Session 4 - 21st Century Vocabulary and E-Vocabulary Tools - June 28, 2011


Essential Questions

1.Why are teachers' and students' vocabulary skills important in order to effectively implement 21st century classrooms?

2.How can Web 2.0 tools be used to help improve students' vocabulary skills?


4.1 21st Century Vocabulary Opener

In the Session 4 page of your virtual notebook, create a heading, "4.1 21st Century Vocabulary Terms"and type what you think is meant by the following terms:Widget
Embed code
Search engine
Web 2.0

4.2 Using is a vocabulary centered search engine which finds definitions, explanations, word associations and word histories for vocabulary terms. Students can immerse themselves in unfamiliar crucial vocabulary which gives them all possible context to understand the word.
This is a really easy way for students to look up and track the vocabulary that they might struggle with. It is great as a pre-reading strategy to introduce difficult and important vocabulary and as a during-reading strategy to help them identify important vocabulary terms that might be difficult to understand.
Below you'll see an example of the word "holocaust" after it was put into Examine the picture and answer the following questions about Put your answers into your virtual notebook under the heading, "Session 4.2"
  • Why might students and teachers find more useful than using a dictionary or glossary?
  • What type of student might benefit from the use

Now try using
  • At the top of the page, click "sign up" and follow the procedure to acquire a username and password.
  • Choose one of the 21st century vocabulary words from section 4.1 and either copy/paste it or type it into “The Dictionary” box at the top of the page
  • Click “Look it up”
  • You’ll see your word printed largely at the top of the page.
  • Click on the speaker next to the word to hear it spoken
  • Under the word is an EXPLANATION (not a definition) as well as applications of how the word is used in context.
  • Underneath that you’ll see a normal dictionary style definition.
  • Below the definition many examples of the word's use are given.
  • On the right hand side you’ll find actual usage of the word as found on the World Wide Web.
  • If you want to save the word, click Learn or list in the top right hand corner
Take a screenshot of the page that comes up as a result of your search and upload as an image what you’ve done into your virtual notebook, Session 4 under the heading "Session 4.2, Using"
To take a screenshot follow this link for directions for how to take a screenshot in your operating system:__Windows Screenshot__ OR __Mac -OS-X Screenshot__

4.3 Revising Vocabulary Definitions Now that you have had the chance to use to look up a new 21st century vocabulary word, repeat the procedure from Session 4.2. Go back and add to and improve your definitions in Session 4.1 based upon what you find by plugging the rest of our 21st century vocabulary into Make sure to type your improvements in a different color so that your edits are visible.
If you need help with how to change the font color, please go to this tutorial:
Look up all of the words on and make sure each definition is thorough and succinct so that it could be used to help your students this school year.

4.4 Using Word Sift as a Pre-Reading Strategy
Skim the following article on Vocabulary in the 21st century, and select TWO of the Vocabulary Web 2.0 tools (other than or Word Sift) that you find interesting. You'll be using the two tools you select during this session. In your virtual notebook, Session 4 page, labeled under the heading "Session 4.4, Using Word Sift":
  • Identify the two tools you have selected
  • Insert links to both of these online tools

For this session we'll be using the Vocabulary tool wordsift ( Word Sift makes word clouds (similar to Wordles) with larger words representing frequent use within the text. Word sift also makes each word search-able and has a visual thesaurus with it, along with Google images and videos associated with the word selected.
Word sift is effective as both a Pre-reading activity (to preview text) and Post-Reading activity (to Review Main Ideas and to assist in learning the meaning of difficult Key Terms).
Read the following instructions on how to use a Word Sift:

  • Open the article you skimmed at the beginning of this session. Find the text associated with the first tool you chose and highlight the text for that section of the article and then copy it.
  • Copy that text by either right clicking, and clicking copy or hit "ctrl+c"
  • Go to
  • In the box under where it says “Paste your text into the box. Press ‘Sift” to visualize” either right click, paste or hit ctrl+v
  • The text of your article should appear in the box.
  • Click “Sift”
  • You’ll see a new page appear with a word cloud at the top. The words most frequently used appear largest, which can be a great way to help struggling readers identify the most important ideas BEFORE reading.
  • Click on one of the words in the word cloud. Beneath you’ll see a Google images search and Google Videos which helps to give students a visual idea of what is meant by the word. Next to that you’ll also see a Visual Thesaurus (see additional resources, Session 4.6, for more info on this).
Take a screenshot of your Word Sift and paste what you’ve done into your virtual notebook, Session 4 page

