Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

February 26, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

“Digital Learning Day” Is On March 13th – Here Are Related Resources


I regularly learn how much I don’t know, and today was another example. I had never heard of Digital Learning Day before I received an email from The California Writing Project today. Here’s what it said:

Organized by the Alliance for Excellent Education, Digital Learning Day celebrates effective teaching and learning practices powered by technology. Each year, hundreds of thousands of teachers and education leaders, and millions of students from all fifty states and the District of Columbia join this grassroots movement in schools nationwide. From classroom activities to district-and statewide initiatives, Digital Learning Day events are diverse and unique and share the goals of encouraging innovation, supporting teachers, and spreading best practices for the use of technology in schools.

You can learn more about it at the Digital Learning Day site and/or at The California Writing Project.

You might also find some useful resources at The Best Resources For Connected Educators Month.

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January 29, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

From The NY Times: “English Grammar Aids for Both Native Speakers and Students”

The New York Times has just published the above video along with an article reviewing apps useful for English Language Learners.

It’s titled English Grammar Aids for Both Native Speakers and Students.

I’m adding it to The Best Mobile Apps For English Language Learners.

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January 14, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

“Google Translate” Starts A Big Time Update Today


A few days ago I posted about an exciting upcoming update to Google Translate that would provide simultaneous verbal translation.

They begin rolling it out today. In addition, the update will also enable translation of images.

Here’s how The New York Times explains it:

In this version, the app is supposed to pick up who is talking based on the language being spoken. So, say you wanted to order a slice of chicken pizza in Spanish. Using the app, you could walk into a pizza parlor, and, with your lips at an awkward proximity to the phone’s microphone, make your request, after which a robotic voice would spit out the question in Spanish.

Then let’s say the guy behind the counter asks if you want extra cheese. He could ask you that question in Spanish, and the phone would relay it in English. Respond “Yes” or “No” in English, and out comes Spanish again.

You can also read more about it at TechCrunch’s post, Google Translate Now Does Real-Time Voice And Sign Translations On Mobile.

I’m looking forward to trying it out. It could be a big help for teacher of English Language Learners who receive very early Beginners in their classes, and for some limited teacher/parent communication.

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

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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