Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

April 5, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Webby Award Nominees Announced This Morning – Here Are Six Best Sites For Learning


Nominees for the twentieth annual were announced this morning (go here and click on “view all categories to see them). I think you have to kiss a lot of pigs before you find the princes, but there are a few excellent learning resources there that I haven’t already shared.

Here they are:

Ice and Sky is an interactive describing the history of climate change. It’s a good complement to A Journey Through Climate History, a site I’ve previously shared.  I’m adding it to The Best Sites To Learn About Climate Change.

Google Feud and PhotoBomber would be fun games to play with English Language Learners.  In the first one, which is a Webby nominee, you’re given a phrase and have to guess the ten most likely words to complete it in a Google search.  The downside, however, is that it’s possible you might end up with something inappropriate.  The second one is a sister site, though did not actually receive a nomination.  It would work for advanced ELLs – you’re given a combination of pictures and words and have to guess the common expression it represents.

Apollo 17 is a multimedia interactive letting you experience – in real time – that moon-landing mission.

Mawahtale is an interactive on Ebola.  I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About The Ebola Virus.

The Studio from Giphy lets you easily create GIFs and animated slideshows. I’m adding it to The Best Resources On GIFs — Please Contribute More, which I just updated.

Check out the nominees and let me know if you think I missed any!

March 18, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

“Disaster Detector” Game From Smithsonian Looks Good


Disaster Detector is an online interactive game from the Smithsonian that looks like it would be an excellent game for students to play who are learning about natural disasters, and it seems surprisingly accessible to English Language Learners.

Players had to plan what they think would be the most effective defenses for a community facing various natural disasters and then see how effective they are when the hurricane, earthquake, etc. hits.

I’m adding it to The Best Websites For Learning About Natural Disasters.

That list includes other “games” for students to learn about disasters:

One is Disaster Watch, and a more complicated one is Stop Disasters.

January 2, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

“Earth-Picker” Is A New Online Geography Game


Earth-Picker is a new online geography game that works similar to a number of other games on The Best Online Geography Games.

But, because of District Internet content filters, you can never have too many sites doing the same thing on your classroom list!

Thanks to Google Maps Mania for the tip.

December 11, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

New National Geographic Game On The Pilgrims


Saints and Sinners is a new National Geographic game where players role-play being a Pilgrim.

It’s has some elements of a “Choose Your Own Adventure” game, along with other “role-playing” features.

Its seems a bit complicated to me, though I have to admit I didn’t spend a whole lot of time on it. I’m not ready to add it to either The Best Places To Read & Write “Choose Your Own Adventure” Stories or to my class blog post on the Pilgrims, but I think it may deserve a further look…

Let me know what you think…

December 3, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

Triventy Looks Like A Decent Online Learning Game Site


Triventy is an online learning quiz-game site I recently learned about through Teacher’s Tech Toolbox.

It’s very similar to several other games on The “All-Time” Best Online Learning Games list (especially Quizalize and Quizizz ) — students play an online quiz together, and a “leaderboard” is shown after each question is answered (I talk about the benefits and challenges of this kind of feature at the “Best” post).  As with those other sites, you can create your own quiz or use one that has already been made.

The only negative feature I found on Triventy, which prevents me from adding it to that same Best list, is that it appears that the questions can only be moved forward by the teacher/moderator doing so – in other words, it must be used only with the quiz projected on a screen with students using mobile devices or computers to participate.  The other sites automatically move to the next question whenever an individual student answers one.  I hope they add that option soon (or perhaps it’s there and I just didn’t see it?).

Speaking of these types of games, Quizizz has just added a great feature — the ability to assign these quizzes as homework and to have teachers track student progress. It seems like Quizizz and Quizalize are in an on-going battle to add new features (again, you can read about them at the previously-mentioned “Best” list), and that can only benefit us and our students.

Because of that recent new feature, I’m also adding Quizizz to The Best Sites That Students Can Use Independently And Let Teachers Check On Progress.

November 17, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

Mission US Unveils New Immigration Game – Is It A Winner Or A Loser?


Mission US has created several “choose your own adventure” games related to U.S. History.

I thought its first one, about the American Revolutionary War, was quite good. However, they seemed to lose their way with subsequent insensitive ones on slavery and Native Americans (see Thoughtful & Important Critique Of Slave Simulation Game).

Today, they unveiled their latest one, called City Of Immigrants.

Here’s how one reviewer describes it:

It is 1907. You are Lena Brodsky, a 14-year-old Jewish Immigrant from Russia. In your hometown of Minsk, the forces of the Tsar have pushed your family off their lands, and the violence of the pogroms looms large. Your brother Issac was the first to cross the Atlantic to seek a new life in the land of America, and you have followed in turn: a fourteen day trip across the entire world. You hope that you will prove yourself worthy of entering America. You hope that you can earn enough to send for your mother and father. You hope for a better future. There will be many obstacles in America, and many choices to be made. But it is, they say, the land of opportunity…

I haven’t had time to try it out, but I am hopeful they have learned from the critiques of their last two games. If you have the time to play it, leave a comment letting me know what you think….

