Wednesday, 23 November 2011


Visuwords is a tool which offers students to look up words to find the definitions and associations with other words and concepts. It works like online graphical dictionary with colourful diagrams in showing the relations between words.

To use it, students can just type the vocabulary. For example, I'm trying to find the associative words to 'technology'. I could just type the word and press 'Enter', this is the diagram that coming up:

We can make the diagram to be bigger by just clicking on the 'Fullscreen' tab below the place to type the word. Besides, when we move our laptop or computer's cursor to specific vocabulary, there will be definition provided in a yellow box. As an example:

There are several benefits of using this tool: 
1. To familiarise students with wider range of related vocabulary items which might be useful for their writing or reading purpose. The more they are familiar with certain difficult words, the higher students' chance to cope with difficult challenging texts.
2. Students can get quick answers (associated vocabulary and definition) as compared to using dictionary or thesaurus to look up each word.
3. The diagram is colourful and can be moved around. Many students prefer colourful rather than dull  visual aid as it helps to enhance memorisation and make it looks interesting to be looked and learned at. However, this might be a disadvantage for colour-blinded people

Another related technology which is quite similar to this Visuwords is Wordle.

This tool also works out  with vocabulary but it can be used as a class activity where teacher can ask students to guess the story line based on the words given. For example, 
Some examples of Wordle with the most frequent words will be the biggest.

Amazingly, this not only works for English teacher, also for all other languages as well. How does it work?Teacher could just find a story and copy the whole extract and paste on Wordle. Later, it will come up with images like the example above.

We can also change colours/font styles according to our preferences. And most importantly, teacher can print it out!

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