “how it was organized to work in groups”; “that you have to think deeper than normal classes”; “I liked how we did so many presentations”; “I liked being here everyday”

* How do you think it can be improved?: “the class is great”; “more control over the volume”; “students should be more respectful”

There were several comments about students needing to be more quiet and show more self-control. I tend to be more lax on classroom management in this class but, as the class gets bigger (and it will get even larger next year), I need to start from the beginning and be a little more strict.

* What grade would you give Mr. Ferlazzo as a teacher? What does he do well and what can he improve?: Everyone gave me an A or A+. Here are some comments: “he makes difficult concepts understandable in a fun way”; “he’s nice”; “he can improve how he controls the class”

* Are there ways you think that what you learned in this class can help you in the future?: “It will help me keep my mind open and to accepting new ideas, cultures, traditions, languages and beliefs”; “I’ll be a better writer and presenter”

Theory of Knowledge is a great class and I’m excited that, for the first time, I’ll get to teach two of them next year!


I taught English to one combined class of Beginning and Intermediate English Language Learners. Here’s the form I used.

Here are the highlights:

* Everyone except for one student said they learned “a lot” in the class.

* Two activities tied as favorite activities — “writing essays” and “computer lab.” The same two tied as “least favorite.” And the same two led under activities where students learned the most.

* Everyone said the pace was “just right.”

* I received A’s from everybody or organization, knowledge, caring and hardworking. I received A’s from everyone but two students for patience. Everyone said they’d like to take another class with me, which is good since they all have me again next year!

This class went very well, and it was helped greatly by having talented student teachers. I hope I have the same help next year!

So, that’s my round-up for this year. It was a good one, and I’m also ready for summer break!

May 7, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

How Much Do We Teachers Spend On Our Classrooms?

Last year, I posted this infographic reporting what a survey says the average teacher spends on their classroom. I thought it was a “low-ball” figure, and at least some readers agreed:



Today, Vox published a number of very good charts on the same topic (I’d encourage you to check out Most teachers spend hundreds to pay for supplies, special projects, even field trips).

They presented, in a much less “busy” form, information from a Horace Mann survey (they also included info from other surveys). You can see the entire Mann survey here, but here’s a particularly interesting chart:


I figure that I spend in the $700-$800 range — at least — primarily for classroom library books.

How about you — how much do you contribute each year?

February 2, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

Around The Web In ESL/EFL/ELL

'netvibes' photo (c) 2006, Graham Stanley - license:

I’ve started a somewhat regular feature where I share a few posts and resources from around the Web related to ESL/EFL or to language in general that have caught my attention:

Top 10 Tools for Creating Teaching Materials is from Talk2Me English.

Gratitude: a free downloadable lesson is from ELT Resourceful. I’m adding it to The Best Resources On “Gratitude.”

States Weigh How to Revamp Surveys to Identify Potential English-Learners is from Learning The Language at Education Week. This should be helpful to everyone, but it’s probably going to especially helpful to Washington, D.C. schools (see Um, I Think The D.C. School District Is A Little Unclear On The Concept Of A “Home Language Survey”…..).

The Economic Case for a Clear, Quick Pathway to Citizenship is from The Center For American Progress.

January 23, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

It’s That Time Of Year Again: Here’s How My Ninth-Graders Evaluated The Class & Me


My ninth-grade English class last year was a tough one, as you can see from my report on how they evaluated me a year ago — which happened to be reprinted in The Washington Post.

This year, happily, though my two mainstream ninth-grade English classes are not without their challenges, things are much better and similar to previous years. And you can see all of my previous year’s evaluations at The Best Posts On Students Evaluating Classes (And Teachers). As regular readers know, I announce to students in all my classes that I will publish the results of these anonymous surveys — warts and all — as well as send them directly to colleagues and administrators at our school. I think doing so enhances how seriously students take doing them (by the way, I’ll be sharing evaluations from my other classes over the weekend).

Here’s the evaluation form I use.

