Review by Stephanie Trautman, Common Sense Education | Updated November 2015

Google Dictionary

Get Web content definitions, pronunciations with not-so-fancy add-on

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Grades
4-12 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: Cool tool lets you stay within your browsing tab while looking up definitions and hearing defined words spoken.

Cons: It's just a dictionary -- no frills, engagement, or interaction provided.

Bottom Line: Straightforward dictionary allows for definitions while browsing, but look elsewhere for excitement.

This Google Chrome add-on is a dictionary, plain and simple. Have students use it to easily access definitions of words they may not know or understand, or have students use it to scratch the surface of a researchable topic.  

One helpful aspect of this extension is that it can store a history of all words defined and their definitions. Students could download this as a CSV file, and they could use other Chrome or Google Drive extensions (such as FlashTabs) to make flash cards. This could help students practice words they've looked up before. Then again, some users might find this feature intrusive: Let your students know this feature exists, and let them know how to turn it off, too.

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Google Dictionary is a Chrome add-on that lets users double-click any word in Chrome’s browser to view a small pop-up bubble containing the word's definition. There's also an option for the add-on to read the word aloud to you. Users can also use the toolbar option in the upper-right corner of the browser to look up the definition of a word or phrase. This can include links to take users to other dictionary-like websites to find out more about a word.

If users opt in, the add-on will compile a history of the words users have searched so they may review them at a later time. The dictionary supports 13 languages from English to Spanish to Slovak. 

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The add-on's ease of use while you're browsing the Internet is its best feature; it's a simple tool to help users define unfamiliar words. Yet the add-on offers none of the details you'd find in most other dictionaries, such as etymologies. For serious language learners or studious writers, this add-on may not cut it: There's just not that much information here.

However, for most users and especially for ELL students, this could prove to be an incredibly useful tool. Most entries have an audio-pronunciation option, a standout feature that could be a huge boon to readers working on improving their fluency. Plus there are ways to dive deeper, if you want to; for example, you can use the add-on to open a new tab and search for further information on a word. Not all kids will take advantage of that feature, but it's nice that it's just one more simple step to find out more.

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Overall Rating
3

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
3

For a reference add-on, the dictionary is straightforward. It's nice to be able to stay in the browser when looking up words, although its simplicity may not empower users to remember the word.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
4

The dictionary covers a lot of ground; tons of definitions and links take users to sites that will help them explore definitions in greater detail, such as Princeton's Wordnet Search.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
2

The dictionary will read the word aloud and offer definitions, but there are few help features. The add-on doesn't read PDF files; keep that in mind as you browse.


Common Sense Reviewer
Stephanie Trautman Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

3
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Featured review by
Rich S. , Technology coordinator
Technology coordinator
Mylan Park Elementary School
Morgantown, WV
3
Very Helpful for Student Research

I like this extension because it gives students the ability to not only feel more comfortable researching topics online but it also allows them to build their vocabulary in the meantime. I know that it is not as flashy as some, but I have seen it be used effectively. Once used, I have seen students use it more often than not. I even find myself using it during web searches!

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