Tech Tools for Teaching Vocabulary

Add a Digital Twist To Your Vocab Instruction

Explore Technology Tools to Techify Your Vocabulary Instruction

Take a few moments to explore some technology tools that can enhance your student's vocabulary comprehension. Adding a digital twist to some commonly used instructional strategies can assist students with learning but better yet retaining those dreaded vocabulary words.

Lexipedia

Looking for a visual thesaurus? Then Lexipedia is for you. Simple to use. Just type in any word and Lexipedia instantly displays the target word along with other words. It also color-codes the words by both parts of speech and relationships. As you hover over a word, a complete definition is displayed.

Snappy Words

Similar to Lexipedia, Snappy Words is another visual thesaurus. Teachers may want to introduce several of the thesaurus tools and allow students to select which works best for them. The visually sparse, cleaner display of Lexipedia works better for me.

Webster's Visual Dictionary

Check out Webster’s visual dictionary which is simple to use. Type in a single word or choose a theme that also includes many sub-categories from which to choose. Even though Webster’s is simple to use, there is a downside to this tool. After typing in a word search, 4 or 5 Google ads quickly appear above the definitions. Distracting. Yuk. It’s so clunky I almost didn’t include this tool.

Wordle

Type (or copy & paste) in a chunk of text or individual words and Wordle generates a word cloud of the key vocabulary based on word frequency. Wordle can also be used for many varied purposes – check out these 52 ideas for using Wordle to support learning.

WordSift

Similar to Wordle, students type (or copy & paste) in a piece of text and WordSift sorts the text based on word frequency. The visual thesaurus that displays beneath the words is a nice addition in WordSift. With the visual thesaurus, students immediately see how words are grouped semantically. A useful addition, I think.

Tagxedo

Tagxedo is a word cloud app with style! Tagxedo provides a good deal of customization for users. For example,if teachers or students want to create a word cloud in a shape such as the apple shown above, then Tagxedo is the right tool for the job. For younger students, Wordle is much more straightforward to use; however, older students will love the customization Tagxedo provides which includes colors, shapes, fonts, and themes.

Games and Review

Word Walls and Virtual Field Trips

Padlet

Padlet is an online space to create a collaborative, digital word wall. Getting a leg up on the more traditional word wall, Padlet allows users to create sticky notes that can include text, images, links and videos. Teachers can embed this into a classroom website or blog which makes it a go-to collaborative space for students. For primary students, teachers will probably want to create the wall with words and links for students. Older students will get the hang of it fairly quickly. A great, collaborative tool and virtual classroom space to build online references and key vocabulary for content units.

ThingLink

ThingLink is a tool for making images interactive. To use, simply upload an image, identify hot spots on specific parts of the image, and add text or web links to the image. In the classroom, teachers could use ThingLink to launch a unit by introducing students to key vocabulary or students could design interactive images as they become more familiar with vocabulary. There are many possibilities; I’d love to know how you use ThingLink to extend and deepen student learning.
Tyson, K. (2013, February 10). 21 digital tools to build vocabulary [Web blog post]. Retrieved from Kimberlytyson: http://www.learningunlimitedllc.com/2013/02/20-digital-tools-for-vocabulary/