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Collaborize Classroom-free for the 2010/2011 school year if you sign u

What it is: Collaborize Classroom is an online learning platform developed for classroom discussion and engagement.  Collaborize lets students and teacher collaborate in online discussions. It can be used for meaningful conversations related to classroom curriculum, to ask and answer questions, to collaborate on projects, to vote on ideas/issues, and more.  Teachers can continue valuable discussions, facilitate online learning groups, encourage the sharing of resources, and provide students with space to engage in collaborative learning.  Collaborize is easy to set up and navigate for both teachers and students.  Questions can be posted easily including multiple choices, yes/no, vote or suggest, and forum.  After the questions have been answered, the results of the discussion can be published on a results page.  Collaborize has great teacher features.  Add attachments to any question including photos, videos, and documents.  Send a message to students using the built-in messaging system.  Participation reports track each student’s activity on the site including number of logins, votes, comments, and replies.  Activity reports can be sent to your email daily for review. Set up a watch list to follow a discussion more closely.  Collaborize has fantastic supporting materials including lesson plans, helpful tutorials, and research articles.  If you sign up for Collaborize before November 15, 2010, the product is being offered at no-cost (read FREE) for the 2010-2011 school year!  In partnership with Democrasoft, The Kids in Need Foundation made this free year possible…take advantage of it before the 15th! How to integrate Collaborize into your curriculum: Collaboraize is an awesome tool to facilitate discussions in (and out of) the classroom.  The format of Collaborize makes it flexible enough to use in any classroom and in a way that works for you.  Use Collaborize to facilitate discussions and literature circles, plan a science lab or experiment to be conducted in class, practice second languages with online dialog, post current events for students to reflect on, work with classrooms around the world to discuss and debate any topic, pose a math word problem and ask students to discuss the different ways the problem could be approached.  Collaborize is a wonderful tool for student discussion and collaboration, but the teacher tools are what make it such a perfect fit for the classroom setting.  It is easy to sign up, get your free year today! Tips: Collaborize has really helpful resources for teachers.  Learn about the do’s and don’ts of student forums, the art of asking questions, lesson and activity ideas, rethinking your role in the classroom and much more.  Even if you don’t sign up for Collaborize, I recommend spending some time checking out these free documents, they have great tips that can be applied to a variety of web collaboration tools. Please leave a comment and share how you are using Collaborize in your classroom!

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Wordsmyth- outstanding illustrated e-dictionary

Posted by admin | Posted in Foreign Language, Inquiry, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), web tools, Websites | Posted on 16-11-2013

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iLearn Technology: Wordsmyth- illustrated e-dictionary

What it is: Wordsmyth is a fantastic online dictionary for kids.  WILD is Wordsmyth’s Illustrated Learner’s Dictionary.  It is a truly well done young reader’s dictionary for k-3 readers or ELL students.  WILD is a simple-to-use visual dictionary that includes definitions for 1500 words, developmentally appropriate sentences for each word and for each meaning of the word, integrated visual environments that help kids really explore language, audio for each word, and fun activities that promote literacy.  Wordsmyth has a dictionary for intermediate elementary and middle school students called Word Explorer Children’s Dictionary.  The Word Explorer includes a related-words feature where students can see concept maps, easy-to-read and understand definition, word histories, Language Notes, and thousands of images and animations to help students build literacy. Finally, Wordsmyth has a comprehensive dictionary suite with easy to read entries and definitions, illustrations, synonyms/similar words/antonyms under each definition, audio pronunciation and thousands more images.  Wordsmyth has different options for use.  There is a free subscription available to everyone that will allow students to freely access all 3 dictionary suites, advanced search options, puzzles, words of the day, look up history, customized pronunciation and dictionary formats, and a glossary maker.  MOST of the site is totally free to use with the free registration!  For $9.95/year, you can also purchase an individual subscription that gives some additional features such as the ability to customize the dictionary and gain access to premium features.

An educational subscription allows access to ALL tools including teacher tools.  Best of all, it is FREE for schools for the 2013-2014 school year.  Worth taking advantage of this option!

How to integrate Wordsmyth into your classroom: I’m seriously impressed with the Wordsmyth dictionaries.  They are truly an impressive option for a digital dictionary in the classroom.  The downfall of this site: the illustrated dictionary (WILD) is flash-based.  This means that it is not easily accessible on iDevices in the classroom.  It also means that it takes a bit to load each page if your Internet connection isn’t great.  

What I appreciate about this dictionary, is the accessibility for emerging readers, non-readers, or ELL/ESL students.  The dictionary is really easy to use, the definitions are easy to understand, and the accompanying audio and images are fantastic!

If you have a dedicated writing space in your classroom, make sure to include Wordsmyth in it.  Bookmark it on classroom computers, send it home to parents, include it on your classroom blog/website, etc.  This is a wonderful place for kids to be empowered during their writing and literacy time.

If you are lucky enough to have a 1:1 device setting, this site is worth making a web clip for to make it easily accessible to everyone.

Right now our students are inquiring into how we express ourselves.  Our intermediate students are looking at different mediums and methods that people use for self-expression.  Part of that exploration has led them into a study of words.  Wordsmyth is a great way for them to explore in a place that is developmentally appropriate and helps them see the way that language is connected and can be used for expression.

Wordsmyth has words separated by topic.  As you begin a new unit, give students the opportunity to explore the vocabulary on the front end.  You can do this as a class using a projector or interactive whiteboard or individually on classroom/personal devices.  As you go through a class book or unit together, create a custom glossary that students can refer to.

Tips: Be sure to sign up for the free educational group subscription for the 2013-2014 school year.  With the subscription you get unlimited making/using/saving/sharing activities, customize the dictionary, access premium dictionary features, and access to the teacher tools.

What do you think of Wordsmyth?  How do you plan to use it in your classroom?

Comments (1)

I have a class of students with language impairments. The collections tab is a great tool for them because it allows them to make connections between the word categories. I plan to have them use that to include words in their personal dictionary so they can find them easier. Their spelling is often very phonetic so using a regular dictionary doesn’t help because their sounds are so off. I also plan on sharing with our ESL teacher. Thanks so much for sharing!

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