« A Math Challenge on a Timely Topic ($) | Main | Students See Value in History-Writing Venue »

A New Kind of Online Dictionary?

I recently came across an intriguing item about a new resource called "Wordnik," an online dictionary that is supposed to provide users with a wealth of information they would not be able to get by looking up a word in print.

Created by a Chicago lexicographer (someone who writes or compiles a dictionary), Wordnik is designed to provide a wealth of resources on the meaning and even the pronunciation of words. As I understand it from reading the story in the Christian Science Monitor, Wordnik would allow a user to click on a term and receive an audio replay of how it is pronounced, as well as its definition and how it is used in context. The database so far includes 4 billion words. A user can see examples of words used in the same context as the ones they've looked up. Other features include a "frequency graph," a resource that allows viewers to see how often a word has been used in print in a year.

Unfortunately, the link to Wordnik has been down when I've tried it. The creators are redirecting people to a blog for now.

To what extent might a tool like Wordnik help K-12 teachers? Would language arts teachers and other educators approach it cautiously? And what would it take for them to embrace Wordnik as a credible, authoritative resource?

Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.


Most Viewed on Education Week



Recent Comments