How to Use Technology to Teach Vocabulary


One of the most important abilities to develop in young students is their vocabulary. Having an ample vocabulary is highly beneficial for a student. For example, increasing one’s vocabulary improves reading comprehension and writing skills. The quotes from an expert say it clearly: “Effective vocabulary instruction across grade levels and content areas is key in increasing student learning and achievement.”

Because of the lack of proper vocabulary, many students prefer to pay someone to write their papers. This is fine. A professional writing service such as can be a great help to students when their workload is excessive. But it is also good to increase their vocabulary so they can also write a paper by themselves.

There are proven teaching techniques to help students increase their vocabulary. Much academic research has been done to include modern technology into different vocabulary teaching techniques. The Internet and multimedia technologies have the potential to be great allies for this purpose.

Different digital tools can be used by teachers to foster the interest of students in learning new words. Digital technology has advanced at gigantic steps in the last three decades. Hence, educational methods must also benefit from these advances.

In developed countries like the United States, practically all schools and universities have access to the Internet. According to expert opinion, “access to the Internet will be ubiquitous owing to the many low-cost mobile phones available.” Thus, teachers should exploit these tools.

Digital technology is everywhere in our daily lives. However, for some reason, it has not been widely embraced in the classroom. Particularly, teaching vocabulary is an area that has not incorporated much digital technology. Even though the technology is readily available to be used, this has not happened yet.

Digital Tools that Teachers Can Use to Teach Vocabulary

In this section, several tools that teachers can use to teach vocabulary are presented. Most of these tools incorporate effective techniques for the teaching of vocabulary. Said techniques are the result of pedagogical research.

Teachers can take one or several of the following tools and strategies to adapt them to their particular classes. Let us discuss one by one:

  • Tools that show the relationship between different words in a text. These include programs like Wordle, which is an online application. This software allows creating word clouds from a text that can be manipulated. Another similar tool is Wordsift, also available online. These two tools are free;
  • Tools that create digital vocabulary field trips. The most common program for this teaching approach is TrackStar. This program is available free on the Internet. With this software you can collect different websites to create a vocabulary field trip;
  • Tools that allow playing vocabulary games. There are several games of this type available for free online. These games can include crossword puzzles and many other ingenious and entertaining ways to have fun and learn;

Specialists in information and communication technology (ICT) can contribute greatly to the improvement of these tools. Programmers, for instance, can create more intricate games to learn words. Currently, some of these games are very basic. Besides crossword puzzles, other games include word scrambles.

There is also a popular online game in which a student has to create as many words as possible using a set of letters. All these tools can be extended to include multiple players, even via the Internet.

Why Should Teachers Use Digital Technology for Their Lessons?

Kids are very fond of technology. Most of them use smartphones and/or tablets. Therefore, integrating these tools into the classroom will make the lessons more interesting to them. Moreover, digital technology can ease the grading and assessment processes.

For instance, a teacher can give assignments online through the use of a program. The students do their homework and submit it online. Then, the program grades it. This way, both the teacher and students have fewer things to do.

Another important aspect in which digital technology can greatly help is making vocabulary words memorable. Most students have difficulties to differentiate homophones. You can use some programs to make word-to-image associations. Of course, you can do that on the board. But using an online program allows students to share their results with their peers.

Most students of today were born in the digital era, unlike their teachers. Hence, using digital technology in the classroom makes the teaching process more engaging.  Hence, the best way to support students to learn vocabulary is through the development of apps for this purpose.

There are already some very good apps available for different smartphone platforms. An example is Word Hippo, which teaches definitions, synonyms, antonyms, etc. All through very funny games!

It is necessary to encourage collaboration between educators and ICT experts. The result of such collaborations can be amazing and engaging tools.

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