Friday, September 16, 2011

GOOGLE 'define' in class with a data projector

I was recently teaching a class with Iranian, Azerbaijani, Libyan and Russian students, and the word 'primitive' came up in a reading.  I did what I thought was a pretty good job of explaining it, and all the students were nodding their heads.

  • Then, I noticed that the Iranians whispered the translation in Persian to each other to check if they really had understood.  Several other students also sought confirmation on their electronic dictionaries in their mobile phones.  
  • If only I had been able to call up a quick definition on the screen, shown a few pictures, and perhaps had a quick list of common synonyms...all is now at your fingertips with a data projector and the GOOGLE 'define XXX' command.

How to use this on the fly in class:

  1. Go to IN ENGLISH.  You can click the GOOGLE IN ENGLISH at the bottom of the GOOGLE search page if it defaults to Turkish.
  2. Then type (or if you have a microphone and are using GOOGLE CHROME, you can speak to the computer) in the word 'define' followed by a space and the the word (or phrase) you want to define.
  3. The first entry in the search results will be a dictionary style definition, with the IPA pronunciation and a 'speaker' you can click to hear the (American) pronunciation.  (Sorry Brits...GOOGLE is based in the US, so American pronunciation is the norm.)
  4. Here is what you see with regard to PRIMITIVE:

If you click the MORE button, you will see a full page featuring the word, with any relevant synonyms, as well as some of the common phrases the word might be found in.

And, of course, a quick click on the IMAGE button on the side and you get some interesting images.  Notice here that common phrases will also appear.  These may include adult content at times, so be prepared to deal with such instances.

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