I list each question, followed by the results, ending with a short commentary:

1. In this class, I learned…. some a lot a little

Two-thirds in both classes said “a lot” and one-third said “some.” No one said “a little”

I usually get higher than two-thirds saying “a lot,” and even had ninety percent saying it last year in my tough class. The overall academic ability of my students this year is higher than in previous years when I’ve taught a “double-block” of students who generally faced more challenges, so I wonder if my teacher “mindset” might still be in those past classes and underestimating some students who I have this year? Something for me to ponder…

2. I tried my best in this class….a lot of the time all the time some of the time

Half said either a lot of the time or all of the time; the other half said some of the time. Looks like it might be time to review the concept of grit, as well as looking at if perhaps I need to up the challenge level of my lessons.

3. My favorite unit was…. New Orleans Natural Disasters Latin Studies

Here, there was a difference of opinion between classes. My first period class preferred New Orleans, while my fifth period liked Natural Disasters (since I only have them for one period each this year, we haven’t yet gotten to Latin Studies).

I just don’t know the reason behind those preferences.

4. As a teacher, I think Mr. Ferlazzo is… okay good excellent bad

Two-thirds said I was excellent and one-third said I was okay or good. One student said I was bad.

I’m pleased with that rating, which was substantially higher than the one I received last year and is comparable to what I received in previous years.

5. Did you feel that Mr. Ferlazzo was concerned about what was happening in your life? yes no

Four-fifths said yes and one-fifth said no.

I work hard at learning what is happening with students
in other classes and at home. It pays off in lots of ways, and clearly students see that.

6. Mr. Ferlazzo is patient…. some of the time a lot of the time all of the time

Half said some of the time; one-fourth said a lot of the time and one-fourth said all of the time.

I feel I’m pretty patient though, of course, I have some days when I’m more patient than others….

7. Did you like this class? Yes No

Ninety-percent said yes and ten percent said no.

Boy, what a difference a year makes…..

8. Would you want to take another class taught by Mr. Ferlazzo? Yes No

Two-thirds said yes and one-third said no.

I’m a little surprised that the percentage that said yes to this question was lower than the percentage of students who said they liked the class, but I think it’s fine and certainly higher than last year’s responses.

9. What was your favorite activity in this class?
Practice Reading Data Sets Make-and-Breaks Read Alouds Clozes Writing essays Working in groups

As usual, working in groups was the winner — by far.

10. What activity do you think helped you learn the most?
Practice Reading Data Sets Make-and-Breaks Read Alouds Clozes Writing essays Working in groups

Students usually show impressive judgement here in separating what they “like” from what “helps them learn,” and these classes did the same. Data Sets and writing essays topped the list here.

The big surprise, though, was that NO ONE in both classes listed working in groups. I think working in groups can be very helpful, but I think I should rethink how I’m having students do it. Perhaps I’m not maximizing its benefit.

All in all, I’m happy with the results. I think I particularly need to think about doing more challenging lessons, and it appears that I have built up enough relationship “collateral” and goodwill to help make that “step-up” successful.

January 15, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

This Week’s Round-Up Of Good Posts & Articles On Education Policy

'Oct. 17, 2011' photo (c) 2011, Mario Garcia-Baeza - license:

Here are some recent useful posts on education policy issues:

Garbage In, Garbage Out: Or, How to Lie with Bad Data is from Medium. I’m adding it to The Best Resources Showing Why We Need To Be “Data-Informed” & Not “Data-Driven.”

Fight over school funding starts Thursday is from The San Francisco Chronicle, and gives an excellent overview of California ed policy issues.

On Listing Education Innovators and Intellectuals is by Audrey Watters.

L.A. Unified surveys prices others pay for iPads, similar devices is from the L.A. Times. Don’t you think they should have done this a little earlier? I’m adding it to A Very Beginning List Of The Best Articles On The iPad Debacle In Los Angeles Schools.

New Advocacy Group Seeks to Expose Corporate Ties to Ed. Department is from Education Week.

