Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

November 24, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
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The Best Online Learning Games Of 2016 – Part Two

the-best-online-learningfff

Time for another end-of-year ”The Best…” list.

As usual, In order to make it on this list, games had to:

* be accessible to English Language Learners.

* provide exceptionally engaging content.

* not provide access to other non-educational games on their site, though there is one on this list that doesn’t quite meet this particular criteria.

* be seen by me during the last six months of 2016. So they might have been around prior to this time, but I’m still counting them in this year’s list.

You might also be interested in:

The Best Online Learning Games Of 2016 – So Far

The Best Websites For Creating Online Learning Games

The Best Online Learning Games Of 2015 – So Far

The Best Online Learning Games Of 2014

The “All-Time” Best Online Learning Games

The Best Online Learning Games Of 2013 – Part Two

The Best Online Learning Games Of 2013 — So Far

The Best Online Learning Games Of 2012 — So Far

The Best Online Learning Games — 2011

The Best Online Learning Games — 2010

The Best Online Learning Games — 2009

The Best Online Learning Games — 2008

The Best Online Learning Games — 2007

Here are my choices for The Best Online Learning Games Of 2016- Part Two:

The Fiscal Ship was just named of one the top games at the Serious Play Conference. It’s a surprisingly accessible and engaging interactive about (yawn) fiscal policy and the federal budget. Though the majority of its backers appear to be conservative groups, the sponsoring group includes a few others, too. I didn’t play the game all the way through; however, what I did get through seemed to be relatively even-handed without pushing a particular agenda.

Pairprep is a free site that has a number of “courses” (a series of multiple choice questions on a particular topic – like “ESL”) where students can compete against a friend, a random opponent, or themselves as they choose answers. Teachers can monitor student progress through a virtual classroom.

National Geographic has created a page with links to their most engaging and educational games.

Guess What! is the name of a “new” game from Cambridge University Press. I have “new” in parenthesis because it’s a version of a game used with English Language Learners for decades – Taboo – where players have to describe a word without using the word, and others have to guess what is being described. The great twist in “Guess What!” is that students can create videos of them describing a word, upload it, and then have other classes use them as part of their own game (they provide simple instructions).

Pioneers of Flight has several interactive games, and comes from the Smithsonian.

Mission U.S. has created some excellent interactives and some bad ones.  Their newest one is on the Depression.  I haven’t played it, but they seemed to learn some lessons in on how their created their last one on immigration, so I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt.

GlassLab Games lets educators create virtual classrooms where students can play educational games and have their progress monitored. You can create a free classroom, but only have access to one-or-two of the games, and you can also create a free one with access to all of them for sixty days. For a longer period of time, you need to pay, but the price is not astronomical. I’m not that impressed with the games they have now. However, the well-known game Civilization is creating a specific education version that was supposed to be available on the site in October.

Thanks to Sara-E. Cottrell, I recently learned about Sugarcane, a free web tool that lets you easily create lots of different kinds of learning games, as well as access ones that others have created. It’s owned by IXL Learning, but your school doesn’t have to be subscribed to it in order to use Sugarcane.

Reader Gabrielle Klingelhöfer shared the site Learning Apps with me, and I’m sure glad she did! It’s a free site that lets teachers create virtual classrooms where students can uses lots of different kinds of online exercises and games to learn many subjects. There are tons of already-created exercises divided by subject, and it seems super-easy – and I really mean easy – for teachers to create their own.

A bunch of groups, including museums and the city of London, have cooperated to create The Great Fire of London interactive, which includes what they call a “children’s game,” a Minecraft resource, and a lot of other features.

Brainpop has pulled together a nice collection of online games.

Smithsonian Science has put all their games in one place.

Save

November 6, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
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“Sugarcane” Lets You Create Lots Of Different Learning Games

sugercane

Thanks to Sara-E. Cottrell, I recently learned about Sugarcane, a free web tool that lets you easily create lots of different kinds of learning games, as well as access ones that others have created.

It’s owned by IXL Learning, but your school doesn’t have to be subscribed to it in order to use Sugarcane.

I’m adding it to The Best Websites For Creating Online Learning Games.

November 3, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

NY Times Creates “Choose Your Own Adventure” Game – On Voter Suppression

votersuppression

The New York Times has created a great learning “game” to help people understand the difficulties many face when they want to vote in the United States.

Check out “The Voter Suppression Trail,” done in the style of the classic Oregon Trail game.