To take a screenshot follow this link for directions for how to take a screenshot in your operating system:__Windows Screenshot__ OR __Mac -OS-X Screenshot__
Your screenshot will be saved as a jpeg picture file. You will need to upload this file to your wikispace notebook and place it where you'd like it in your Session 4 page. Make sure to label it "4.3 Word Sift screenshot"
Answer the following questions under the same heading as above "4.3 Word Sift screenshot"
  • How is Word Sift an effective pre-reading strategy?
  • How would Word Sift help students who struggle reading?

4.5 Using E-Vocabulary Strategies
Go to the top of your Session 4 page in your virtual notebook and find the two online vocabulary tools you identified in the article you skimmed at the beginning of Session 4.4.
  • Visit the website for those tools as provided in the article. Find instructions / information on the website about how to best use it.
  • Using vocabulary from your content area, practice using this strategy online as you would have students, thinking about how you would use this in class.
  • In the Session 4 page of your virtual notebook, under the heading "Session 4.5 Using E-Vocabulary Strategies" answer the following questions:
    • Do you think the tools that you selected would be effective in your class?
    • How would you use these tools in your class? Be specific so that you can share this with others in your department or school next year.
  • Visit the Session 4 page of the other members of your group's virtual notebook and in the discussion tab comment and give feedback on their uses of Vocabulary tools.

4.6 Additional ResourcesThis is a list of useful vocabulary tools that you can use and has lots of other options for working on vocabulary with your students. Please feel free to play around with whatever seems useful. Many of these were mentioned in the E-Vocabulary article in session 4.2 as well.
Please visit
Also, please feel free to use these definitions for your own resources:
Here are the definitions that we’ll be using to go with the terms you’ve already defined. Read these definitions and then edit/revise your definitions in a different color font on your virtual notebook in order to give you the best possible definition for your personal use.
Widget – n. a tool on the web which takes web applications (like videos, interactive activities, marked up documents, etc.) and places that application on your personal page (for this course we’ll be using wikispaces). You can find the tool for widgets once you hit edit. The icon is on the editing toolbar and is in the shape of a little TV.
Embed – v. to put a widget into your wikispace page. Here’s a link that explains how to embed a video(we’ll be teaching you how to embed a variety of items in a later lesson, but this gives you a good idea what embedding is):
Embed code – n. the code which you will need to find on the website of origin which you will need to plug into the widget editor in order for your widget to appear on your wikispace page. Often times this will be obvious on a webpage (youtube has button underneath every video which says “embed”). Other times it might be tougher to locate, being accessed through a button that says “Share” or some other variant.
Link – n. a connection made between two websites where simply clicking on a bit of (usually blue) text takes you to a relevant, yet different website or page within a website. v. To insert this bit of text into a website (like your wikispace page) so that others can get to another page or website quickly and easily)
URL: n. the internet address of any website or page you go to. Literally the Uniform Resource Locator, it allows your computer to access information from a specific location on another computer which will give you the information for that website. You’re using it right now!
Upload: n. transfer data that is put onto a website or page from your computer : to transfer data or programs, usually from a peripheral computer to a central, often remote, computer, like the server for wikispaces. You’ll be uploading lots of data to your wikispace page
Download: n. A transfer of data from another computer on to your own, for instance music that is taken from the internet and put into a media player. v. to transfer or copy data from one computer to another, or to a disk or peripheral device, or be transferred or copied in this way
Search engine: n. a website which seeks out other websites which contain relevant information based upon search parameters entered into the engine. Most popular search engines are Google and Bing
Web 2.0: n. a use of the world wide web as a means to allow all computers to operate as both users and creators in which digital media is both produced and used collaboratively. This is in contrast to users being given information in which they only view the information, becoming much more passive in their activity.

4.7 Forum Post
Once you have finished using these two vocabulary and browsing through the others, write a short reflection that includes thoughts on each of the following:
· Do you think these tools would help your students in your classes? Explain why or why not.
· How might you implement some of these tools into your classes?
· Which tools do you think are most useful? Why?
· Which tools are least useful? Why?