Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

December 5, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Another Great Web App Bites The Dust: Bye, Bye Trapit

Trapit has been my favorite “web crawler” to scour the Web each day for news that I’m particularly interested in (for example, “parent engagement” articles. Each morning, it received an email with links to great articles and resources that I would have easily missed.

Unfortunately, today it announced it was eliminating its consumer service to do something or other with businesses.

So, I’ve deleted it from The Best Sites For Creating Personalized “Newspapers” Online list.

And I’m returning to ICurrent, which I used formerly and which I hope has improved since that time…

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November 30, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

This Week In Web 2.0

'Web 2.0 paljastaa' photo (c) 2011, Janne Ansaharju - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

In yet another attempt to get at the enormous backlog I have of sites worth , I’ve recently begin a regular feature called “The Week In Web 2.0.” It’ll be a short compilation of new decent sites that are worth noting, but maybe not necessarily worth a separate post…:

I’ve previously posted about Haiku Deck, which now has a Web version and may very well be the best tool for creating online slideshows that are out there. It’s certainly on The Best Ways To Create Online Slideshows list. Now Richard Byrne has made a tutorial explaining how to use the web version. It’s not yet open to the public, but I received my invitation less than twenty-four hours after requesting one.

Teacher Training Videos has an excellent video tutorial on how to create “Flipped” versions of Ted Talk lessons. I’ve previously posted about this subject at Using TED-Ed Videos.

Clip Choose is a new tool that lets you create YouTube playlists and have people vote for their favorite. Ozge Karaoglu has posted some good ideas on how to use it with students. I’m adding it to A Potpourri Of The Best & Most Useful Video Sites.

Subtext looks like a could be a useful iPad app for students to annotate text. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Beginning iPad Users.

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November 24, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

This Week In Web 2.0

'Web 2.0 paljastaa' photo (c) 2011, Janne Ansaharju - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

In yet another attempt to get at the enormous backlog I have of sites worth , I’ve recently begin a regular feature called “The Week In Web 2.0.” It’ll be a short compilation of new decent sites that are worth noting, but maybe not necessarily worth a separate post…

It’s a short post this week:

Creating and Using Video is by Edublogs’ Sue Waters, and is one of the most useful posts I’ve seen this year about helping students create online content. It’s very complete, and shares many examples. I’m adding it to A Potpourri Of The Best & Most Useful Video Sites.

Haiku Deck has been an excellent slideshow creating tool for the iPad, and is on The Best Resources For Beginning iPad Users list. They recently unveiled a web version (you can read about it at Richard Byrne’s blog), though you still have to sign-up for an invitation to try it out. I’m still adding it to The Best Ways To Create Online Slideshows.

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November 22, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

You Can Now Add Maps To Pinterest

Pinterest has just added the ability to add maps to your Pinterest boards. You can read moare about it at TechCrunch and Mashable.

You can see an example below.

It could be a helpful feature for students. However, since Pinterest is presently blocked in most Districts, I doubt it will used much in classrooms.

I’m adding this info to The Best Guides To Figuring Out Pinterest but, because of the blocking issue, I won’t be adding it to The Best Map-Making Sites On The Web.

pin

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November 19, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Geography Students Use “Stay.com” To Create Virtual Trips

stay

As I’ve previously posted, I’ve been energized to try-out a fair amount of Web 2.0 tools this year with my English Language Learners. I’ve been wanting to do a number of these projects for years, but the Internet filter our District had been using made often made doing it quite difficult — if not impossible.

You can see what I’ve been doing in just the first three two-and-a-half months here and here.

Today, we tried another experiment that seemed to go well.

I’ve had a “Best” list titled The Best Sites Where Students Can Plan Virtual Trips. On it, you can find a number of sites where users can learn about different cities around the world and then plan trips there, which they can then save online. I’ve had students use some of them in the past and then they would describe why they picked the places they did, but, until this year, the District blocked the site that I consider the best to use for this purpose — Stay.com. It’s very easy and accessible to use.

Fortunately, this year it’s unblocked, and today students created virtual trips to Paris (we’re just finishing up our unit on France — on Thursday we make videos of students asking questions to our sister classes in that country!).

I had students pick at least six places they wanted to visit and write one sentence each about why they wanted to visit them. Tomorrow, students will review what they classmates wrote and write their own comments.