The Bunkum Awards 2013 is from The Education Policy Center. Here is a description:

This marks our eighth year of handing out the Bunkum Awards, recognizing the lowlights in educational research over the past year. As long as the bunk keeps flowing, the awards will keep coming. It’s the least we can do. This year’s deserving awardees join a pantheon of divine purveyors of weak data, shoddy analyses, and overblown recommendations from years past. Congratulations, we guess—to whatever extent congratulations are due.

How Schools Can Succeed Without Tests is from The Hechinger Report. I’m adding it to The Best Articles Describing Alternatives To High-Stakes Testing.

The Problem With Sec. Duncan Playing HR Guru is by Rick Hess at Ed Week.

Are We Learning From Evaluations? is from Education Week. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About Effective Student & Teacher Assessments.

The Global Search for Education: The World Test? is from The Huffington Post. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles On 2012 PISA Test Results.

December 7, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2013


It’s time for my most popular post each year — the one on new Web 2.0 applications.

There are over 1,200 lists now that are categorize and updated regularly.  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.

* free-of-charge.

* appropriate for classroom use.

* completely browser-based with no download required (I occasionally make an exception to this rule).

It’s possible that a few of these sites began in 2012, but, if so, I’m including them in this list because they were “new to me” in 2013.

You might want to visit previous editions:

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2012

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2011

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education — 2010

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education — 2009

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education — 2008

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education — 2007

(You might also find The Best Ways To Create Online Content Easily & Quickly In 2012 — So Far useful,as well as Here Are All Of My “Best Of 2013″ Lists)

Feel free to let me know if you think I’m leaving any tools out.

Here are my fifty choices for The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2013 (in the past, I’ve published a list ranked from top-to-bottom.  This year, however, it was harder for me to make that kind of selection.  Instead, I’ve posted a “top ten” — not in order — and then a second tier of thirty sites that I’ve divided into specific categories):

The Top Ten (not in order of preference)

Mosey lets you pick a location, easily choose places in the area that you’d like to “visit,” grab images off the web, shows the places on map, and lets you add notes. You’re then give a unique url address to your creation. It’s a good tool for geography class or for planning a real field trip.

I use Pinterest daily. However, in the vast majority of schools, it is never going to make it past Internet content filters for students. eduClipper is basically a Pinterest for schools (and I confirmed today that it is not blocked at our school — if it’s not blocked by our district, it’s unlikely to be blocked by most others). It has the potential of sort of being an “all in one” tool for the classroom, serving the same purposes as sites on The Best Social Bookmarking Applications For English Language Learners & Other Students list and on The Best Online Virtual “Corkboards” (or “Bulletin Boards”) list, as well as serving other functions.

Haiku Deck, an iPad app which now has a Web version, may very well be the best tool for creating online slideshows that are out there. It’s  on The Best Ways To Create Online Slideshows list. Now Richard Byrne has made a tutorial explaining how to use the web version. It’s not yet open to the public, but I received my invitation less than twenty-four hours after requesting one.

Tellagami is neat iPhone/iPad app that lets users quickly create virtual characters that can speak audio that’s been recorded or use text-to-speech. I’m adding it to The Best Sites To Practice Speaking English and to The Best Sites For Beginning iPhone Users Like Me.

EDpuzzle is a new innovative site that lets you take just about any video off the web, edit it down to the portions you want, add audio notes and questions for students, and create virtual classrooms where you can monitor individual student work. For free. Though I’m not a big fan of the flipped classroom (see The Best Posts On The “Flipped Classroom” Idea), I would imagine the site might be an ideal tool for that strategy.

You can see a quick example I created here (unfortunately, the videos are not embeddable).

For my own classroom, I see it less useful as a creation vehicle for me, and potentially much more useful as a tool that students can use for creation. For example, I think both my mainstream and English Language Learner students could watch a video and annotate them using the same kind of reading strategies they use with a “regular” text (ask questions, make connections, evaluate, etc.). Common Core talks about “multimodal texts” and videos, especially if they’re subtitled, would certainly fit into their category.

Huzzaz lets you create video collections that you can embed in your website. I’m adding it to The Best Ways To Create Online Video Playlists.

