Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

September 22, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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New $15 Million XPRIZE For Learning Software To “Disrupt” Education — Call Me A Cynic

xprize

The XPRIZE organization has offered many big prizes for technological solutions to problem. Now, they’ve set their sights on education and want to “disrupt” it.

The prize is:

challenging teams around the world to develop tablet-based software solutions that can bring children who have little or no access to quality education to a higher level of performance in reading, writing and arithmetic in eighteen months. The winning team will create an independent learning environment for each child, empowering them to take control of their own learning and, ultimately, their future.

And they’re doing this because:

The traditional model of education is no longer scalable or sustainable. We simply can’t build enough schools or train enough teachers to meet the need.

For all I know, some decent learning software might come out of this effort. Unfortunately, though, they’ve drunk the “kool-aid” of all the high-tech folks who know little about education and want to create a technological magical solution.

Granted, there certainly are substantial challenges to education in developing countries. But having good, plentiful schools with quality teachers is “scalable” and “sustainable” with a broad-based political push to make it happen.

Some nice software will not…

As legendary organizer Fred Ross, Sr. once said:

Short-cuts usually end in detours, which lead to dead ends.

Here’s a video on the new Prize (this is where I got the quotations):

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September 18, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Three Skeptical Posts About Ed Tech

Here are few interesting recent skeptical posts on ed tech issues:

Why I’m Asking You Not to Use Laptops is from The Chronicle Of Higher Education. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles Highlighting Why We Need To Be Very Careful Around Ed Tech.

Why I Just Asked My Students To Put Their Laptops Away is by Clay Shirky. I’m adding it to the same list.

iPads for Young Children in School is by Larry Cuban.

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September 14, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Time For Comcast To Step-Up & Provide “Net Access For Poor”

I’ve had a keen interest for years in helping low-income families obtain Internet access, including helping to lead our school’s internationally recognized effort with immigrants a few years ago. You can read about that, and other programs, at The Best Resources For Learning About Schools Providing Home Computers & Internet Access To Students.

On that “Best” list, you’ll also be able to read about Internet Essentials, a program begun by Comcast as a way to get mergers approved. It offers low-income students low-cost Internet access, but has been plagued with problems (you’ll also see articles on that list describing them).

Today, in The Sacramento Bee, Delaine Eastin, California’s former state Superintendent of Public Instruction, details those issues in Make sure Comcast provides low-income Internet access as part of merger.

Here’s an excerpt:

I am joining with California leaders, including Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Los Angeles County officials, to ask the FCC to closely review Comcast’s performance in implementing Internet Essentials. If regulators are inclined to approve the [Time Warner] merger, they should require:

• Internet Essentials include all low-income households.

• Comcast be held accountable to meet specific subscription goals.

• Comcast capitalize an independently managed fund to support nonprofit broadband adoption programs and coordinate with states.

• The FCC establish an advisory oversight committee.

• Comcast offer Internet Essentials as a stand-alone service, not bundled with other services.

The California Public Utilities Commission in its filing to the FCC also recommends the FCC closely review Comcast’s implementation and administration of Internet Essentials to ensure if the program has met the company’s commitments as to the public benefit of the transaction.

What has your experience been with Internet Essentials.

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August 19, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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This Is Sure Interesting: “Google May Start Handing Out Gmail Accounts to Kids”

Google May Start Handing Out Gmail Accounts to Kids just appeared in the Atlantic.

Here’s how it begins:

Google may be going kid-friendly. The tech giant is allegedly planning to offer accounts to children under the age of 13 for services like Gmail and YouTube, according to reports.

The unprecedented move would allow children to navigate fully online (without doing so anonymously or lying about their ages, as many have done on sites like Facebook), and allow Google access to the lucrative education market.

The company would also be wading into controversial waters. If the search giant were to open its doors to children under 13, it would have to comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which currently mandates that Internet companies storing data on children must first seek parental consent, and controls how that data is used for targeted advertising. In other words, Google will have to insert parents into the fold in the rumored initiative.

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August 8, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

Six Good Ed Tech Links

Here are some recent useful articles on ed tech-related issues:

Why Some Schools Are Selling All Their iPads is from The Atlantic. I’m adding it to The Best Resources On “One-To-One” Laptop/Tablet Programs.

Why a New Jersey school district decided giving laptops to students is a terrible idea is from The Hechinger Report. I’m adding it to the same list.

How can teachers get devices for blended learning? is from Edutopia. I’m adding it to The Best Posts On The “Flipped Classroom” Idea.

Apps That Rise to the Top: Tested and Approved By Teachers is from MindShift. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Beginning iPad Users.

The NAEP has started having students write essays online. Though they are not the Common Core tests our schools will have to be taking, its experience is useful to know as our students begin to take standardized tests online this year. Here are some articles about it:

4th Graders Struggle With Icons, Directions on Computer-Based Tests is from Education Week.

The End of Paper-and-Pencil Exams? is from The Atlantic.

