Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

July 31, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

Video: “How Google Translate Makes Signs Instantly Readable”

Earlier this week, I posted about recent updates to Google Translate (see Google Translate Announces Another Big Update Today).

I think its ability to translate text by just looking at it through your phone is akin to magic.

Here’s a new video that explains how it actually does it:

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

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July 29, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

Google Translate Announces Another Big Update Today


Last January, Google Translate updated big-time with support for (not quite) real time voice translation and translation of text through camera images (see “Google Translate” Starts A Big Time Update Today).

Today, they announced another big update – adding a ton of new languages to the feature that translates images of text, along with what they say are improvements that will make the voice translation ability work better:

We started out with seven languages—English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish—and today we’re adding 20 more. You can now translate to and from English and Bulgarian, Catalan, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Filipino, Finnish, Hungarian, Indonesian, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, Slovak, Swedish, Turkish and Ukrainian. You can also do one-way translations from English to Hindi and Thai. (Or, try snapping a pic of the text you’d like translated—we have a total of 37 languages in camera mode.)

I’ve embedded a cute video below where they’re showing off using the new languages in the visual mode.

I’ve found the real-time voice translation feature not very workable in classroom situations, but perhaps these new updates will mitigate those problems.

The visual text feature, on the other hand, has come in quite handy for some students. As the video shows, you just set the language of the text you want translated and the language you want it translated into, click the camera icon, point it at the text, and it shows you the translated image. As the video also shows, it works great with large text. It works well with small text when I’m using my iPhone 6, but students have found in the past it doesn’t work nearly as well with lower-end smartphones. I don’t know if this new update will fix that issue or not.

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

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July 15, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

President Announces “New” Program To Connect Low-Income Families To Internet – I’m Skeptical

Today, President Obama announced a “new” plan to connect 275,000 low-income households to the Internet. You can read about it in The New York Times article, U.S. Program Will Connect Public Housing Residents to Web.

Here’s an excerpt:


I’m all for low-income families getting Internet access and, as regular readers know, have worked on this issue for years (see The Best Resources For Learning About Schools Providing Home Computers & Internet Access To Students).

However, in reviewing what this “new” program does, I don’t see anything new in it apart from Google providing connections free in the three cities where they have Google Fiber, and one Native American-owned utility providing it free to their local public housing residents.

Everything else, except for a bunch of “training” with very questionable value, is already available under Comcast’s free program and the expansion the FCC ordered all cable companies to do.

Perhaps I’m missing something – let me know if I am. I just get concerned that pseudo big new programs provide the illusion that something is being done when it isn’t, and then reduces the likelihood of real solutions actually occurring….

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July 13, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

Quote Of The Day: The “frustrating disappointments” of Ed Tech

Are We Investing in History Repeating Itself? is an interesting article about ed tech that appeared today in Bright.

Here’s an excerpt:


You might also be interested in The Best Posts & Articles Highlighting Why We Need To Be Very Careful Around Ed Tech.

The same article also mentioned a nice site called MathTrain.TV set-up by a California middle school teacher. His students create videos – much more engaging ones, I might add, than what you’ll see at The Khan Academy — teaching math concepts to an authentic audience.

Here’s an explanation of the site:

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June 14, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

Ed Tech Digest

In another somewhat futile attempt to reduce the backlog of resources I want to share, I’m starting this weekly “Ed Tech Digest” post where I’ll share three or four links I think are particularly useful and related to…ed tech:

Personalized Learning: More Teacher, Less Algorithm? is from Ed Week. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Understanding “Personalized Learning.”

Why Ed Tech Is Not Transforming How Teachers Teach and How Teachers Use Ed Tech: 8 Research Studies You Need to Know are both from Ed Week. I’m adding them to The Best Research Available On The Use Of Technology In Schools.

I’m adding this next tweet to the same list:

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June 5, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Resources For Developing Student Digital Portfolios

Over the next day or two, I’ll be publishing a post over at Education Week Teacher with advice on creating student digital portfolios (it’s now been published, and you can see it here).

I thought it would be useful to share a beginning list of resources here:

First, you might find these previous “Best” lists useful (I’ve just updated them):

The Best Places Where Students Can Write Online

The Best Ways For Students Or Teachers To Create A Website

I’ve previously posted several times about how much I love the Shadow Puppet app — there isn’t anything out there that’s an easier tool for creating a quick audio-narrated slideshow. It’s perfect for English Language Learners. Recently, the company behind Shadow Puppet has just released another new and free educational app that looks like it could be very useful. It’s called Seesaw, and basically lets students easily create digital portfolios that can be shared with teachers and parents. It’s free for teachers and students, and has a free and paid version for parents.

5 Free Tools For Making Digital Portfolios is from Edudemic.

4 Free Web Tools for Student Portfolios is from Edutopia.

5 Good Options for Creating Digital Portfolios is from Richard Byrne.

Digital Portfolios: The Art of Reflection is from Edutopia.

Meaningful Learning with Digital Portfolios: Tools & Examples is from Shelly Sanchez Terrell.

7 Good Options for Building Digital Portfolios – A PDF Handout is from Richard Byrne.

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June 5, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

Skype Opens Up Web Version To Everyone


Skype has now opened-up its web-based version to everyone.

In order to be able to use it for voice or video calling, however, you still have to download a plugin. Much to my surprise, however, my school computer, which has a zillion restrictions on what can and cannot be downloaded, let me do it.

This can come in quite handy now for teachers whose districts restrict software downloads, and could make it easier for class conversations with authors, other classes, etc.

You can read more about it at this Tech Crunch post.

I’m adding this info to The Best Online Tools For Real-Time Collaboration.

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