Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

January 8, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

Duolingo For Schools Opened Today – Here’s How It Works

As I posted earlier this week (see Duolingo Takes Next Step To Conquer Language Learning World & Lets Teachers Create Virtual Classrooms), the super-popular Duolingo language-learning app unveiled its free Duolingo For Schools feature today.

It looks impressive. It’s very easy to register as a teacher and create a class — in fact, it just took a few seconds. The only minor annoyance is that it appears you have to create a new username as a teacher — in other words, if you presently are registered on Duolingo, they won’t let you use that same username. It’s not that big of a deal, but it is just one more username to have to remember :)

After registering, you’re given a link to send to students or, as I have done, post in our class blog. Then students click on it and it leads them to a registration screen where they can register if they are new or log-in if they are a returning user. Once they registor or log-in, they are automatically sent to this screen:


It will show the name of their teacher and class. It’s nice that it automatically appears and the only thing the student has to do is click “Save Changes.” One glitch that I’m seeing is that the “Save Changes” box remains “grayed-out” until the student clicks the space bar a couple of times after the teacher’s email address. I’ve alerted Duolingo to the problem and am not sure if it is a widespread issue or just with me.

Once that’s done, the student can go to work and his/her word completed will show-up on the teacher’s dashboard, which looks like this:


It looks good, though I wish there was an FAQ that might help teachers who have questions about interpreting the information on the dashboard — a suggestion that I have also sent to Duolingo.

All in all, it looks pretty darn easy. All my students will be registering there tomorrow. I’ll let you know if there are any problems, but I don’t anticipate any. I think this will be a huge positive addition to language-learning. I’ve already told my students that most of their paper-based homework will be eliminated in favor of Duolingo and, I tell ya’, that announcement was met with hearty cheers :)

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December 27, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

The Best Mobile Apps For The Classroom: An Open-Ended Crowdsourced List

I was asked to write a short article listing the ten “best” mobile apps for the classroom and invited readers to contribute their own (see What Are Your Top One-To-Three Mobile Apps For The Classroom – & Why?).

You might also be interested in:

The Best Mobile Apps For English Language Learners

The Best Sites For Beginning iPhone Users Like Me

The Best Resources For Beginning iPad Users

Here’s what people have contributed so far, and I plan on continuing to add to the list — please add more in the comments section:

Dion Norman:

Top apps for us:

1. Explain Everything – used for screencasting across all subject areas to connect with Visible Thinking. Students save to Drive and share to their blogs.

2. Book Creator – a great app to bring in content from many other apps (Tellagami, Pic Collage, iMovie, Explain Everything, Popplet, Keynote, etc). Students can share final books to a shared Google Folder and they can then download each other’s books in iBooks.

3. Drive – We are a Google Apps school and Drive is an essential app for students to use to share and organize their work. We also use Hapara Teacher Dashboard as a tool for teachers to see student content in Drive and Blogger.
The struggle, is the lack of full features in Drive and other Google Apps (Docs, Sheets, Slides) on the iPad.

Laura B Fogle:

Remind – As a parent and a student I love the flexibility to receive messages via email or text. As a teacher i appreciate managing the contacts through Remind.

iMovie – I love skipping the step of downloading video and being able to edit on the capture device. This is the only app I have been willing to pay for on my iPad cart because of the creativity it unlocks.

Skyview – seeing constellations, satellites and planets superimposed on the night sky is mind blowing and makes astronomy come alive!

Mary Lee Newman:

1. Explain Everything – If I could only have one app, this one would be it! I use it in every subject area, mostly for students to screencast their thinking process.

2. Virtual Manipulatives – I love this one for teaching fractions. Think of all the fraction pieces without the mess, plus there are conversions to percentages and decimals.

3. Google Earth – you can go anywhere in the world from your classroom: check out a book setting, travel for Social Studies.

4. iPad video camera – Not really an app, but it shouldn’t be forgotten. It’s simple, it’s there, and we use it often so students can see themselves in action.

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December 25, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

Recent Skeptical Ed Tech Research

December 20, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

Infographic: How Skype’s New “Simultaneous” Translation Works

Earlier this week, I posted about Skype’s new almost simultaneous translation system (see A Step Towards Star Trek’s “Universal Translator”).

Here’s an infographic and a video that provides a little more information about it (You can see a bigger version here):


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December 16, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

A Step Towards Star Trek’s “Universal Translator”

In May, I posted Star Trek “Universal Translator,” Here We Come?, where I reported on Microsoft’s efforts to create a simultaneous machine translator.

Today, they offered it in a limited release for use with Skype.

You can read about it in these articles:

Skype Translator Preview Going Live Today is from TechCrunch.

Skype’s new tool will let you translate your video call (almost) in real-time is from The Washington Post.

It’s got a long way to go before it becomes like Star Trek’s “Universal Translator,” but it seems like a pretty good start.

This video below shows it being used to foster communication between classrooms. I’ve got to say that it can, perhaps, be useful in some primary settings, but I’m skeptical about the logistics working out for middle and high school classes around the world considering time differences. For those older classes who want to communicate with international students, I think the strategy we use in our Geography class is more realistic.

Nevertheless, it’s pretty neat:

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December 15, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Articles On The New E-Rate Increase

December 14, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

Al Jazeera Article On Providing Students With Home Internet Access


Al Jazeera has just published an article about New York City libraries providing free home internet access to low-income students and families.

I was interviewed by the reporter and you’ll find a couple of not-particularly-profound quotes from me talking about a similar project our school did with immigrant families.

I’m adding the article to The Best Resources For Learning About Schools Providing Home Computers & Internet Access To Students.

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