I’m adding them to The Best Resources For Learning About The “Next Generation” Of State Testing.

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August 1, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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TIME Chooses Its 50 Best Websites Of The Year & There Is One Gem On The List

time1

TIME has just selected their 50 Best Websites of the Year.

You’ll know most of them, and most of the others that you don’t know you don’t really need to know.

However, usually I find one or two gems on their annual lists, and today is no exception.

Quotacle is that gem, and here’s its description:

It’s early days for this site, which lets you search for classic movie quotes along with the relevant video clip. But we’re hoping it quickly expands beyond its current catalog of 143 movies — and that Hollywood doesn’t get antsy and try to shut it down.

I’m adding it to The Best Places To Find Quotations On The Web.

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July 23, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Excellent English-Learning App Duolingo Now Takes On TOEFL & IELTS

duo

Duolingo, which is on a bunch of my “Best” lists as a language-learning app (my students love it!) have not made it official — they’ve just unveiled an English test they want to rival the TOEFL and IELTS, tests that international students need to pass prior to attending a university in most English-speaking countries.

You can read more about it at this TechCrunch post, and here’s a video:

I wouldn’t bet against Duolingo…

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July 22, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Seven Good “Reads” On Ed Tech

Here are several recent good pieces related to educational technology:

10 Things Every Teacher Should Know How To Do With Google Docs is from Edudemic.

Will Computers Ever Replace Teachers? appeared in The New Yorker.

3 Reasons Why Chromebook Beats iPad in 1:1 Programs is from edSurge.

My Flipped Classroom Experience is by Kenneth Headley. I’m adding it to The Best Posts On The “Flipped Classroom” Idea.

Classroom Management and the Flipped Class is from Edutopia. I’m adding it to the same list.

Ed tech that needs nothing but a TV and VCR? is from The Hechinger Report.

Betting Big on Personalized Learning is from Education Week. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Understanding “Personalized Learning.”

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July 15, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Two New & Intriguing Efforts To Provide Home Internet Access To Students

I’ve written a lot about our school’s efforts and the efforts of others to provide home internet access to low-income students and their families (see The Best Resources For Learning About Schools Providing Home Computers & Internet Access To Students).

Two new and intriguing efforts have just begun — one by Facebook and the other by the New York City Public Library.

Facebook has started a pilot program to provide Internet access to students in a town where one of their data centers is located. It’s unclear if it will be expanded, but it would be nice if it was….

According to The New York Times, here’s with the library there is doing:

The library decided to try lending people a small box that plugs into a wall and provides wireless Internet service for up to five users at a time. To pay for the boxes, and a $10 monthly subscription, the library got a $500,000 grant last month from the Knight News Challenge, enough to equip 2,000 people. “We’re looking for another $1.5 million in private donations to get to 10,000 households in all five boroughs, and libraries in Kansas and Maine,” Mr. Marx said.

Interesting stuff…

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July 13, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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The Best Resources For Understanding “Personalized Learning”

When the last Race To The Top applications came out, its focus on the idea of “personalized learning” prompted me to create a The Best Resources On “Race To The Top” (& On “Personalized Learning”) list.

Now, though, I think it’s time to make the topic a “Best” list of its own…

I’ve got a number of concerns, and a fair amount of skepticism, about what’s passing as “personalized learning” these days, and this collection reflects it. Feel free to make your own suggestions in the comments:

“Personalized Learning,” Race To The Top & Putting Even More Lipstick On A Pig

Another Good Take On “Personalized Learning”

Personalization is by Chris Lehmann.

Dan Meyer On Personalization is by…Dan Meyer.

‘Personalized Learning’ Varies for Race to Top Districts is from Education Week.

Quote Of The Day: Personalized Learning

The Soaring Promise Of Big Data In Math Education is by Dan Meyer.

Gates and Murdoch “Personalize” Learning with Larger Classes and Big Data Systems is by Anthony Cody at Education Week.

Rebirth of the Teaching Machine through the Seduction of Data Analytics: This Time It’s Personal is by Philip McRae.

This Time It’s Personal and Dangerous is by Barbara Bray.

 

The History of “Personalization” and Teaching Machines is by Audrey Watters.

Betting Big on Personalized Learning is from Education Week

Informal + Formative = Informative Assessments is from Wag The Dog and has a good “take” on personalized learning.

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July 7, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Video & Useful Tweets From #TeachDoNow Panel On Teachers & Social Media

Vicki Davis, Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach, Tina Barseghian Matt Williams and I participated in a #TeachDoNow Google+ panel discussion on teachers and social media. Here is the video and some useful tweets sent during the hour event.

You can learn more about KQED’s #TeachDoNow online course here.

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July 1, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
2 Comments

“ABC Mouse” & “Vocabmonk” Are Two New Sites Where Teachers Can Create Virtual Classrooms

I’m adding two new sites to The Best Sites That Students Can Use Independently And Let Teachers Check On Progress:

One is ABC Mouse, which — at this point, at least — only provides content for pre-K and Kindergartners, though much of it would also be accessible and useful for Beginning English Language Learners. Though it charges families, teachers can sign-up for their own virtual classrooms. It’s also accessible for free from public libraries.

