I have been thinking a lot about vocabulary
lately. It seems to me that it's such a fundamental part of academic success and something that lends itself to technology and potentially building some great reusable resources.
Then I read Marzano's "Classroom Instruction That Works
," a must-read if you haven't read it (though I might suggest skipping "Using Technology With Classroom Instruction That Works" - though it sounds intriguing, if you've read the main book and know much about instructional technology, the second book will likely seem basic and obvious). Marzano et al synthesize some very interesting research on vocabulary instruction
Of course, thinking about this naturally led into thinking about ways the new kids open dictionary
could be made even more useful. And I thought, "What is the glossary builder could output PowerPoint presentations?" A few hours later, presto -- it's working! You can now quickly and easily automatically generate a PPT from a comma-separated list of vocabulary words.
I’m really excited about this, because I think the classroom applications are huge. Have kids create a PowerPoint for their vocabulary lists and add pictures. Add pronunciations. Output it to jpgs and make a movie. Put the PowerPoints on the web, handhelds, or iPods and use them to differentiate instruction. All of these ideas fit well into research on vocabulary instruction and are also manageable and not time consuming.