Saturday, September 8, 2012

Dictionary usage

Deciding whether our students should use a "paper dictionary" or an "on-line" dictionary is often a confusing question.  For language learning it sometimes poses an additional difficulty in that there are so many websites that provide translation to the general public that it sometimes interferes with our students' true learning of the language.  There will always be someone or something that will help our students outside of our classrooms but being able to guide our students to make wise choices is still very much in the forefront of our educational responsibilities.  After attempting to "convince" my students that some websites are better than others when supplementing the teachings in the classroom and after trying to have them use only "specific" ones designated as "approved" by me, I had my students do a dictionary activity in the classroom yesterday.  It definitely was with mixed success.

My goal was for the students to see that each of the sites including using the paper dictionary had its merits, but instead all they seemed to find  was that each had a varying number of entries for one "searched for" word.  I did this activity with my grade 8s.  I am not going to leave it though.  Next week I will put the sites up on the screen in my classroom and we will explore the sites together.  On-line work is a great way to explore what the world wide web has to offer, but it is always nice to see that there is also a place for us as educators.

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