In today’s 21st century classrooms, digital tools must coexist alongside more traditional tools. Online tools, compared to their more traditional counterparts, provide a broader array of information about words and word meanings. In addition, some tools allow teachers to easily customize words so that students can practice, review, and play games with content or unit-specific words.
Digital tools have advantages. For example, many allow students to:
- hear pronunciations;
- read words in a variety of authentic examples;
- view photos and images related to words (important for English language learners);
- reinforce word learning through interactive games;
- play with and manipulate language;
- discover rhyming words; and
- collaborate with classmates to create virtual words walls.
The following digital tools show promise to support word learning, review, and playing with language.
Lingro is a cool tool for both the “wow” factor and for its usefulness. Simply type in a website address on the Lingro website and it instantly turns the website into a clickable dictionary that translates text in 12 languages. Lingro hides in the background until students need it. To use, students simply click on any word and several definitions of the word are instantly displayed. I could see this as a very useful tool for just-in-time support for English language learners.
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 colour-codes the words by both parts of speech and relationships. As you hover over a word, a complete definition is displayed.