Web Wonder Week #7 - Wordnik
Experienced teacher and tech visionary Dan Roberts shares practical ICT ideas to use in the classroom. This week he’s delving into the online dictionary/thesaurus, Wordnik.
Wordnik is an online dictionary/thesaurus that’s a doddle to use. Just type in the word you want to find out more about and hit enter. Wordnik then finds definitions, examples and heaps of extra information about that word. That extra info includes photos from the web about that word, recent relevant Twitter posts and whether or not it’s a valid Scrabble word!
Of course there’s always the chance your students could use Wordnik to search for funny or rude words. The site does add a exclamation mark graphic next to inappropriate words but, as with any other web tool you use in lessons, you just have to monitor its use carefully.
How to use Wordnik in the classroom
1. Instead of using a dictionary or thesaurus, get students to use Wordnik to look up definitions.
2. Make use of the ‘word of the day’ feature as a quick literacy focus at the start or end of lessons.
3. Collate difficult vocabulary during your lessons. If there are words that lots of children get stuck with then give responsibility to a group of students to look up and share information on those words with the class.
4. A nice homework task would be to ask students to search and share an unusual word they’ve found on Wordnik.
If you have a go at using this tool, please leave a comment letting us know how you used it and what the impact on learning was in your classroom.
Who is Dan Roberts?
Dan Roberts is a former deputy headteacher at Saltash.net Community School and is now headteacher at the International School Seychelles.
Dan is known to many who have read his blog as the ‘Chicken Man’ thanks to his work in the Recharge the Battery science project, which began when pupils wanted to rescue battery chickens from a local intensive farm to live a free-range life at the school. This scheme became the basis for a unique curriculum which has since been disseminated around the globe by Microsoft.
In recognition of his work, Dan won the ICT Visionary Award at the 2012 TES Awards, where he was commended as, “no one-trick pony (or even a one-trick chicken), but a bold scavenger who explores all sorts of different technologies and discovers new approaches for other teachers around the world”.
Keep up with Dan in on this blog and on Twitter @TesEdTech