In recent years, vocabulary instruction has undoubtedly taken a backseat to the more buzz-worthy STEM, STEAM, flipped classroom, and other trending topics in education. Though the Common Core has rolled out state standards that address the importance of vocabulary inclusion, “vocab” is not a hot topic when compared to the ever-growing necessity of coding, technical, and other in-demand 21st century digital skills. Computer coding classes are even being offered in place of traditional “foreign” languages in schools, where the need to speak Java and HTML over Spanish and Latin is rapidly taking precedence.
As we pack our bags with e-readers over novels, tablets instead of textbooks, our handy smartphones always just a screen tap away from limitless information, is the need to expand our vocabulary a dying one? When we can easily just Google or scan an online dictionary for the right word, and as writing itself is shrinking to 140 characters or less, vocab instruction in schools can seem almost a waste of valuable and increasingly limited instructional time.
I needed to look no further than my own kitchen table throughout the course of the past school year to get a glimpse of what else threatens vocabulary instruction’s place in schools. Each Friday morning, my 11 year-old son would spread his vocab words, written on individual strips of paper, across the table in an effort to cram for the afternoon quiz. At best he perceived this task as a nuisance, but more often that not he approached it with the utmost disdain while appreciating very little, if any, of the relevance or impact of learning the words. I’m fortunate to have a son who typically demonstrates a passion for learning, but that was never evident with this weekly endeavor.
This, to me, is tragic because of the vital role vocabulary plays in our daily lives. Vocabulary skills improve reading comprehension, enables thoughts to be expressed clearly and critically in writing, and also strengthens communication skills for self-expression. Vocabulary and reading comprehension are inextricably linked—development of vocabulary is not only crucial to our formative years, but by the end of schooling, avid reading continues to expand our vocabulary well through adulthood. Why is it then that such an important aspect of learning, growth, and development is so often left on the educational backburner?
Vocabulary instruction has evolved very little over the years. But how can that be? We are surrounded by technology, practically 24/7: from our morning alarm on our smartphones to mobile pay apps over lunch, and the GPS that brings you to the new restaurant for date night. Not to mention the current surge of edtech’s role in schools involving 1:1 technology implementations and BYOD programs; there are SMART boards in place of good ol’ chalk and the technological-relic-formally-known-as an overhead projector. High school labs are using equipment once reserved only for hospitals, and libraries that use to only house dusty books and encyclopedias are now digital media hubs. Why, then, is vocab still often taught from workbooks that have not been updated for years, and even worse, simply for the purpose of passing a quiz?
WordWriter seeks to bring vocabulary instruction and learning into the 21st century!
Utilizing BoomWriter’s interactive and collaborative platform, WordWriter will develop greater interest and engagement levels around vocabulary instruction. Say goodbye to dated textbooks and dull memorization, WordWriter will increase students’ overall vocabulary comprehension through application of the teacher-selected vocab into their own written work. Teachers will simply add the specific words they wish the students to incorporate, a word limit, and some guidelines—the WordWriter platform is flexible enough that students can write creative stories around the chosen words or just simple sentences to demonstrate their vocabulary knowledge. Best of all, WordWriter tracks student’s use of selected words and then checks off the vocabulary word once it’s been typed. Once all students’ pieces are submitted and approved by the teacher, they can participate in the anonymous peer review portion of the process and vote for the piece they feel best utilizes the vocabulary. WordWriter will also feature vocabulary word crowdsourcing, so teachers can see the most popular words for a particular grade added by other teachers from around the world!
Vocabulary instruction and development will no longer be a mundane task, stuck in the past and leading to a quick quiz to be aced before the words are quickly forgotten. With WordWriter, teachers can deliver an engaging technology-based learning experience that lets students apply and share their levels of creativity and vocabulary word knowledge.
A good suggestion - thanks! We can’t promise to implement every idea, but we do promise to read and consider each one.
Thanks for getting in touch, and sorry you seem to be having trouble. I’m not quite sure from your description what you mean.
For a speedy resolution, please drop an email to our development team so they can give you some personal help: email@example.com
Remember to send this using the email address that you signed up with!
Unfortunately, at this time it is not possible to change the authorship of a Story Start.
The Author of a Story Start is linked to the account that created it. So, if you were logged in as a Teacher and created a custom Story Start, it will be attributed to you.
If you could contact our development team directly they may be able to help or give further advice. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org (please remember to use the email address that is linked to your BoomWriter account)
First, login to your teacher account and then go to the story starts section.
From the side menu choose ‘Your School’. From here you can view and use story starts created by other teachers at your school. You can also write and manage your own.
Note that when you create a your own story start it is only available to any other teachers registered to the same BoomWriter school account.
Hope this helps!