The second is Vocabmonk, which focuses on building academic vocabulary. Teachers can also create their own virtual classrooms there, too.

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June 30, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Four Interesting Links On Educational Technology

Here are some recent pretty interesting posts/articles on ed tech:

Educational technology isn’t leveling the playing field is from The Hechinger Report. I’m adding it to The Best Research Available On The Use Of Technology In Schools.

In Defense of Laptops in the Classroom is from Slate.

5 Things Researchers Have Discovered About MOOCs is from The Chronicle Of Higher Education. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles On MOOC’s.

Striking a Balance: Digital Tools and Distraction in School is from Edutopia. I’m adding it to The Best Posts On Classroom Management.

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June 22, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Five Useful Ed Tech Articles & Posts

'Earning Degrees' photo (c) 2012, Michael Coghlan - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Here are some recent useful pieces on ed tech-related issues:

From Apple II to Touchcast, the evolution of computers in the classroom is from The Washington Post. I’m adding it to The Best Sites For Learning About The History Of Technology.

Via Tablet or Smartphone, Learning With MOOCs is from The New York Times. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles On MOOC’s — Help Me Find More.

Three issues with the case for banning laptops is a thoughtful commentary from the Chronicle of Higher Education on a recent New Yorker piece advocating banning laptops in the college classroom (a link to the original piece is in the Chronicle article).

Don’t Personalize Learning is definitely a thought-provoking piece.

The Missing Guide for Google Hangout Video Calls is very helpful. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning What Google+ Is All About.

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May 28, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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The Best Posts & Articles Highlighting Why We Need To Be Very Careful Around Ed Tech

'hackNY 2011 Spring Student Hackathon' photo (c) 2011, hackNY.org - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Most readers know that I’m a big proponent of using technology to help students in their learning process.

In fact, you can see a collection of applicable articles and related “Best” lists at The Best Advice On Using Education Technology.

Most readers also know I’ve got a lot of misgivings about how tech is being used in education, particularly in ways that seem to prioritize profit over learning (though that’s certainly not the only reason it’s being misused).

I thought I’d bring together a number of those kinds of “Best” lists, along with specific articles, and encourage readers to also contribute their own.

Here they are:

The Best Posts About The Khan Academy

The Best Posts & Articles On MOOC’s — Help Me Find More

The Best Posts On Computer-Graded Essays

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

Audrey Watters has written too many excellent posts to count on this topic at her blog, Hack Education.

Marketing Technologies in U.S. Public Schools is by Larry Cuban.

Framing the School Technology Dream is also by Larry Cuban.

Adaptive Learning Is An Infinite iPod That Only Plays Neil Diamond is by Dan Meyer.

Mind the Quicksand: A Word of Warning to EdTech Investors is from The Education Scientist.

Quotes: When Vendors Calls Themselves “Partners” is from This Week In Education.

I’ve written a fair amount about Internet Essentials in The Best Resources For Learning About Schools Providing Home Computers & Internet Access To Students. It’s Concast’s program to provide online access to low-income students. I have mentioned some skepticism about the program, but I was amazed about how much more skeptical we all should be of it. Read about it at The Washington Post, Why Comcast’s $10 a month Internet isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and at Quartz, Comcast promised poor Americans cheap internet, but most of them didn’t get it.

The History of “Personalization” and Teaching Machines is by Audrey Watters.

OPINION: A Distemperate Response to Silicon Valley’s ‘Edtech Revolution’ is from Ed Surge.

Bill Gates Is an Autodidact. You’re Probably Not. is from Slate.

Why I’m Asking You Not to Use Laptops is from The Chronicle Of Higher Education.

Why I Just Asked My Students To Put Their Laptops Away is by Clay Shirky.

What am I missing?

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May 28, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Star Trek “Universal Translator,” Here We Come?

'New CGI version of Star Trek's USS Enterprise' photo (c) 2006, Purple Slog - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

I’ve previously posted about experiments made by Microsoft to create the capacity for simultaneous translation (see The Best Sites For Learning About Google Translate & Other Forms Of Machine Translation) and about Word Lens, an amazing mobile app that translates images of signs (see The Best Sites For Beginning iPhone Users Like Me).

Well, there has been big news recently about both tools.

Microsoft has made new advances and, as The Atlantic reports, Microsoft’s Skype Will Soon Be Able to Translate Voice Calls in Real Time. They’ll release it later this year. You can read more about it at The Guardian’s article, Microsoft’s ‘Star Trek’ voice translator available before the end 2014, and see this video demo:

In terms of Word Lensthey’ve just been bought by Google, who intends to integrate their features into Google Translate. Before that happens, though, they are making their app free for a limited time. In case you didn’t see their video when they first unveiled it, check it out:

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