Vocabulary homework

Discussion in 'High School' started by mjones, Mar 5, 2011.

  1. mjones

    mjones New Member

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    Mar 5, 2011

    A student I know wrote a program (and website) that makes vocabulary homework much easier. Kids just type in a list of words, separated by commas, and the site prints out all the words and definitions.

    It's really impressive, and the kids in his class love it, but I was wondering if it means kids won't learn the words. It's a site called vocabamatic

    Apparently he is upgrading the site to include a vocabulary test, so that kids are automatically tested on the very words they are supposed to learn.

    Do you think this is appropriate for high schoolers? Would you advise your kids to use it?
     
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  3. Mark94544

    Mark94544 Companion

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    Mar 5, 2011

    It's not a brand new idea, but I really haven't seen it implemented really well.

    As we all recognize, it doesn't help much for a student to just type in a list of words and then print out a page of definitions -- they must engage with the words more than this. But this is really just shaving time from the practice of searching on dictionary.com or elsewhere and cutting and pasting definitions.

    Online vocabulary quizzes might be helpful, but again the goal of "assigning vocabulary" is never to help the students learn how to pass quizzes, but instead how to recognize & understand words in context, and how they can use those words correctly in their writing.

    FYI, there are a couple of sites that provide vocabulary lists for specific novels, which I'm sure students are using as shortcuts when asked to create a "vocabulary log" while reading a book (here I've linked to pages for Huck Finn):


    There are also a number of quiz and trivia sites that include vocabulary lists and quizzes, both for specific novels and for various vocabulary lists; several sites let you enter a list of words and generate various quizzes and puzzles. Again, I've not found a site that does this in a way that seems especially useful for teaching or learning.

    See also: LessonIndex.com http://www.LessonIndex.com/ (index of literature lesson plan resources)
     
  4. Pacificpastime

    Pacificpastime Companion

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    Mar 16, 2011

    The conept and execution are good, but it appears the application is going to be difficult. As Mark said, students need to be able to engage the words and not just wrote memorization. Sometimes you can figure out what a word means just by looking at whats around it. However, if you saw that word alone you would have no idea. If students completely memorized the words, yes they would become much better at knowing more words and being able to identify what they mean. However, most of the quizzes or tests on vocab only require the students to be able to recognize the word and not necessarily the definition.
    I wish there was a program that tackled vocabulary more efficiently. It is crucial to have an expanded vocabulary for taking SAT's, college, and the general work place.
     
  5. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Mar 16, 2011

    Really this program will be nice for students because it will save them time looking up or typing in definitions in dictionary.com. But unless more is done with the words, I wouldn't recommend it to students.
     
  6. Mark94544

    Mark94544 Companion

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    Mar 26, 2011

    FYI, I just tested the vocabamatic with a list of vocabulary words, and found that it's a bit simplistic.

    Perhaps most important, for many words it provided a definition, part of speech, and pronunciation for a variation of the word, without any signal.

    Thus, for the word "blithely," vocabamatic provided the pronunciation, part of speech, and definition for the word "blithe," while still showing the word as "blithely."

    It also provides only a single part of speech and definition for words which might (in context) be used as another part of speech. For example, "breach" was defined only as a noun, though it might be used as a verb.
     

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