UTellStory is sort of a streamlined VoiceThread that I think is easier for both teachers and students to use.  You can make slideshows with your own images or grab ones off the web and easily add a audio you record, as well as text, to it. You can make them private or public, and they’re embeddable. You can also let your slideshows be re-used and mixed by others.

buncee lets you easily create simple multimedia creations — almost like an extended virtual postcard. You can grab media off the web and add text.

emaze is a new slideshow creation tool that looks neat and pretty darn easy. TechCrunch says it hits the “Sweet Spot Between PowerPoint And Prezi.”

Sketchlot lets students…sketch and draw online. Teachers sign-up and can create a class roster letting students log-in, and drawings are embeddable.


The Rest (Not in order of preference)


MashMe TV lets you create a free video conference with up to ten people. In addition, you can all watch a video and/or draw together.

Wideo is a new tool for making online animations.  I wouldn’t say it’s as intuitive to use as some others on The Best Ways For Students To Create Online Animations list, but it does seem decent.

HapYak lets you annotate any YouTube or Vimeo video with text (including url addresses) or freestyle drawing. The Adventures With Technology blog has an interesting lesson plan using HapYak with second language learners.

Reflap is a free tool for online video chats. You can have up to five people on the same chat.


RealtimeBoard is an online whiteboard that is a good tool for real-time collaboration. It’s easy to use, and lets you upload images from your computer or by its url address. They’ve had a limited free plan for everybody, but they recently announced a free “Pro” account for educators. It’s easy to register for it here.


Quip is a new online word processing tool that is free to non-business users, adapts its look to the kind of device you’re using (tablet, desktop, smartphone), and lets you collaborate with others on your document. You can read more about it at TechCrunch.

Editorially lets you collaboratively create documents.

On my The Best Online Tools For Real-Time Collaboration list, I have quite a few tools that let you create documents with others, including some that allow instant text chat. Notepad is a new tool that has both of those features and, unlike most other sites, also provides an audio chat feature. No registration is required to use all its features.

Draft is a new free collaborative word processor that looks pretty useful. You can read a lengthy post about it at TechCrunch.

Editorially lets you collaboratively create documents. I’m adding it to The Best Online Tools For Real-Time Collaboration.


GeoGuessr is one of my favorite games on The Best Online Geography Games list.  It’s now gotten even better. You can now create your own GeoGuessr game at GeoSettr.

Quizdini is a simple and free tool for creating multiple-choice or “drag-and-drop” quizzes. There is no way right now to monitor student results, but they are working developing such a system.

I learned about BrainRush from Eric Sheninger. Right now, it only lets you create flash card activities, but it has plans in the near future for several other learning activities. What’s really nice about the site is that you can create virtual classrooms and monitor student progress. You can assign students activities you or other users create. I personally prefer to also have students make their own interactives on sites like this and then have classmates try them out

Image Quiz lets you easily grab images off the web (or upload your own) and create quizzes with them. No registration is required to create or take them, and there are quite a few already there.

As regular readers know, I’m a big fan of having my English Language Learner students play online video games as a language development activity (see POINTING AND CLICKING FOR ESL: Using Video Games To Promote English Language Development).

Escape The Room games are one of my favorite game “genres,” where players have to…escape from a room by clicking on objects and using them in a certain way and/or order. Most of these games also have a text component.

Now, a new free tool has come online, the Room Escape Maker, that lets anybody create their own….escape the room games. It requires a little more of a learning curve than I would like, but I think it has some potential.

PHOTOS: lets you easily add speech bubbles with your text to photos. You can upload your own, or choose a random image from the site. You’re then given a link to your creation.

Stipple is another tool that lets you annotate photos with links to other sites or text. I’ve posted about others in The Best Ways To Use Photos In Lessons (Thinglink being the most prominent).

Photolist is a new tool that seems like a very easy way to make a slideshow (that’s also embeddable) and that lets you also add expanded captions.

Every Stock Photo is an impressive search engine for images and, what’s particularly nice about it, is that it provides the embed code with the necessary attribution for any image you pick.