You can see several of them at our class blog, and I’ll share a few examples here:

Kou’s Guide

A.Jay’s Guide

Selina’s Guide

Lee’s Guide

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November 19, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

Create Collaborative Online Documents Using “Notepad” With Audio Chat

note

On my The Best Online Tools For Real-Time Collaboration list, I have quite a few tools that let you create documents with others, including some that allow instant text chat.

Notepad is a new tool that has both of those features and, unlike most other sites, also provides an audio chat feature. No registration is required to use all its features.

I’m adding it to the previously-mentioned “Best” list…..

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November 16, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

This Week In Web 2.0

'Web 2.0 paljastaa' photo (c) 2011, Janne Ansaharju - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

In yet another attempt to get at the enormous backlog I have of sites worth , I’ve recently begin a regular feature called “The Week In Web 2.0.” It’ll be a short compilation of new decent sites that are worth noting, but maybe not necessarily worth a separate post…

Screencasting In The Classroom is a guide from Kathy Schrock (thanks to Vicki Davis for the tip). I’m adding it to The Best Tools For Making Screencasts.

Talky seems like a very easy video chat site where you can create private rooms. I’m adding it to The Best Online Tools For Real-Time Collaboration.

The famous Elf Yourself site is now up-and-running this year, where you can make free fun online holiday greetings starring you and others as elves. In the past they’ve let you grab images off the web to create the cards, but not this year. Now, you have to use your webcam or upload images from Facebook or your computer.

Tour Builder now makes it pretty easy to create your own custom tours on Google Earth. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Google Earth Beginners Like Me.

Otter is a new tool for creating class websites. You can read more about it at Richard Byrne’s blog. I’m adding it to A Few Potentially Useful Tech Tools For Teacher/Parent Communication.

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November 12, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
5 Comments

Will TweetDeck’s New Custom Timelines Kill-Off Storify?

twitter1

As regular readers know, I’m a big fan of Storify as an excellent tool to curate and tweets around a particular topic (you can see all my Storify stories here).

Twitter announced that its TweetDeck tool added “Custom Timelines” as a new feature. You can read all about it at that link, but, basically, you can drag-and-drop any tweets you want into a timeline that you can then embed.

In other words, it sounds like it can do the primary task that Storify does. Of course, Storify also lets you drag-and-drop images, websites, videos, and other resources off the web into your collection, which Custom Timelines don’t allow you to do — at least not yet.

And I haven’t actually tried Custom Timelines yet, so perhaps it isn’t as easy as TweetDeck’s screenshots show it to be.

I’ll play around with it later this week. This just points out the fragility — again — of all these Web 2.0 tools, and of the content we we create using them. Perhaps I’m missing it, but there doesn’t appear to be any way to back-up Storifies that are created now. I’m going to contact them to see if that’s possible….

I’m adding this info to The Best Resources For Beginning To Learn What Twitter Is All About.

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November 11, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

This Week In Web 2.0

'Web 2.0 paljastaa' photo (c) 2011, Janne Ansaharju - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

In yet another attempt to get at the enormous backlog I have of sites worth sharing, I’ve recently begin a regular feature called “The Week In Web 2.0.” It’ll be a short compilation of new decent sites that are worth noting, but maybe not necessarily worth a separate post and generally — though not always — not worthy of being on a “The Best…” list (let me know if you think I’m wrong in my assessment, though):

‘Miss, what’s my password?’ 14 Web 2.0 tools without student logins is a nice post from Slome School. One site on the list that was new to me is an easy Word Cloud generator called Make A Word Cloud. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About “Word Clouds.”

Stipple is another tool that lets you annotate photos with links to other sites or text. I’ve posted about others in The Best Ways To Use Photos In Lessons (Thinglink being the most prominent).  I had posted about it several months ago, but said then I wouldn’t add it to that list until it went public. I recently learned from Richard Byrne that it is now open, so I’m adding it to that list.

Quizlet is a flashcard and game-maker tool that’s already on a number of “Best” lists. Here’s a screencast from David Deubelbeiss from EFL Classroom 2.0 sharing new features it has, particularly being able to use audio. You can access the original location of this screencast at EFL Classroom 2.0 here:

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November 8, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Finding Similar Images To Use For Compare/Contrast Prompts

I wrote a fairly popular post yesterday titled The Best Ways To Modify The Picture Word Inductive Model For ELLs.

