Teacher Review for uVocab - Vocabulary Trainer

Questionable/debatable synonyms make this vocab drill app potentially harmful

Kellie A.
Technology coordinator
Cherry Creek School District, Greenwood Village, CO
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My Rating
Learning Scores
Setup Time Less than 5 minutes
Great for Homework
Knowledge gain
How I Use It
As a tool to prepare for the SAT, this looks like a tool designed to help build vocabulary knowledge. As the review mentions, it has an existing database of words that a user can test him/herself on and get immediate feedback. For language learners, it also has a speak aloud option so that you can hear the word. It's not an exciting interface, and while you can build your own flashcard set or mark words as favorites, it's very limited in what it can do. The more detrimental part of the app is the match activity (which you can do by either synonym or antonym). The synonyms given are often questionable as a "match"or just wrong - sometimes not even matching the correct part of speech. For example, it listed "damned" as the synonym for "ruddy," and "halting" as "hackamore." I found that at least 3 of the words in each set of 7 had a imprecise match. When completing the activity, it correctly gives definitions for the first set of words (not the matching terms), but it isn't clear how they got the "matching" words, given that they are either often quesitonable or (at worst) inaccurate.
My Take
When using a vocabulary drill app, there are much better options out there than UVocab. The user inferface, unimpressive but intuitive, does provide a way to test oneself on their existing database of words. However, I would expect that a vocabulary app would have an accurate list of terms and definitions for synonyms and antonyms. The flawed terms provided in the matching activity could actually harm someone trying to learn new words as they can be very misleading. If one only used the definitions and flashcard activities, it would be a passable app. However, if I wanted students to use a vocabulary-building app, I would not choose this one.