“Kids these days” is an expression that adults have been using for years, and it often refers to “this new fangled technology” that adults just do not understand. However, the “new” technology isn’t all THAT new, and when harnessed for good, can make instruction more effective for both teachers and students.
Technology and teaching go hand in hand, no matter how much of a distraction phones and iPads can become in class. It’s true that technology can be overwhelming when trying to understand how it works and taking the time to add “one more thing” to one’s lesson plans.
However, integrating technology in the classroom can make a huge difference in regard to the success of the students and the sanity of the teacher. Using technology with vocabulary instruction has a huge number of benefits from assessment to engagement.
Integrating technology in the classroom can make a huge difference in regard to the success of the students and the sanity of the teacher.
If you aren’t using technology for your vocabulary instruction and practice, now is the time to start! Download my free eBook and find five ways to enhance your teaching and engage students in learning their vocabulary.
Below, I've outlined the five ways to use technology in teaching vocabulary. In addition, I share how Vocabulary Workshop Interactive Edition allows me to seamlessly integrate each of these topics into my instruction.
1.) Technology Makes Assessment Easier for Teachers and Students
Grading is hard, and keeping track of stacks of papers, from collection to redistribution, gets complicated. Throw in students who need to make up an assessment, those who want to retake a quiz or test or those who need an alternate version, and it becomes overwhelmingly frustrating.
Assessments are not just hard on teachers; they are also hard on students. From keeping track of all of their papers to remembering what to turn in when, they are often overwhelmed.
Furthermore, the end goal of assessing students is to provide timely feedback in regards to the students’ actual learning. If teachers are not able to grade quickly or forget to turn back papers in the hectic daily schedule, students do not get the feedback they need and therefore, can only guess how well they know their material until the next assessment. As assessments build on each other, this lack of metacognition becomes seriously harmful to students’ overall growth in their educational path.
All of these issues are eliminated when technology is integrated into the classroom!
With Vocabulary Workshop Interactive Edition, teachers can assign assessments virtually and grading is done automatically by the program. Students who were absent can access their assessments whenever needed and never have to worry about missing work. Additionally, students have instant feedback as to what they know and do not know and can have multiple opportunities to retake assessments. The Vocabulary Workshop Interactive Edition allows for multiple assessment retakes and questions can be automatically changed and resorted based on teacher preference.
Not currently using Vocabulary Workshop Interactive Edition? Try using your district’s EMS (Education Management System) such as Blackboard or Canvas, or try a Google form for vocabulary assessments.
2.) Technology Allows Teachers to Assign Activities in an Instant
When it comes to assigning work for students, teachers can often spin in multiple directions. Teachers want students to take the time to practice, but making copies and distributing work gets difficult, especially if students are absent, class time gets cut short, or different classes have different needs.
The right technology tools allow teachers to assign vocabulary activities instantly and collect completed assignments virtually! Furthermore, with tech, students never lose papers, never have to miss an assignment if they are absent, and can get immediate feedback on any activities they complete.
Being able to assign activities instantly with the Vocabulary Workshop Interactive Edition makes the learning quick and enjoyable for students. With this digital program student work is turned in automatically and each class can be given tasks based on where you are in the lesson for each.
If you don’t have access to the Vocabulary Workshop Interactive Edition you can look into your district’s EMS, including Google Classroom (free), for options in assigning and collecting vocabulary activities and diversifying assignments based on each class’s progress in a lesson.
3.) Technology Helps Teachers, Students and Families Track Students’ Progress
Keeping track of and communicating to students and their families about students’ progress can be time consuming and problematic. If students and their families only see grades in a gradebook, they cannot understand where students did and did not understand specific questions. Technology makes it easier for educators and families to work together to monitor students’ vocabulary progress. With the appropriate tech tools, a student’s progress in vocabulary can be recorded, tracked, and shared amongst the student, teacher, and parents/guardians.
With Vocabulary Workshop Interactive Edition, everyone can see not only the final results but also each individual question and answer. This progress reporting encourages students to take ownership of their learning while also allowing families to help when necessary!
Teachers, too, can see the growth of students and can intervene more quickly and efficiently when problems are flagged in the system. Additionally, students can gain a true sense of satisfaction when they see their progress over time.
Not currently using Vocabulary Workshop Interactive Edition? Consider prepopulating the gradebook with comments based on students’ skill levels for each assessment to easily click on based on the students’ results.
4.) Technology Makes Differentiation Painless
By integrating technology in the classroom, students never have to feel the stigma of doing a different worksheet or alternative assessment because all the work is on devices and personalized to their needs.
Differentiation is crucial to student progress, but even with technology, differentiation can still be incredibly difficult to execute. However, with Vocabulary Workshop Interactive Edition, differentiation is as easy as clicking a button. Technology and teaching come together in Vocabulary Workshop Interactive Edition, where teachers can assign students work based on their individual needs and IEP goals, and can even assign different words to students based on their diagnostic test results.
Furthermore, teachers do much less work on the creation of differentiated work. With a few clicks of a button, teachers can quickly and easily give each student the exact work they need, and then have it graded automatically by the Vocabulary Workshop Interactive Edition.
Not currently using Vocabulary Workshop Interactive Edition? Try using your district’s EMS (Education Management System) such as Blackboard or Canvas, or try a Google form to differentiate assignments and assessments for students.
5.) Technology Engages 21st Century Students
It’s simple—integrating technology in the classroom engages 21st century students! Students today have been raised using technology to communicate, to consume content, and to learn.
Vocabulary Workshop Interactive Edition makes learning fun and exciting for students with instant feedback, games, and opportunities to extend their learning.
If you don't use Vocabulary Workshop Interactive Edition, there are a number of technologies you can find online and use in teaching and learning vocabulary to engage 21st century students.
In addition to integrating technologies in the classroom that will engage 21st century students in vocabulary practice, teachers can also use tech-themed vocabulary activities to grab the attention of their digitally savvy students!
Create an App With Words Activity
Put students' vocabulary and coding skills to the test! With the Create An App With Words Vocabulary Activity, students will design an app and then write a description using at least five vocabulary words!
Pinterest Board Vocabulary Activity
With the Pinterest Board Vocabulary Activity, students draw or cut out images of things that will help them remember their vocabulary words! These visual representations will help students make deep connections that they can call upon when asked to remember each vocabulary word's definition.
Vocabularize Celebrity Tweets Activity
With the Vocabularize Celebrity Tweets Vocabulary Activity students will help celebrities ditch the acronyms and made-up words. This social media-inspired worksheet will also get students practicing their editing skills!
Vocabulary Video Games
When you use vocabulary games in the classroom, students not only learn from and with one another, but they also become more excited about and engaged in learning. With the Vocabulary Video Game, your digitally savvy students will be transported to a world of words, gold coins, elixirs, armor, and more!
For today’s students, technology is a major part of life, whether for entertainment, information, or learning. Download the 5 Ways to Use Technology in Teaching Vocabulary eBook to learn how you can enhance your instruction with tech. This eBook would also be great to take to a professional learning community or department meeting in order to spur discussion about using technology to teach vocabulary.