One of the ways I mentioned was:

teachers can find a comparable photo to the main one, have students label those words, and then create Venn Diagram and ultimately a compare/contrast essay.

I also linked to an example.

However, today, I realized I had neglected to mention the easiest way to find comparable photos.

It’s extraordinarily simple:

1.  Go to Google Images,

2.  Click on the camera icon in the search box

Click on Camera icon

3.  You will be prompted to either paste the URL address of the image for which you want to find a similar one or you can upload a photo (boy, that’s sure a tortured sentence :) ).

Paste the URL

4.   Click enter and then you’re given a number of other images to choose from….

And here is a cool image upload trick for those using Chrome or FireFox:

1.  Go to Google Images,

Go to image search

2.  Drag the image from your computer into the image search area.

Drop the image in the search area

3.  A ‘Search by image’ box automatically loads and you just drop the image in the search area.

4.   Once uploaded you’re given a number of other images to choose from….

Example of search result

It couldn’t be more simple, and I’m adding this info to yesterday’s post.

 

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November 6, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

English Language Learners Using Screencast-o-matic For Folktale Presentations

screen

This year, our School District loosened our Internet filter, so there are now many more options for tools we can use (though, of course, our antiquated tech does create some barriers).

Because of this new freedom of access without having to battle for individual sites to be unblocked, I’ve been pretty aggressive in experimenting with Web 2.0 tools to determine which ones provide the most benefit with the least “hassle” for all involved, especially with my English Language Learner students.

I’ve previously posted about some of them already this year:

Making Instagram Videos With English Language Learners

Using Freire & Fotobabble With English Language Learners

Terrific New Videos: Using English “Sister Classes” From Throughout The World In Our ELL Geography Class

Literably Is An Excellent Reading Site — If Used With Caution (I tried this out today, and I think it will work well as a formative assessment — check them out here).

The ones I’ve listed above have all gone very well — easy to use, free-of-charge, higher-order thinking, multiple language domains (reading,writing,speaking, listening), authentic audience, high levels of student engagement, minimal time commitment.

And, now, we’ve had another student success with with Screencast-o-matic.

I had previously posted about it, but hadn’t visited the site in quite awhile. Jose Rodriguez, one of the coordinators of the impressive K-12 Online Conference, recommended I try using it for the keynote address I gave for the conference in October on teacher leadership (you can see it here). I was quite impressed at the changes they had made since I had last tried it out.

All you do is register for the site, show a slideshow, and record audio — you don’t even have to upload your slides prior to recording. You only upload your entire slideshow and audio narration at the time it’s finished. You can publish it to the site and/or to YouTube, and you’re provided with an embed code.

I thought this would be perfect to my students — some knew PowerPoint and they could teach the rest quickly, so there wouldn’t really be much new to learn — I suspect, and I ended up being correct, that it would take less than a minute for students to learn how to use Screencast-o-matic.

We had just finished our Latin American unit in Geography by reading a Mexican folktale, so I thought it would be a good time to experiment. I had students create a simple storyboard (just a piece of paper divided into ten or so boxes) and asked them to tell a folktale from their own culture. They needed to end it with the “lesson” of the story. It took one class period for them to create the storyboard, about two periods to make the PowerPoint, and then they recorded on Screencast-o-matic today. We’ll watch them in class tomorrow.

Here are a few of them:

It’s been a positive experience, and we’ll definitely be using Screencast-o-matic again.

Have you had your students try it out?

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November 6, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
2 Comments

Literably Is An Excellent Reading Site — If Used With Caution

liter

Reader Erika Chapman tipped me off to an excellent site called Literably. It allows students to read a text and have it automatically assessed for accuracy and words-per-minute speed. Plus, and this is what was most surprising to me, it also provides a fairly accurate indentification of student errors — in other words, what word they said instead of the word in the text. You’re able to provide the student or parent a link to the recording. And it’s free.

It’s extraordinarily easy to use. Teachers register and add names of students. Then they choose which reading and which level they want to assign to the student. The student signs in, records (and can choose to re-record) and the teacher can access it through a dashboard.