Pinwords lets you create visually attractive quotations and is especially nice because it’s web-based and lets you grab images off the web to use.

Quozio is another super-easy way to create visually attractive quotations.

OTHER: is an easy tool for creating websites.

Brainscape is a flashcard-creating site that lets you add images and allows you to record sound simply by clicking on the “Advanced Editor.” It’s easy to add both, and those features make Brainscape stand out a bit from some of the other flashcard sites out there.

Presenter is a new free online tool for creating online presentations, animations and — at least in my mind — most importantly, infographics. Most of the options on Presenter all look impressive but, for my technologically incompetent tastes, are just slightly more complicated than I would like (though I’m sure they all would be fine for most readers of this blog). I, though, particularly like their infographic tool.  Once you register and sign-on, you have the option to click on the Presenter tool or a tool to create websites. The Presenter tool is free, and the website one costs money. After you click on Presenter, you’re offered different features within it, including infographics. They only offer a few templates now, but I’m sure more will become available soon.

I Wish You To lets you easily draw and create your own Ecards, which you can post, embed, and/or send to someone — and no registration is required.

Map Tales is a pretty cool application that lets you create “map-based stories.” Students can easily use them to document historical eras, literary journey, even their own immigration saga. It’s very easy to use.

Dio is a new interactive tool from Linden Labs, the creators of Second Life (which, apart from hearing from people with physical disabilities that it was very helpful to them, I have yet to figure out its usefulness). Dio, on the other hand, allows you to create what is basically a public or private network that has a lot of interactivity. There is no shortage of social network sites that teachers can set up for their students to use (see Not “The Best,” But “A List” Of Social Network Sites), but Dio seems to have a lot more engaging features.

Russel Tarr has created lots of great online learning tools, and I’ve blogged about many of them. His latest is called Brainy Box, and it lets you easily create a 3-D animated cube with any content you want to include in it. Students will love it.

Mighty Meeting is a free site that lets you create free online meetings where a slide presentation or documents can be shared. It seems to work quite simply, which is always a plus.

Zoho has unveiled a nice new survey tool called…Zoho Survey. The free version includes unlimited surveys and up to 15 questions and 150 responses per survey. You can read more about it at TechCrunch.

I look forward to hearing your feedback!

December 6, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo

This Week’s “Round-Up” Of Good Posts On Education Policy

December 3, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

The Best Posts & Articles On 2012 PISA Test Results

'Pisa2008_Pisa tower' photo (c) 2008, Wit Suphamungmee - license:

Sorry, I couldn’t resist adding this photo


The Internet is awash with articles about this morning’s release of the 2012 Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA, test results.

I’m just quickly posting the best resources I’ve seen this morning (the last portion of this post has newly added important commentaries), and articles offering real insightful commentary will be coming later. However, I’ve included a few pieces that came out prior to this morning and, of course, you can also check out The Best Sites For Getting Some Perspective On International Test Comparison Demagoguery.

Here are choices, and please suggest more in the comments:

How public opinion about new PISA test scores is being manipulated is by Richard Rothstein.

Reading the PISA Tea Leaves: Who Is Responsible for Finland’s Decline and the Asian Magic is by Yong Zhao.

Randi On PISA: Time to End Failed Policies of NCLB & RTTT is from Diane Ravitch’s blog.

Key PISA test results for U.S. students is from The Washington Post.

Are Finland’s vaunted schools slipping? is by Pasi Sahlberg.

Tom Loveless: Why Shanghai Leads the World on International Tests Like PISA is from Diane Ravitch’s blog.

U.S. students lag around average on international science, math and reading test is from The Washington Post.

OECD education report: Lessons for the UK from other nations is an exhaustive series of articles from The Telegraph.

American 15-Year-Olds Lag, Mainly in Math, on International Standardized Tests is from The New York Times.

Take-away Pisa for busy people is from The BBC.

Are you Smarter Than a 15-Year-Old? is from Smithsonian Magazine.