October 21, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Online Learning Games Of 2015 – Part Two


Time for another end-of-the-year ”The Best…” list.

You can see all my mid-year lists at All My 2015 Mid-Year “Best” Lists In One Place! and all my 1,500 “Best” lists here.

As usual, In order to make it on this list, games had to:

* be accessible to English Language Learners.

* provide exceptionally engaging content.

* not provide access to other non-educational games on their site, though there is one on this list that doesn’t quite meet this particular criteria.

* be seen by me during the second part of 2015. So they might have been around prior to this time, but I’m still counting them in this year’s list.

You might also be interested in:

The Best Online Learning Games Of 2015 – So Far

The Best Online Learning Games Of 2014

The “All-Time” Best Online Learning Games

The Best Online Learning Games Of 2013 – Part Two

The Best Online Learning Games Of 2013 — So Far

The Best Online Learning Games Of 2012 — So Far

The Best Online Learning Games — 2011

The Best Online Learning Games — 2010

The Best Online Learning Games — 2009

The Best Online Learning Games — 2008

The Best Online Learning Games — 2007

Here are my choices for The Best Online Learning Games Of 2015- Part Two:

Quizalize is a relatively new addition to The Best Ways To Create Online Tests. It’s very similar to Kahoot. My big critique of both Quizalize and Kahoot has been that neither have allowed students to see how they are faring against their classmates in answering the questions, which is an important component (used appropriately) in using them as games. That’s why I’ve featured an alternative called Quizizz on my The Best Websites For Creating Online Learning Games list over the first two. Quizizz lets students see their standing in the competition. Even though I don’t think it’s been a problem in my classes for low-scoring students to see their low-standings because of the super-strong culture we develop around student challenges being around learning the English language and not about intelligence, I can see that problem potentially being an issue in many content classes.

Quizalize recently announced a new feature that I think deals with that problem — now students are automatically grouped in teams and the teams compete against each other, plus students see how their teams are doing. This is how I typically organizing learning games in the classroom, and I think it’s simple, yet ingenious, that Quizalize figured out how to do it automatically online. I’m now adding both Quizizz and Quizalize to The “All-Time” Best Online Learning Games.

As regular readers know, I’m a fan of using online Escape The Room games as language-development exercises for English Language Learners. You can see articles I’ve written about it, as well as links to some of my favorite games, here. I’ve even posted about an online tool that lets you create your own Escape The Room games. I hadn’t thought these games could have any other academic purpose – until recently. Kelly Tenkely wrote a post about how one Escape The Room game called Scientific Detectives: Training Room Escape is used to teach scientific reasoning. I think it’s pretty ingenious, especially if it’s paired with students creating their own using the game-creator I mentioned earlier in this post.

You an play lots of simple online educational games at Tiny Tap. You can create them, too, but for that feature you have to use their iPhone/iPad app – the games are playable on computers or mobile devices. For a monthly cost, teachers can create virtual classrooms and monitor student progress, but everything else seems to be free.

Thanks to Jim Bentley, I learned about Karen Ogen‘s nice collection of learning games called Interactive Sites For Education. I’m adding it to The Best Collections Of Online Educational Games.

The BBC’s “Skillwise” site has a great collection of English games that would be accessible to Intermediate and Advanced English Language Learners.

Playbuzz lets you create a variety of online games and quizzes very easily – for free. You can embed them, too. The only problem is that anybody can create them and, though I didn’t see any objectionable ones after taking a quick look, I’ve got a suspicion that some District content filters might block the site.

A couple of years ago, I posted about a new site called BrainRush. It was just beginning then, and lets you created flashcard learning activities. Those, of course, are a dime-a-dozen. But what made BrainRush different was that you could create virtual classrooms and monitor student progress in mastering them. Plus, they said they would be adding more activities in the future. And, most importantly, it was free. I recently checked the site again. I saw that they have indeed added the kinds of activities you can create. Now, in addition to flashcards, you can develop sequencing activities, Buckets (a categorization interactive) and “hotspots” (a naming/placing tool). They all look good, as does the price :)

I was searching online to find simple tools for making online matching games (the ones that, for example, have questions on the left and mixed-up answers on the right) and was pleasantly surprised to find the SuperTeacherTools site. Not only does it let teacher and students create these kinds of matching games without having to register and very easily, it also has other game-making features. Here’s a quick one I did on a growth mindset. There were a few others, including Eduplay, but SuperTeacherTools was by far the best one.

Here are two other recent additions to The Best Websites For Creating Online Learning Games:

eQuiz Show lets you easily create online Jeopardy-like games without requiring registration. There are already a number of similar tools on the list, but you can never have too many because who knows what School District content filters will block and what they will let through.

Thanks to Alison Rostetter, I learned about Teachers-Direct. They have two styles of games you can create without registering. One is called Quiz-Busters. The other is sort of interesting. I’m not a big fan of Word Searches, and view them as basically busy work. At this site, you can create a Word Search – with a twist. Instead of listing the words students have to find, you list sentences with a blank and the students have to come up with the word and find it. I wouldn’t spend any teacher time on creating one, but I could see having students use it to create ones for classmates to play now-and-then.

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