As I have already mentioned, the site seems remarkably accurate based on my testing, and I’ll have my students try it out later today. We use a similar system to assess student fluency levels periodically now, though the present readings available seem presently only suitable to students reading at an elementary school level (which makes them great for English Language Learners). I hope they add high school level texts soon.

I’ve previously posted about how I have had students record their reading of the same text several times during the year as a self-assessment, using tools from The Best Sites To Practice Speaking English list. Literably, though, is superior for this purpose since it provides the detailed feedback (though the trade-off is a much more limited selection of texts).

And, now, for my cautions….

A words per minute number can be dangerous if students are just racing through the words. By having students read individually to us, we can reinforce the concept of prosody (reading with feeling, etc.). Software is not able to recognize or support this incredibly important element of fluency. If you have students use Literably, it will be important to say and often repeat that they shouldn’t fixate on that number.

The second danger is that having students use the site, it eliminates an opportunity for the teacher/student to connect on an individual level. Having students to me three times each year is an excellent way to also make time to check in with them about how they are doing in their lives and in other classes. Of course, those should not be the only times for this interaction. However, when we use Literably, we just want to make sure we’re creating those other times, too.

I’m adding Literably to several “The Best” lists, including:

The Best Sites To Practice Speaking English

The Best Sites That Students Can Use Independently And Let Teachers Check On Progress

The Best Websites To Help Beginning Readers

The Best Websites For Beginning Older Readers

The Best Websites For Intermediate Readers

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November 4, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Updated List On Tools Students Can Use To Make Virtual Travel Plans

'My Trip - June 2008 Detail' photo (c) 2006, Matt Lemmon - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

A few hours ago, I published a post making a nice addition to The Best Resources For Finding And Creating Virtual Field Trips.

I took this opportunity to also update The Best Sites Where Students Can Plan Virtual Trips.

A nice geography lesson is to have students plan a trip to some location (or locations). There are several web tools on that list which make doing this pretty easy — it’s just a matter of identifying where you want to go, looking through the sites to see in those places, and then “dragging-and-dropping” them onto a list that you can subsequently post on a student or teacher website/blog. Most of these sites also allow you to write a description of your trip (and why you chose the places you did), but students can do the same on their own site, too.

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November 4, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Google Unveils Great Resource For Virtual Field Trips

Google

Google has just announced a new initiative, Connected Classrooms, that will begin offering some pretty exciting virtual field trips through Google+.

Here’s an excerpt from their announcement:

Today we’re launching a new initiative on Google+ called Connected Classrooms that enables students around the world to take “virtual field trips” through Google+ Hangouts, visiting places they would otherwise never be able to explore. We’re kicking things off today with field trips to the Seattle Aquarium, the Minnesota Zoo and the Solar Impulse hangar. Later, teachers can sign up to take their classrooms on virtual field trips hosted by organizations like National Geographic, Matilda the Musical, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and more than 20 other partners.

Of course, nothing beats an actual physical field trip, but the ones that Google is cooking up look pretty darn exciting.

I’m adding this info to The Best Resources For Finding And Creating Virtual Field Trips.

Thanks to TechCrunch for the tip.

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November 3, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

This Week In Web 2.0

'Web 2.0 paljastaa' photo (c) 2011, Janne Ansaharju - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

In yet another attempt to get at the enormous backlog I have of sites worth sharing, I’ve recently begin a regular feature called “The Week In Web 2.0.” It’ll be a short compilation of new decent sites that are worth noting, but maybe not necessarily worth a separate post and generally — though not always — not worthy of being on a “The Best…” list (let me know if you think I’m wrong in my assessment, though):

Surfly lets you share a screen with others and, in fact, lets you jointly complete a web form. You just pick a url address, paste it in, and then share a link. I’m adding it to The Best Screenshare Tools To Help Others With Computer Problems. Here’s a video about it:

ScreenChomp looks like a pretty easy video-creating app for the iPad. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Beginning iPad Users, and you can read more about it at Richard Byrne’s blog.

Kaizena lets you provide audio feedback to students on their work. You can use it with Google Drive, though it also appears that you can use it outside of Google Docs (let me know if I’m wrong on that). Here’s a video from a teacher demonstrating it:

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November 3, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

EDpuzzle Is An Innovative Video Site

puzzle

EDpuzzle is a new innovative site that lets you take just about any video off the web, edit it down to the portions you want, add audio notes and questions for students, and create virtual classrooms where you can monitor individual student work.