Here are a number of resources from OECD, which administers the test:

PISA 2012 Results: What Makes Schools Successful? ReSouRceS, PolIcIeS And PRActIceS

PISA 2012 Results in Focus: What 15-year-olds know and what they can do with what they know

PISA 2012 Results: Ready to Learn: Students’ Engagement, Drive and Self-Beliefs (Volume III)

PISA 2012 Results

NASSP Statement on PISA Results: Despite Fervor Over Scores, US Continues to Ignore Lessons

My View of the PISA Scores is by Diane Ravitch.

The PISA Puzzle is by Dana Goldstein. Here are a couple of excerpts from her Slate piece:

There’s another PISA result that should be heeded just as much as, if not more than, the rankings themselves: The OECD found that school systems with greater teacher leadership opportunities, like Canada’s, outperform those like ours, in which administrators and policymakers exert more top-down control over the classroom, through scripted lessons or teacher evaluation systems that heavily weigh student test scores. Yet you won’t hear about that much on PISA Day, because those have both become popular interventions during the Obama era of education reform…..

Maybe the takeaway from PISA shouldn’t be that Common Core is the answer, but rather that we need a comprehensive approach to educating and caring for our poorest children in order to close the achievement gap between rich and poor in this country, and between American students and their developed-nation peers.


Four lessons on new PISA scores — Ravitch is from The Washington Post.

So…what can we DO about those low PISA scores? is by Barnett Berry.

Could Changes in School Culture Make U.S. Schools More Competitive? is from Ed Week.

10 things teachers need to know about the Pisa results is from The Guardian.

7 Reasons I Don’t Care About the PISA Results is by Rick Hess at Education Week.

Quote Of The Day: “Our Kids — Coddled or Confident?”

Want to Look Great on Global Education Surveys? Test Only the Top Students is from Business Week.

The Meaning of PISA is by Marc Tucker at Ed Week.

“PISA Day”—An Ideological and Hyperventilated Exercise is by Richard Rothstein.

Attention OECD-PISA: Your Silence on China is Wrong is by Tom Loveless.

The New York Times Editorializes on Teachers and PISA, with Multiple Errors is from Diane Ravitch.

A PISA contradiction is by Valerie Strauss at The Washington Post.

Why Arne Duncan’s PISA Comments Miss the Mark is from Education Week.

The Global Search for Education: The World Test? is from The Huffington Post.

Beware Chinese data: Its schools might not be so great is by Jay Mathews at The Washington Post.

How Does PISA Put the World at Risk (Part 1): Romanticizing Misery is by Yong Zhao.

David Berliner on PISA and Poverty is from Diane Ravitch’s blog.

How Does PISA Put the World at Risk (Part 5): Racing to the Past is by Yong Zhao.

Academics call for pause in PISA tests is from The Washington Post.

September 30, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo

A Very Beginning List Of The Best Articles On The iPad Debacle In Los Angeles Schools

'ipad' photo (c) 2010, Sean MacEntee - license:

I’m looking — granted, from afar — at the unfolding debacle of the iPad program in the Los Angeles schools. Based on what I know, I’m almost viewing it with awe — the district has seemed to make every mistake imaginable. It’s almost laughable, if you didn’t think of the huge amounts of money involved, the thousands of classroom hours lost to the fiasco, and the fear that it will instill in other districts around the country to even think of expanding technology to their students.

If only they had read just a few of the articles on The Best Resources For Beginning iPad Users list, along with the countless other ones available written by educators who actually have had experience with rolling out tech programs (not to mention The Best Advice On Using Education Technology).

I’m just beginning list with a couple of articles (many more have been written, but I think these two are the best I’ve seen so far), but I’m sure it will grow quickly:

The inside story on LA schools’ iPad rollout: “a colossal disaster” is from The Hechinger Report.

New problems surface in L.A. Unified’s iPad program is from The Los Angeles Times.

The L.A. schools’ excellent iPad adventure is a very good piece from The Los Angeles Times.

