Academic Vocabulary Tech Strategies Taking STEAM

I wanted to share some resources that I came across from my literature review this weekend that addresses a topic that all teachers are working with this school year. I found the information very useful and thought I would pass it along.

Some key resources and ideas:

1. Learn from Visual Display of Word Relationships with Text. Many of you are already using or

Questions that you can use in with the tools could be the following:  How do these words go together? Why do you think the Wordle designer chose this shape of word cloud? What superordinate terms reflect the main ideas? Creating with art can inspire kids to learn more and give the lesson a meaningful purpose. Besides printing the Wordle for peers and the school to enjoy, you can also embed in a class blog, share via social media, or insert in a PowerPoint.

Another free word cloud tool is WordSift,

2. Take a Digital Vocab Field Trip: TrackStar allows you to collect a series of websites and annotate them so you that students can follow the online journey. Literary field trips are also popping up in Google earth.

3. Games: There are many vocabulary games that you can utilize with your smart board. , http://www.sheppardsoftware.com

4. Have students use media to express vocabulary knowledge. Many teachers practiced this during STEAM camp. Animoto, Prezi, SlideShare, Keynote, PowerPoint are all easy ways to foster creativity and build academic vocabulary. One easy way to create academic flash cards or photos is to save an individual slide in PowerPoint as a picture.

5. Take advantage of online word reference tools that are also teaching tools. I use this every day and find that it is a wonderful way to increase your own vocabulary.  Check out SAT Vocabulary Word Videos.

Try, which  includes a Behind the Dictionary and Teachers at Work feature. is a another resource that we have downloaded as an app on many devices.

6. Develop Strategic Digital Readers with On-Demand” Vocabulary Help. One way to facilitate this is to support reading and world learning with just in time vocabulary reference support. I have a very long list of these tools if you are interested.

7. Use Language Translators to Provide Just in Time help for ELs. Yahoo! Kids dictionary supports 90 languages and includes a translator, and students need to know how to utilize this option. The value of a translator is that it supports learning words as they occur naturally in authentic texts and allow students to view bilingual versions of a text side by side so they can use their first language knowledge to develop their English vocabulary. Babelfish, Google translator, Bing Translator are not always perfect but they are a great start.

8. Increase Reading Volume by Reading Digital Text: Reading current events is a great way to tap into digital reading. Time for Kids, Weekly Reader, National Geographic Kids, National Geographic Kids’ blogs, Science News for Kids are some current event resources.

9. Text To speech tools and audio books: Anything viewed in Safari can be read to an audience aloud.

10. Combine Vocabulary Learning to Social Service

Students desire to to create, participate in global communities, and utilize web 2.o and social media environments. Free Rice, is a great way to give students the opportunity to give back to the planet and extend their learning experience to a greater cause.

GratefulGram  is a tool that I think can help facilitate the same ideology.

Take Action: Analyze your current vocabulary instruction and the needs of you students. What current low tech task might be replaced or embraced with an eVoc strategy that uses multimedia? Are there gaps in your students’ vocabulary learning skills that can be supported with a digital tool? Be sure to include time for sharing students’ new knowledge about words, strategies for using digital tools and media, and their creative products. Remember, we have computers in an offsite curriculum center where we can showcase student work. View your integration of technology and vocabulary as an opportunity for exploration and inquiry. How might you share what you are learning with other teachers? Do not forget how much fun words can be, especially when evoked in a digital content.



Dalton, B., & Grisham, D. L. (2011). eVoc Strategies: 10 Ways to Use Technology to Build Vocabulary. The Reading Teacher, 64(5), 306-317. doi:10.1598/RT.64.5.1


About instructionaltechnologist101

Instructional Technologist 1 to 1, Avid change agent, Mac Enthusiastic, Implemented K12 1:1 program, managed offsite curriculum center in community museum, learner, PhD student in Educational Technology at University of North Texas. The future is now!

Posted on October 2, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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