Brief Description of the Site:
Although there are many online dictionaries, this has to be the one youâ€™ll return to again and again, mainly because itâ€™s a great example of the power of Hypertext. Actually it is five separate dictionaries: English, Computer, Medical, and Dream Dictionaries plus a powerful Thesaurus. All are searchable, but it is actually more fun to browse. For example, in the English Dictionary, select â€œKâ€ and then select â€œKhomeini â€“ Kickapoosâ€ This will bring up a page of approximately 55 clickable entries, including expressions (Kick the bucket), personages (Khruschev) and places (Kyhber Pass). Clicking on any entry brings up several definitions and further links. The Thesaurus is a great tool for word study, as a simple search returns dozens and dozens of related words. For example, type â€œmalfeasanceâ€ into its search engine and it not only provides several dictionary definitions but also almost 100 related terms (from â€œabuse of officeâ€ to â€œderelictionâ€ to â€œpeccadilloâ€ to â€œtransgressionâ€) All of the related words are clickable, providing the opportunity for true independent study. The Computer Dictionary operates on same Hypertext principle, but if you have even the slightest interest in computers you can spend endless hours browsing and muttering â€œOh, wow!â€ For example, click on â€œBâ€ and then on â€œBernstein Condition to Bigot.â€ Youâ€™ll learn that the former is a programming problem while the latter refers to someone slavishly devoted to a particular computer or operating system (â€œIt is truly said â€˜You can tell a bigot, but you can't tell him much.â€™ Compare weenieâ€). And in between are even more fascinating terms. Who knew geeks could be such fun!
How to use the site:
Here there are endless possibilities for independent learning. Students can build vocabulary by searching in the Thesaurus for a particular word and then recording and using as many of the related words as possible, possibly explaining the nuances of meaning. The student can create a PowerPoint presentation to demonstrate what s/he has learned. An alternative is to simply let students â€œdraw forâ€ a letter of the alphabet, select it in the English Dictionary, and set about finding and presenting the most interesting entries. The idea is to increase vocabulary and build a respect for, if not love of, language. This is also good for more advanced EFL/ESL students who are ready to enlarge their vocabularies. The Dream Dictionary can provide interesting idea-starters for budding creative writers, and the Computer Dictionary will fascinate those students who arrive at 6:00 a.m. to use the computer lab.