Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

July 7, 2007
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Tex-Mex “American Idol”

In yet another bizarre example of viral marketing, a restaurant allows you to pick a picture of a famous person (or upload your own photo), dress them up and pick a country song for them to sing. 

That’s not all, though.  You can then determine how an American Idol-like trio of judges (including a talking donkey) will judge the singer.  Using a text-to-speech feature, a student can write what the judge will say.  Then, the url can be emailed to a teacher, who can then post it on a website.

I don’t know how effective something like this is for advertising, but, as I’ve written before, it’s a great tool for English Language Learners.

I’ve posted the link on my Examples of Student Work page under Student Serenades.

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June 5, 2007
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Design Your Room

Design Your Dream Room Online comes from Bravo TV, and is designed to advertise a show I never heard of.  In it, students, as the title says, design an ideal room.  They can then email the url to a teacher, who in turn can post it on a website.

Besides just being a fun activity, this can be a useful exercise for English Language Learners.  It reinforces knowing furniture vocabulary as they choose what they want to put in their room (they also choose colors). They can also post the url in their blog or online journal and describe what they put in their room and why they chose the pieces of furniture.

The link to this game is on my Examples of Student Work page under Student Rooms.

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June 4, 2007
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Scholastic Administrator

Scholastic Administrator just published a short piece about how we’re using Web 2.0 and viral marketing (See the recent Techlearning article) to help teach English Language Learners.

Even more interesting than the very short paragraph might be the fact you can see one example of how to use Citebite by clicking on “Scholastic Administrator” in the previous paragraph.

I’ve posted in the past on ways to use Citebite (see Webquest Tool).

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April 16, 2007
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Write a Martha Stewart Story?

Never in a million years would I have ever predicted that I would somehow incorporate Martha Stewart into my teaching English Language Learners.  However, she just unveiled her new website and she has several “Mad Lib”- like stories that students can complete, email, and then post the url to the story on a website, blog, or online journal.   Of course, the stories are not your typical Mad Libs!

The game is called So Martha, and students have to write in nouns, adjectives, etc. — just like in a typical Mad Libs game.   Students have a choice of a variety of stories, including ones on (of course!) weddings, food, and parties.

I’ve placed it on the Examples of Student Work page at the bottom, and it’s entitled Student “Martha Stewart” Stories.

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March 4, 2007
by Larry Ferlazzo
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“Dub” a Movie

Here’s another fun example of how to use viral marketing to help teach and learn English.  In Tiger Film Dub students can choose scenes from an Asian movie, choose what they want the actors and actresses to say, and then have them say it.  It’s like one of those old poorly dubbed movies you used to see on television.  Students then can email their completed films to themselves, a  friend or a teacher.

I’ll be trying it out later this week with my students, and will post their finished products on my website.

I’ve put this link under Student Movies on the Examples of Student Work page.  It’s the one that’s titled “You can make another fun movie here.”  While you’re there, you might want to check out several other links posted there where students can make movies and some examples.

There is, however, one concern I have about this particular site.  It’s sponsored by a beer company.  The sponsorship on the site itself is fairly minimal, though.  Ordinarily, I would never consider putting a link connected to this kind of business on my site (of course, students are exposed to far worst many times each day).  But this activity seemed so unique, and I knew all my students (especially the Asian ones) would love it so much, I made this one-time exception after consulting with other teachers.  Please feel free to leave comments agreeing or disagreeing with my decision.  I’m still not entirely comfortable with it.

This situation demonstrates the danger and opportunity of using these viral marketing devices in teaching English.  As I discuss in my TechLearning article on their use in language teaching, it’s important to also discuss with our students the use of commercial manipulations in our market culture.

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March 2, 2007
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Create a Talking Race-Car Driver

Later this month, TechLearning will be publishing an article I’ve written about how to use something called ”viral marketing” as a tool to teach English.  This Create a Talking Race-Car Driver is an example.  Students can customize a race-car driver and, using the text-to-speech function on the site, compose a short message that their driver will say.  They can  email their product to a friend or their teacher.   I post these creations to my website.

This link can be found on the Examples of Student Work page of my website, where you’ll find other examples of how I use viral marketing with my students.

You can also get a “sneak peek” at a draft of my TechLearning article on my website, which I have creatively titled Samuel L. Jackson and Me but which I suspect will ultimately be published with a different headline.

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