Students Are ‘Hacking’ Their School-Issued iPads: Good for Them may be the best piece written on so far on what’s going on. It’s written by Audrey Watters, and appears in The Atlantic.

iPads in the Classroom: How Did Lewisville Independent School District Get It So Right and Los Angeles Unified Get It So Wrong? is from the K-12 News Network.

LA schools and iPads: Big promises but where’s the research? is from Southern California Public Radio.

Here’s how she ends it:

In the days since the story broke about the Indiana and California students’ “hacking” their iPads, the districts’ poor planning and preparation has been roundly criticized. But more important perhaps than pointing a finger at any one security or administrative issue here, we should recognize that the real failure may be more widespread and more insidious: a profound lack of vision about how students themselves could use—want to use—these new technologies to live and to learn at their fullest potential.

LAUSD looking to delay iPad distribution is from The LA Daily News.

LA Unified School District has no Plan B for iPad project is from Southern California Public Radio.

More questions on L.A. Unified’s iPad program, but few answers

Curriculum Prompts New Concerns in L.A. iPad Plan is from Ed Week.

Critics See Risks in Use of Bonds for School Tech Projects is from Education Week.

Funding for L.A. Unified’s iPad program uncertain after three years is from The Los Angeles Times.

L.A. Unified schools to move forward with trimmed-down iPad plan is from the Los Angeles Times.

iPad software licenses expire in three years, L.A. Unified says is from The Los Angeles Times.

Many of L.A. Unified’s iPad project wounds are self-inflicted is from The L.A. Times.

iHave a Dream: The unanswered questions behind LA’s ed tech fiasco is from Pando Daily.

Larry Cuban has published an insightful critique of the the iPad disaster in Los Angeles, A Second Look at iPads in Los Angeles.

Here’s an excerpt:


Mixed reaction to iPad rollout from L.A. teachers and administrators is from The Los Angeles Times.

IPads for L.A. teachers to be postponed under new plan is from The Los Angeles Times.

Miami-Dade Pauses 1-to-1 Computing Initiative, Considers Big Changes is from Education Week.

After bungled iPad rollout, lessons from LA put tablet technology in a time out is from The Hechinger Report.

L.A. Unified slashes number of iPads deemed needed for student tests is from The L.A. Times.

The iPad Goes to School is from Business Week.

As schools give students computers, price of L.A.’s program stands out is from The LA Times.

LA Unified staff received free iPad before contract is from Southern California Public Radio.

L.A. Unified surveys prices others pay for iPads, similar devices is from the L.A. Times. Don’t you think they should have done a little earlier?

L.A. schools’ iPad watchdog committee set to disband is from the LA Times.

L.A. Unified gets reduction on iPads price is from The LA Times.

LAUSD’s quest to see full iPad curriculum comes up short is from The LA Times.

Public denied access to LA school officials’ iPad software demonstration is from Southern California Public Radio.

L.A. Unified board refuses to reappoint member of oversight panel is from The LA Times.

LAUSD reappoints member of bond oversight panel after uproar is from The LA Times.

LAUSD board agrees on testing alternative laptops is from The LA Times.

LAUSD report faults iPad bidding is from The Los Angeles Times.

Can Supt. Deasy survive LAUSD’s iPad fiasco? is from The Los Angeles Times. LA schools cancel iPad contracts after KPCC publishes internal emails is from Southern California Public Radio.

Supt. Deasy’s early and avid support of iPads under intense scrutiny is one of many recent articles discussing revelations about the iPad scandal at the Los Angeles schools. L.A. Unified exemplifies the forces that stifle public school reform is another LA Times piece about what’s going on there. And here’s another one where Deasy comes across incredibly defensive. As one person remarked to me, “Deasy may survive, but he’ll never recover.”

This Ed Week post provides an excellent summary.

Strained ties cloud future of Deasy, LAUSD is from The Los Angeles Times.

Rotten to the Core: How an Apple mega-deal cost Los Angeles classrooms $1 billion
is from Salon.

L.A. school board authorizes talks on departure agreement with Deasy is from The L.A. Times.

Bonds should not pay for iPad curriculum, new L.A. Unified head says is from The Los Angeles Times.