Visuwords™ allows students to look up words to find their meanings and associations as related to one another, focusing on how words are related to each other using a mind map visual. Visuwords uses Princeton University’s open source word database, WordNet, as the source for its connections, associations, and definitions. Best of all, Visuwords is free to use, and available anywhere there is wifi!

Visuwords is easy to use – students simply enter words into a search box and receive a complex tree of words. Double-clicking on any node in the tree expands the tree at that point, and trees can be explored further by panning across the tree with a mouse and zooming in and out. Hovering over any of the nodes will provide a definition for students, and nodes can be moved around to help elaborate on associations.

Here’s a screenshot of word trees to help you get a better understanding of how it works:

As you can see, words are connected to one another with different colored and shaped lines. These lines have specific meanings, as can be seen in the key Visuwords provides below:

While these different association lines could take a few tries to learn, they provide an interesting way to make connections between vocabulary for students. Here are a few ways you could use this tool in your classroom:

      • Vocabulary improvement (assign students to find new words for a word they commonly use in their writing)
      • Word connections (have students explore how different words are related to one another)
      • Writing resource (have students use this as a resource while they work on writing assignments)
      • Vocabulary assessment (have students create their own trees on paper using vocabulary words and the lines Visuwords provides to relate them to each other)

The interactive word tree is both engaging and visually appealing, and kept me entertained for 20 minutes straight, as I played around with different combinations! I hope your students are just as engaged🙂

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