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Vocabulary and Technology Integration Series – Post #2

Technology Blog

Technology Integration and Vocabulary Instruction

Part 2

In Part One of Technology Integration and Vocabulary Instruction, I shared the importance of teaching students vocabulary using evidence-based practices combined with digital technology. In this post, I will give specific examples of how you might incorporate digital tools to teach vocabulary or to give students access to words, visual representations of the words, and their use in context.


Digital Tools for Vocabulary Instruction

1. Quizlet

Quizlet is a digital resource for making vocabulary flashcards. Though you might think this is a simple substitution for “hard copy” flashcards, read a little more. First, Quizlet is online and also has an app; you cannot lose these flashcards. Second, you can add a definition, an image, and an audio file recording the pronunciation and definition of the word. Third, the platform allows users to interact with the terms in various formats: “Cards,” “Learn,” “Speller,” and “Test.” Perhaps the best feature, or at least most fun from the students’ perspective is the Game section.  “Scatter” requires users to drag images to their corresponding definition, and the goal of “Space Race” is to correctly type the term that matches the image floating horizontally across the screen. The site keeps track of scores and students can compete against each other. Students playing video games to learn their vocabulary words. Is there anything better? These features come standard in the free site account, and paying the $24.99 per year subscription gives you access to additional features. The basic app is free; there is also Quizlet Plus for $14.99.

2. PowerPoint

Something that will take a little more work on your part, but that is completely free, is to make a PowerPoint slideshow or a video which presents the terms to students. It’s less interactive than Quizlet. There are no games, but they do provide you with the ability to give students the words, definitions, pronunciation, context and visual cues they need to learn the terms. Here are some examples:


Link to this PowerPoint on Tacky The Penguin vocabulary


Link to this video about Balance and Motion vocabulary


3. Podcasts

Podcasts are another great way to teach students vocabulary. Video and audio supports like podcasts aren’t meant to replace instruction. Instead, they should be thought of as part of your system of effective vocabulary instruction. That system should involve:

  • direct instruction of the terms,
  • student definitions written in their own words,
  • experiments or activities that provide interconnections between the words and their meanings and that allow students to use the words in context.




Here are examples of podcasts made to support students learning Spanish.

This is a link to one of Michael Kennedy’s Content Acquisition Podcasts; you’ll learn the components of how to make a Content Acquisition Podcast here:


Next Up. . . Putting technology in the hands of students to make their own vocabulary supports

Until next time. Be good humans.



Kennedy, M. J., Thomas, C. N., Meyer, J. P., Alves, K. D., & Lloyd, J. W. (2014). Using evidence-based multimedia to improve vocabulary performance of adolescents with ld: a udl approach. Learning Disability Quarterly, 37(2), 71–86.

Kennedy, M. J., Deshler, D. D., & Lloyd, J. W. (2015). Effects of Multimedia Vocabulary Instruction on Adolescents With Learning Disabilities. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 48(1), 22–38.

Putman, S. M., & Kingsley, T. (2009). The Atoms Family: Using Podcasts to Enhance the Development of Science Vocabulary. Reading Teacher, 63(2), 100–108.

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