Wednesday, February 4, 2009
A tool I've played with about a week now is Shahi, a mashup tool that combines the feed from Flickr photos and Wiktionary definitions, in essence creating a visual dictionary.
For a visual learner like me (and a plurality of the learners in your classroom), this is an excellent tool for vocabulary acquisition. It allows students to not only work individually, but to have visual content to couple with the definitions. And with visual content, you will have improved recall.
As a user, you have the option of using Google or Yahoo images instead of Flickr.
One drawback, you don't have the option of filtering your images (at least that I could see). You are at the mercy of what Flickr users have tagged words. For example, the first vocab word from Animal Farm that we would discuss as a class was the term "scullery", a word that isn't used much anymore. There are great visual images of what a scullery is... a room used for butchering and washing up (nobody would miss the word on the quiz after seeing them). Unfortunately, there are many questionable images of maids that come up with the search. As with any other tool, you would need to teach digital citizenship with it.