For free.

Though I’m not a big fan of the flipped classroom (see The Best Posts On The “Flipped Classroom” Idea), I would imagine the site might be an ideal tool for that strategy.

You can see a quick example I created here (unfortunately, the videos are not embeddable).

For my own classroom, I see it less useful as a creation vehicle for me, and potentially much more useful as a tool that students can use for creation.

For example, I think both my mainstream and English Language Learner students could watch a video and annotate them using the same kind of reading strategies they use with a “regular” text (ask questions, make connections, evaluate, etc.). Common Core talks about “multimodal texts” and videos, especially if they’re subtitled, would certainly fit into their category.

With English Language Learners, students could create their own questions that classmates could answer. I’ve previously posted about how I have students do that now with pen-and-paper.

I’m adding this info to:

A Potpourri Of The Best & Most Useful Video Sites

The Best Sites That Students Can Use Independently And Let Teachers Check On Progress

I learned about EDpuzzle through CristinaSkyBox, who also other good video sites in the same post.

Here’s a video of EDpuzzle’s founder explaining the site:

NEW ADDITION:

Here is a video playlist demonstrating how to use the site:

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October 29, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Nanoogo Has Potential For Students

nanoogo

Nanoogo is a new sort of blogging platform that lets teachers create virtual classes and approve student work before its published. It seems relatively easy to use, though it would be nice if you could use images grabbed off the web and not just uploaded from your computer.

Being free is a nice feature :)

Here’s a short video explaining how it works:

I’m adding it to The Best Sites That Students Can Use Independently And Let Teachers Check On Progress.

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October 29, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

The Easiest & Most Fun Tool On The Web For Creating Music Got Even Better — Again!

music

I’ve previously posted about Incredibox, and I continue to think it’s the easiest and most fun tool on the web for creating music. You can save your creation, give it a title, and share it.

Today, they announced that they completely updated the site (again), including giving it a new url address.

Of course, it continues to be on The Best Online Sites For Creating Music.

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October 26, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

This Week In Web 2.0

'Web 2.0 paljastaa' photo (c) 2011, Janne Ansaharju - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

In yet another attempt to get at the enormous backlog I have of sites worth sharing, I’ve recently begin a regular feature called “The Week In Web 2.0.” It’ll be a short compilation of new decent sites that are worth noting, but maybe not necessarily worth a separate post and generally — though not always — not worthy of being on a “The Best…” list (let me know if you think I’m wrong in my assessment, though):

Livestreaming an event from school… is a helpful post if you are interested in LiveStreaming any kind of event.

Creation Apps Used On The iPad is from iPaddiction. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Beginning iPad Users.

Vine Update Lets Users Edit Videos, Save Multiple Drafts is from TechCrunch. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning To Use The Video App “Vine.”

How to Create a Linked Series of YouTube Videos is a very helpful slideshow from Richard Byrne. You can use those instructions to make a “choose your own adventure” YouTube video. I’m adding it to The Best Places To Read & Write “Choose Your Own Adventure” Stories.

Social Video Broadcasting Startup Spreecast Comes Out Of Beta With A New Design is another useful post from TechCrunch.

Nextly looks like a potentially useful curation site. However, it doesn’t allow registration by email (only through Twitter, Facebook, etc.), so it wouldn’t be very useful in schools.

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October 24, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Quote Of The Day: “Do student test scores provide solid basis to evaluate teachers?”

Do student test scores provide solid basis to evaluate teachers? is an article from Stanford’s Graduate School of Education that reports on new research by Edward Haertel, emeritus professor of education. The professor recently published a report on the use of Value Added Measures.

Here’s an excerpt:

FromDostudenttestscoresprovidesolidbasistoevaluateteachersStanfordGraduateSchoolofEducation

I’m adding this info to The Best Resources For Learning About The “Value-Added” Approach Towards Teacher Evaluation.

In addition, I highlighted that excerpt with a new tool called Notegraphy, a web and phone based application that lets you attractively display text. I learned about it from Richard Byrne’s blog. It seems okay, though I couldn’t get it to work with Pinterest and it doesn’t provide an embed code. I downloaded it to my computer and uploaded to this post.

Nevertheless, I’ll still add it to The Best Tools For Creating Visually Attractive Quotations For Online Sharing.

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