Product Spotlight: Wordflex Touch Dictionary

Fantastic interactive resource can deepen kids' engagement with and understanding of words.

July 16, 2013

Educators rave about WordFlex Touch Dictionary, and for good reason. This visually impressive, immersive, and exhaustive app, sourced by Oxford University Press references, improves on the paper dictionary experience in every way. Like any good dictionary, it's got lots of words (we challenge you to discover a word that's not there!). And it has everything else you'd expect from a dictionary app: definitions, spelling, pronunciation, word origins, synonyms, other tenses, and related words. 

But the WordFlex experience is different. Sure, kids can type in a search term to find a word like they can in other dictionary apps. But what they get isn't a static page with just a definition and an audio pronunciation. As students type, they'll start getting not just the word they're searching for, but also nearby words and related phrases. And when students tap to select their word, a "word tree" opens, and the real fun begins. The branches of the tree spread out to reveal content kids can continue to interact with, such as syntax, word origins, or illustrations. Students continue to expand, collapse, and otherwise interact with word trees as they explore language. (Check out our review for more details!)

So why do we love WordFlex? Let us count the ways!

1. It's highly interactive. Students physically interact with word trees using gestures just like the ones they use when they're playing games: tapping, dragging, scrolling, pinching, and more. They can see and feel how their actions affect the experience.

2. It's amazingly visual. The ability to see how words connect with WordFlex's intuitive, "mind-mapping" style interface gives students a perspective on language that isn't possible on paper. Visual learners, especially, will find this an intuitive way to delve deeper into language. It features a clean, smooth design that’s a pleasure to look at and interact with.

3. It's empowering and open-ended. Kids can start exploring words the traditional way -- by searching for them -- or they shuffle to pull up random word trees to explore. Regardless of how they begin, they can drive the experience as they choose which content to follow as their word tree branches out. Two students could begin looking up the same word and end up with two very different word trees.

4. It's engaging, and -- dare we say it? -- fun. WordFlex doesn't need word games or a rewards system to draw students in. Students -- especially those naturally drawn to words and language -- will find exploring WordFlex an engrossing experience.

5. It's social. After kids finish their exploration of a word, they'll have a word tree poster they can share with others via email, social media, or printing. Students sharing a dictionary activity others? For a regular dictionary, the idea seems far-fetched. With WordFlex, the visually fascinating word trees almost beg to be shared.

If you have even just one iPad available for student use, you'll want to be sure it has WordFlex Touch Dictionary. You can send students to "look it up" just like you would with a classroom dictionary, but don't be surprised if the word lovers in your class have a hard time putting it down.

Do you use WordFlex Touch Dictionary with your students? Let other teachers know how it works for you by leaving a Field Note.