Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

September 28, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

Google Rolls-Out The Coolest Way – Ever – For Students To Take Virtual Field Trip


In May, I wrote about Google’s new virtual reality field trip program (see Google’s New “Expeditions” Looks Like An Insanely Cool Way For Students To Take A Virtual Field Trip).

Here’s how I described it then:

Basically, teachers will be able to choose locations from around the world using an iPad and then:

send synchronized three-dimensional 360° panoramas to each student’s Cardboard viewer, pointing out areas of interest in real time and instantly pausing the trip when needed.

Yes, that’s right — students would have individualized Cardboard viewers — sort of virtual reality glasses (though students would also be able to view the images on other devices, too).

Today, Google announced they’re taking the show on the road to cities in the United States, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. Here’s a list of sites they’re visiting, and bringing along everything teachers and students need to use the Expeditions program:


Here’s their announcement:

Expeditions is hitting the road! Expeditions teams will visit selected schools around the world, starting with The United States, Australia, New Zealand, The United Kingdom, and Brazil. Each team will bring a complete Expeditions kit with everything the teachers need to take their students on journeys anywhere. If it sounds like something your school, teachers and students would be interested in, please visit our Pioneer Program site to learn more about the program and sign up to be considered. Spaces are limited so sign-up soon!

As we won’t be able to visit every school who signs up, later in the year we’ll be making Expeditions available for download by any school that wants to use it with kits they’ve assembled themselves – all you need are enough tablets or smartphones for everyone that wants to join and a wireless network.

If you want them to come to your school, you have to have at least teachers signed-up to participate, though its pretty clear that preferences will be given to schools that have a lot of teachers on-board.

Here are two more articles about Google’s announcement today:

Google Virtual-Reality System Aims to Enliven Education is from The New York Times.

Google’s Expeditions Pioneer Program Brings Cardboard To Schools is from TechCrunch.

I’m adding this post to The Best Resources For Finding And Creating Virtual Field Trips.

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July 31, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

Video: “How Google Translate Makes Signs Instantly Readable”

Earlier this week, I posted about recent updates to Google Translate (see Google Translate Announces Another Big Update Today).

I think its ability to translate text by just looking at it through your phone is akin to magic.

Here’s a new video that explains how it actually does it:

I’m adding it to The Best Sites For Learning About Google Translate & Other Forms Of Machine Translation.

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July 29, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

Google Translate Announces Another Big Update Today


Last January, Google Translate updated big-time with support for (not quite) real time voice translation and translation of text through camera images (see “Google Translate” Starts A Big Time Update Today).

Today, they announced another big update – adding a ton of new languages to the feature that translates images of text, along with what they say are improvements that will make the voice translation ability work better:

We started out with seven languages—English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish—and today we’re adding 20 more. You can now translate to and from English and Bulgarian, Catalan, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Filipino, Finnish, Hungarian, Indonesian, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, Slovak, Swedish, Turkish and Ukrainian. You can also do one-way translations from English to Hindi and Thai. (Or, try snapping a pic of the text you’d like translated—we have a total of 37 languages in camera mode.)

I’ve embedded a cute video below where they’re showing off using the new languages in the visual mode.

I’ve found the real-time voice translation feature not very workable in classroom situations, but perhaps these new updates will mitigate those problems.

The visual text feature, on the other hand, has come in quite handy for some students. As the video shows, you just set the language of the text you want translated and the language you want it translated into, click the camera icon, point it at the text, and it shows you the translated image. As the video also shows, it works great with large text. It works well with small text when I’m using my iPhone 6, but students have found in the past it doesn’t work nearly as well with lower-end smartphones. I don’t know if this new update will fix that issue or not.

I’m adding this post to The Best Sites For Learning About Google Translate & Other Forms Of Machine Translation.

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July 15, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

President Announces “New” Program To Connect Low-Income Families To Internet – I’m Skeptical

Today, President Obama announced a “new” plan to connect 275,000 low-income households to the Internet. You can read about it in The New York Times article, U.S. Program Will Connect Public Housing Residents to Web.

Here’s an excerpt:


I’m all for low-income families getting Internet access and, as regular readers know, have worked on this issue for years (see The Best Resources For Learning About Schools Providing Home Computers & Internet Access To Students).

However, in reviewing what this “new” program does, I don’t see anything new in it apart from Google providing connections free in the three cities where they have Google Fiber, and one Native American-owned utility providing it free to their local public housing residents.

Everything else, except for a bunch of “training” with very questionable value, is already available under Comcast’s free program and the expansion the FCC ordered all cable companies to do.

Perhaps I’m missing something – let me know if I am. I just get concerned that pseudo big new programs provide the illusion that something is being done when it isn’t, and then reduces the likelihood of real solutions actually occurring….

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July 13, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

Quote Of The Day: The “frustrating disappointments” of Ed Tech

Are We Investing in History Repeating Itself? is an interesting article about ed tech that appeared today in Bright.

Here’s an excerpt:


You might also be interested in The Best Posts & Articles Highlighting Why We Need To Be Very Careful Around Ed Tech.

The same article also mentioned a nice site called MathTrain.TV set-up by a California middle school teacher. His students create videos – much more engaging ones, I might add, than what you’ll see at The Khan Academy — teaching math concepts to an authentic audience.

Here’s an explanation of the site:

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June 14, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

Ed Tech Digest

In another somewhat futile attempt to reduce the backlog of resources I want to share, I’m starting this weekly “Ed Tech Digest” post where I’ll share three or four links I think are particularly useful and related to…ed tech:

Personalized Learning: More Teacher, Less Algorithm? is from Ed Week. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Understanding “Personalized Learning.”

Why Ed Tech Is Not Transforming How Teachers Teach and How Teachers Use Ed Tech: 8 Research Studies You Need to Know are both from Ed Week. I’m adding them to The Best Research Available On The Use Of Technology In Schools.

I’m adding this next tweet to the same list:

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