Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

July 12, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
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“Guess What!” Is A Great “New” Game – Plus, ELLs Can Create A Video For An Authentic Audience

guesswhat

Guess What! is the name of a “new” game from Cambridge University Press.

I have “new” in parenthesis because it’s a version of a game used with English Language Learners for decades – Taboo – where players have to describe a word without using the word, and others have to guess what is being described.

The great twist in “Guess What!” is that students can create videos of them describing a word, upload it, and then have other classes use them as part of their own game (they provide simple instructions).

Plenty of research shows that students are much more engaged in a learning activity when they have an authentic audience, and “Guess What!” certainly fills the bill.

I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning To Use The Video Apps “Vine” & Instagram just because that’s where I have other examples of ELLs using short videos.

July 5, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
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“Pairprep” Lets Students Compete Against A Friend (Or Themselves) & Lets Teachers Monitor Progress

pairprep

Pairprep is a free site that has a number of “courses” (a series of multiple choice questions on a particular topic – like “ESL”) where students can compete against a friend, a random opponent, or themselves as they choose answers. Teachers can monitor student progress through a virtual classroom.

Teachers can create that classroom by choosing an existing courses through first clicking on the course name and then clicking the big read “Contribute” button on the upper right of the page. Or teachers can create their own course from scratch.

I’m adding it to The Best Sites That Students Can Use Independently And Let Teachers Check On Progress.

In addition, I’m adding it to The Best Online Games Students Can Play In Private Virtual “Rooms.” Even though the other sites on that list let students compete against all their classmates instead of just one, Pairprep is close enough to fit.

June 24, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
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GlassLab Games Could Be Useful To Educators, Especially Now With Adding “Civilization”

glasslabgames

GlassLab Games lets educators create virtual classrooms where students can play educational games and have their progress monitored. You can create a free classroom, but only have access to one-or-two of the games, and you can also create a free one with access to all of them for sixty days. For a longer period of time, you need to pay, but the price is not astronomical.

I’m not that impressed with the games they have now. However, the well-known game Civilization is creating a specific education version that will be available on the site in October.

That new feature could make it much more attractive…

I’m adding this info to The Best Sites That Students Can Use Independently And Let Teachers Check On Progress.

June 20, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
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“The Fiscal Ship” May Be A Useful Learning Game

fiscalship

The Fiscal Ship was just named of one the top games at the Serious Play Conference.

It’s a surprisingly accessible and engaging interactive about (yawn) fiscal policy and the federal budget.

Though the majority of its backers appear to be conservative groups, the sponsoring group includes a few others, too. I didn’t play the game all the way through; however, what I did get through seemed to be relatively even-handed without pushing a particular agenda.

If you go through the whole thing, I’d be interested in hearing if the game maintains that fair perspective.

Here’s a video introduction:

June 18, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
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The Best Online Learning Games Of 2016 – So Far

The-Best-Online-Learning

Time for another mid-year ”The Best…” list.

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 2016. 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 2016- So Far:

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 have 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.

Google Feud and PhotoBomber would be fun games to play with English Language Learners.  In the first one, 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.  It would work for advanced ELLs – you’re given a combination of pictures and words and have to guess the common expression it represents.

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

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.

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.

Fantasy GeoPolitics has potential has an online game for Social Studies classes.

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 (seeThoughtful & Important Critique Of Slave Simulation Game).

This year, they unveiled their latest one, called City Of Immigrants. It seems, at least to me, that they might have taken some of the criticism they received to heart and it seems okay (let me know if you disagree).

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…

April 5, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Webby Award Nominees Announced This Morning – Here Are Six Best Sites For Learning

webbywebby

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
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“Disaster Detector” Game From Smithsonian Looks Good

disaster1

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.

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