Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

March 10, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

New “Volley” App Looks Like A “PhotoMath” For…Everything


Mark Zuckerberg just put a bunch of money into a new app called Volley (you still have to sign-up for alpha-testing it).

Here’s how TechCrunch describes the photo app:

Once students take a photo of the work they’re struggling with, Volley analyzes the text and imagery in seconds to determine the precise topics at hand and lets the user choose the right one from a list. It can then point them to chunks of Khan Academy courses and Wikipedia articles, but also little-known reference PDFs uploaded by a teacher on the other side of the country that they’d never be able to find by Googling.

In some ways, it sounds like it might be similar to the controversial PhotoMath app that can do math equations (see PhotoMath & Reactions To It From Around The Web and PhotoMath Is Now Available For Android). I’ve never tried PhotoMath, but it sounds like it does all the necessary calculations. Volley, on the other hand, appears to provide targeted guidance, without actually doing the work.

I’m looking forward to trying it out…

March 8, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Skype’s Amazing Simultaneous Translator Adds Arabic – Now Supports Eight Languages


I’ve posted a lot about Microsoft’s version of Star Trek’s “Universal Translator,” and they’ve just added Arabic to its ability (along with English, Spanish, French, German, Chinese (Mandarin), Italian, and Portuguese (Brazilian)).

You have to download the free Skype Translator Preview in order to use it. I believe its only available for use on the desktop version – I don’t think the Web version of Skype enables it yet.

You can see my previous posts on this tech at The Best Sites For Learning About Google Translate & Other Forms Of Machine Translation.

Here’s a somewhat older video of it in action:

Thanks to TechCrunch for the tip.

March 1, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

The New Yorker Features Ed Tech Run Amok

The same day the NY Times Reports On Social Emotional Learning Run Amok, The New York ran a big piece on ed tech running amok.

Learn Different:Silicon Valley disrupts education is about AltSchool, a $30,000 a year series of elementary schools that wants to revolutionize education through a terrifyingly omniscient use of technology.

You can read more about what they are doing in this article from last year: AltSchool, Media Hype, & the Dilemma of Innovation Stories by Alexander Russo.

A lot of the concerns I voiced in the SEL piece can be applied to AltSchool and their use of tech, which is why I’m adding this to The Best Posts & Articles Highlighting Why We Need To Be Very Careful Around Ed Tech.

Here’s an excerpt from the New Yorker piece:


February 24, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Google Docs Expands Voice-Typing Ability Expanding Language-Learning Possibilities


Last September, Google introducing the ability to type by voice to Google Docs, and I wrote about its possibilities for language learning (see The New Voice Typing Feature In Google Docs Is Great – I Wonder If ELLs Can Use It For Pronunciation Practice?).

Today, Google announced an expansion of those features, and you can read about it at TechCrunch’s post, You Can Now Edit And Format Your Google Docs By Voice.

You can also see the official list of available commands at Google.

February 23, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Statistic Of The Day: Kids Without Internet & What Can Be Done About It

I’ve written a lot about the challenges facing low-income families without high-speed Internet (see The Best Resources For Learning About Schools Providing Home Computers & Internet Access To Students).

The New York Times has just covered the topic in an article headlined Bridging a Digital Divide That Keeps Schoolchildren Behind.

Here’s a statistic from the article that will be no surprise to many teachers:


February 17, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Google Translate Announces Addition of 13 Languages For A Total Of 103


Google Translate made a big announcement today:

In 2006, we started with machine learning-based translations between English and Arabic, Chinese and Russian. Almost 10 years later, with today’s update, we now offer 103 languages that cover 99% of the online population. The 13 new languages — Amharic, Corsican, Frisian, Kyrgyz, Hawaiian, Kurdish (Kurmanji), Luxembourgish, Samoan, Scots Gaelic, Shona, Sindhi, Pashto and Xhosa — help bring a combined 120 million new people to the billions who can already communicate with Translate all over the world.

Pretty impressive!

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

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