The Complete Teacher


12 digital learning websites you can use to support your teaching

Posted by Caroline Smith on 22 January 2021 2:30 PM SAST
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Verbal instruction is so important for teachers to get right. This is because students model their behaviour on yours, and so the way in which you address them influences their vocabulary, articulation, pronuciation and comprehension. 

With the advent of the internet, we have access to more learning tools than ever. Online learning facilitates a holistic approach to education that goes beyond the classroom. As an educator, this is to your benefit. With so many digital learning tools at your disposal, implementing creativity into your lessons is easier than ever. 

We have found 12 online learning tools to facilitate your journey to teach good reading, writing & comprehension skills to your students. These resources encourage effective communication and can be easily integrated into learning. We have chosen websites that have a particular focus on:

  • pronunciation
  • display images and photos related to words
  • vocabulary reinforcement
  • interactive games
  • classmate collaboration

1. Lingro

Lingro is a platform whose user experience has a ‘wow’ factor, as well as it provides great usefulness. Simply type in a website address on the Lingro website and it instantly turns the website into a clickable dictionary that translates text in 12 languages.

2. Lexipedia

If you are looking for a visual thesaurus then Lexipedia is for you! Just type in a word and Lexipedia instantly displays the target word along with others. It colour-codes words with both parts of speech and their relationships. As you hover over a word, its definition is displayed.

3. Snappy Words

Similar to Lexipedia, Snappy Words is another visual thesaurus. Teachers may want to introduce several of the thesaurus tools and allow students to select which works best for them. 

4. Word Hippo

An all-in-one reference tool, Word Hippo does the following: defines a word, provides a meaning, provides a word that is opposite, pronounces a word, provides rhyming words, places the word in many different contexts, and translates the word.

5. Your Dictionary

Your Dictionary bills itself as providing simple, straightforward definitions and the easiest-to-use online dictionary. Sometimes simple is good. In addition to providing a definition, Your Dictionary also includes a thesaurus and places the word in varied sentence examples.

6. MathWords

This platform is a simple-to-use online dictionary specifically for math terms and formulas. This websource is most appropriate for intermediate and secondary students.

7. A Math Dictionary for Kids

A kid-friendly math dictionary. Its simple interface includes visual examples of each term. This math dictionary is appropriate for elementary students.

8. Tagxedo

Tagxedo is a word cloud app with style! Tagxedo provides a good deal of customization for users. For example, if teachers or students want to create a word cloud in a shape such as the apple shown above, then Tagxedo is the right tool for the job.

For younger students, Wordle is more straightforward to use; however, older students will love the customization Tagxedo provides which includes colours, shapes, fonts, and themes.

9.  Vocabulary Spelling City

A beefed-up version of vocabulary games, Vocabulary Spelling City includes many more game-like activities useful for reviewing words. A number of teacher-made lists are included such as analogies, compound words, math words, and many more. The free version includes about 5 activities and teachers can save lists. “Teach Me” pronounces words and uses each word in context. 

Educators can use pre-selected sentences or create their own. Vocabulary Spelling City is a useful tool for students, teachers, and parents. 

10. VocabAhead

VocabAhead is a useful tool for secondary students and teachers. Short videos – 30 to 60 seconds – accompany each word and make this tool stand out among others for secondary students. The Study Lounge, for students, features leveled word lists (grades 6-12) and SAT word lists. Students can view videos, hear pronunciations, practice, take quizzes, play games, track performance, and more.

In addition, teachers can create their own word lists for students. Custom word lists can be embedded in a blog or class website which makes integration and review a snap. Apple and Android apps are also available for free download.

11. Wallwisher

Wallwisher is an online space to create a collaborative, digital word wall. Getting a leg up on the more traditional word wall, Wallwisher allows users to create sticky notes that can include text, images, links and videos. Teachers can embed this into a classroom website or blog which makes it a go-to collaborative space for students. For primary students, teachers will probably want to create the wall with words and links for students. Older students will get the hang of it fairly quickly. A great, collaborative tool and virtual classroom space to build online references and key vocabulary for content units.

12. TrackStar

TrackStar, a free online program, allows teachers to collect a series of websites and annotate them so that students can follow an online journey. With a little work, teachers can create a visual vocabulary field trip for students. Teachers determine topics which support units of study. TrackStar is a great way for students to experience multiple exposures to words in varied contexts (a characteristic of effective vocabulary instruction).

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