Home > Teaching, technology > Words – my favourite sites

Words – my favourite sites

On Friday, Lindsay Clandfield’s blog ‘six things’ was discussing ‘ugly words’. His post was based on something he found here and by the end of the day many EFLers had posted their ugly words from coffin through to TEFL. The original list came from a site called ‘wordie’ which describes itself as the flickr of words and for a lover of words such as myself it is a cornucopia of information and certainly worth recommending to both teachers and students.

Getting to the point, the post made me consider my favourite ‘word’ sites. So for my favourite links of the week post, here are a few of my favourite word-orientated sites. They represent the five ‘word sites’ I tend to use the most at the moment. This list is in no particular order and avoids EFL dictionaries (which though I use quite lot online, I didn’t want to list all them all here.)

1. Wordle.net – make pretty pictures of vocabulary but has good practical uses. Students can use it to store and review, I use it for revision and for predicative tasks in reading. People put wordles on their blogs and there are also a number of sites that have turned it into a guessing game. To show you what it can do this is a random wordle of my blog.

Screen shot 2009-09-13 at 18.09.49

2. Wordsift – is probably much more a teacher tool and is aimed at managing “the demands of vocabulary and academic language in their text materials”. When you enter a text it makes a tag cloud (a bit similar to wordle) but it is based on the frequent words so enter a whole text and it gives you the top 50 used words. It also allows to search, make minds maps, find definitions and so much more.

3. Wordnik – still in beta stage and you need to register but it is a dictionary with a difference for example it looks at how words are being used on twitter and it is also a dictionary you contribute to.

4. Another ‘dictionary’ is lingro, which describes itself as the coolest dictionary on the net. Very useful for students in that it by typing in the address of a page, lingo makes the whole page clickable. So if there is a word you don’t know. Click on it and you’ll get a definition. Very useful tool.

5. Finishing with another site I have already made reference to in my blog and that is quizlet. There are a lot flashcards sites out there but this one, in my opinion, takes some beating for the fact it is really easy to use for both teacher and students, it stores flashcards so you can go back to them time and time again. There are the cards for my students to revise new words from a lesson.

Well I said five sites and you got six, there are many more out there, as I said my criteria were the ones I use the most and / or have the most fun on…..oh go one then one more 🙂

6. google setsgoogle labs has so many nice little tools you can use with students but perhaps this is my favourite.  Basically, type in a word and google creates a set of similar words (e.g. a lexical set). You can use this for teaching (as each word links) or for guessing games and so on. See now that’s made me start to consider if I should include mindmapping sites as well – they do after all play with words….no leave it for next time.

Hope you enjoy the sites and if you have any better suggestions, feel free to comment.

Have a good week


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