I’m adding it to:

The Best Places To Read & Write “Choose Your Own Adventure” Stories (where you can also play the original “Oregan Trail”)

The Best Sites To Learn About The 2016 U.S. Presidential Elections

October 29, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
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“Learning Apps” Is One Of The Top Educational Websites Of The Year!

learningapps

Reader Gabrielle Klingelhöfer shared the site Learning Apps with me, and I’m sure glad she did!

It’s a free site that lets teachers create virtual classrooms where students can uses lots of different kinds of online exercises and games to learn many subjects. There are tons of already-created exercises divided by subject, and it seems super-easy – and I really mean easy – for teachers to create their own.

There are many ESL and regular English interactives. There are tons on other subjects, as well. My only suggestion to the site is that it would be nice to have a further search parameter to divide by language. The other subjects have many exercises in other languages (the site itself appears to be from Germany) and it would just make it a little easier for teachers. But it’s really a minor issue for a fabulous site.

I’m adding it to:

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

The Best Websites For Creating Online Learning Games

September 3, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

New Online “Game” About The Great London Fire

firefire

I don’t think it gets a whole of attention in U.S. school history books, but the Great Fire of London was a pretty big deal.

A bunch of groups, including museums and the city of London, have cooperated to create The Great Fire of London interactive, which includes what they call a “children’s game,” a Minecraft resource, and a lot of other features.

The game part includes simple text with audio support, so it’s particularly accessible to English Language Learners.

August 7, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
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“Pioneers Of Flight” Is A Nice Collection Of Smithsonian Interactives

pioneersofflight

Pioneers of Flight has several interactives, and comes from the Smithsonian.

The image at the top of this post provides more details on the activities.

I’m adding them to The Best Resources For Learning About Flight, and I took the opportunity to completely revise and update that list.

August 5, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
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This Would Be Great For ELLs: Play – Or Create – A “Listening & Speaking” Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Story

echo

As regular readers know, I’m a big fan of both having students create and read (or, in the case of videos, watch-and-play) choose your own adventure stories (see The Best Places To Read & Write “Choose Your Own Adventure” Stories). Many students find them very engaging to read, they can be quite accessible, and even low-Intermediate ELLs can create simple ones.

I’ve been a fan of them for quite awhile, and thought I was aware of all their different permutations.

Once again, however, I was wrong.

You might be aware of Amazon’s popular home voice assistant called Echo, which uses the Alexa voice software. I don’t have it, but do have the Amazon Fire TV plugin, which I like a lot (I used to be a fan of Google Chromecast, but now favor Fire).

Apparently, a few months ago, they created a listening choose-your-own-adventure game connected to the terrible Batman vs. Superman movie. In it, Alexa describes physical surrounds, provides choices, and assists players in making them. The game received a much better critical reception than the film.

Today, Amazon released software to developers so that they could more easily create these kinds of games.

So, one, this means that there will be many more of these kinds of professionally-produced “listening-and-speaking” choose your own adventure games, which would seem to me to offer exceptionally engaging opportunities for English Language Learners to practice listening and speaking. All we’d have to do is bring an Amazon Fire TV plugin to the classroom.

But, more importantly, I think, is the idea of a listening & speaking Choose Your Own Adventure story!

Teacher can create simple or more complex ones by just writing them out and saying it like this (it’s a sample from Amazon’s software instructions):

sample

On top of that, English Language Learner can also create their own. It would seem to me that these versions would need to be more simple than ones that are typically written so that players don’t have to remember as much, which should make them even easier for ELLs.

I have plenty of templates like this one at my previously-mentioned “Best” list.

Do you think this kind of thing could have as much potential as I do?

August 4, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

iCivics Steps Up Its Game Big Time With Free Virtual Classrooms & Primary Source Interactive

icivics

 

I haven’t always been the biggest fan of iCivics, the popular learning games site begun by former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

I’ve thought that many (but not all) of their games have been overly-complicated, and they really put their foot in it with a horribly-done one on immigration (see Sandra Day O’Connor’s Site To Change Immigration Game Because Of Your Comments).

But they seem to have really stepped-up their “game” recently.

Now, teachers can easily create free virtual classrooms and monitor student progress on the site.

The part I’m really excited about is a tool called DB Quest (you can go to the link, but it won’t let you access it until you register, which is free and easy). It’s an interactive to access and learn about primary source documents, and I like it a lot. They only have one lesson there now – on the Nashville Civil Rights Sit-Ins – but have just received funding from the Library of Congress to expand it (I just received that info via a LOC email, but there’s no way to link to it).

I hope they develop many more lessons using that DBQuest tool, and I suspect many teachers will agree with me.

I’m adding this info to:

The Best Resources For Using Primary Sources

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

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