Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

December 14, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Google Translate Dramatically Expands Recent Breakthrough

Two months ago, I posted about a Google announcement that they had made a breakthrough in improving Google Translate (Google Says They Just Achieved A Huge Breakthrough In Machine Translation) and that they expected to roll changes out among its languages.

It looks like they might have accelerated those changes, and you can read all about it in a massive New York Times article published today, The Great A.I. Awakening.

Here’s an excerpt:


The improvements seem absolutely amazing.

The Times article goes into excruciating detail about how the changes have been achieved. To be honest, I’m less interested in the “how” and more interested in its reality. It just makes it so much easier to ELL teachers to communicate with parents and with newcomer students!

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

November 15, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

The New “PhotoScan” By Google Is One Of The Most Useful Apps I’ve Ever Seen


The new PhotoScan app from Google, for both Android and iPhone, lets you easily convert your old “paper” photos into high-resolution digital images.

I know one thing I’ll be doing over Thanksgiving break.

I’m adding it to The Best Sites For Beginning iPhone Users Like Me, which needs a big revision and update.

November 8, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Three New Sites That Let Teachers Create Virtual Classrooms & Monitor Student Progress


Here are three new additions to The Best Sites Where Students Can Work Independently & Let Teachers Check On Progress:

EdCite clearly looks like the best of the three – it’s free and very easy to use.  I learned about it from Class Tech Tips.

The other two – Kids Discover Online (for Social Studies) and Whooo’s Reading (for literacy) seem to offer some decent materials, though they also both require payment.  Neither’s cost is outrageous.  The also both offer some free resources, but those are pretty limited.

November 7, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

New Statistics On How Visitors Find This Blog


Each year, I publish year-end statistics of how visitors find my blog (you can find last year’s post here).

About 16,000 readers subscribe to this blog daily and can read the content without visiting directly. However, another five-to-six-thousand readers do visit to read the posts. How do they get here?

Well, for 2016, the answer was:

The number one referrer was a big surprise – Flipboard. Even though people can subscribe to the blog from there, I’m very surprised that 21% of readers find their way here from there. It’s a huge jump from last year.

Twitter is next, with 18% of visitors coming from there.

Then, 17% come from Facebook.

9% come from Pinterest, and that’s a substantial drop from last year even though the number of followers I have there has increased tremendously.

Edutopia (which often publishes excerpts from my books), and Education Week (where I write a teacher advice column) are tied at about 3% each.

It’s sort of a “grab-bag” after that…

So, any ideas about what I can learn from this analysis – particularly about the huge jump in Flipboard and the substantial decrease from Pinterest?


October 5, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Overestimating The Future Impact Of Tech

Why the next 20 years will see a lot less technological disruption than the past 20 is the headline of a very interesting story in Vox.

Here’s an excerpt:



You might also be interested in:

The Best Advice On Using Education Technology

The Best Posts & Articles Highlighting Why We Need To Be Very Careful Around Ed Tech

September 27, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Google Says They Just Achieved A Huge Breakthrough In Machine Translation

Google announced today a new system of machine translation which, they say, dramatically increases its accuracy.

You can read about it at their blog. TechCrunch describes it as “looking at the sentence as a whole, while keeping in mind, so to speak, the smaller pieces like words and phrases” as opposed to previous efforts as translating by “phrase.”

This new system has been uploaded to Google Translate for Chinese-to-English, and I’m eager to have my Chinese English Language Learners try it out tomorrow to let me know what they think of it.

GMNT, the name of the new system, is in green on this chart, and you can see how much it is supposed to improve the translation accuracy. Based on these results, it seems safe to assume that several other languages will soon have GMNT applied to them in the app, too:

(image from Google Research blog)

I do have to say that based on my very imperfect Spanish, the evaluation of Google Translate’s present ability in Spanish/English translations seems pretty optimistic (a five, with a human translator at five-and-a-half), but I may very well be wrong.

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

September 11, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

A Beginning List Of The Best Resources For Learning About Google Classroom


Our district is taking baby steps towards using Google Classroom, and I thought it would be a good time to begin a related “Best” list.

You might also be interested in:

The Best Resources For Using Chromebooks In The Classroom – Help Me Find More

The Best Resources For Learning How To Use Google Docs/Google Drive

The Best Posts To Help Understand Google’s New “Books Ngram Viewer”

The Best Resources For Google Earth Beginners Like Me

The Best Sites For Learning About Google Translate

Here are my choices for Google Classroom resources:

You have to start with Alice Keeler, and these two links are good places to begin.

Of course, Vicki Davis’ 100+ Great Google Classroom Resources for Educators is the other key treasure trove.

You probably don’t need to look any further than the sites of those two great educators but, if you’re interested, here are a couple more:

Learn Google Classroom is from Ed Tech Teacher.

Everything You Need To Know In Google Classroom Part One and Part Two.

This Is Intriguing – Now Anyone Can Create A Class In Google Classroom

Welcome to your first day of Classroom is from Google Ed.

September 8, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Another Tech Tool Claims To Make Online Text More Accessible

Research has shown that reading paper is a somewhat better medium for students than reading on screens (see The Best Resources On Which Is Best – Reading Digitally Or Reading Paper?).

However, some companies are trying hard to change that by using tech solutions to make tech more easily comprehensible. If they are successful, it could change the equation.

I’ve previously written about a browser extension called Beeline that seems to have potential (see New Software Makes Text Easier To “Read”).

Now another company called Asym has unveiled their own browser extension which is much more subtle than Beeline but for which they make a lot of positive claims.

You can read more about it at Quartz’s article This article has been perfectly formatted for maximum reading comprehension, and you can see Asym’s example below. The top image is, as it says, shows text prior to Asym’s intervention and the second image shows it afterwards:



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