Oxford dictionary App

Dictionary use has always played central role in learning languages. However, today dictionary use is not so much promulgated. Instead, more and more students are encouraged to guess unknown words in the context rather than translating words into their native language. Haynes (1982) conducted research on contextual guessing and found that students could guess less than half of unfamiliar words in the text, consequently students could understand very little from the text. Moreover, Walz states that “… guessing depends on student’s knowing enough of the other words in the sentence to create a context” (1990, p.80). Thus, it seems that dictionary use is still actual and crucial in learning languages.

Since almost every student has a smartphone and not every student has a dictionary book, so Oxford dictionary app is for help. Teachers of English language can encourage their students to download this app and use it in the classroom. This online dictionary provides:

  • more than 3000 most important words in English
  • highlights academic words
  • correct pronunciation
  • synonyms and antonyms
  • pictures related to the word

Personally I would be interested in using it. However, there is a threat that students could be distracted by overuse of this dictionary from the main focus of the lesson. Moreover, since the access to the app requires Internet connection, students can easily search in social networks. Therefore, for those who are interested in implementing, I would suggest to think of how this app could be utilized so that it may bring much benefit without distraction. For instance, teachers may ask their students to change their phones with each other so that students will utilize the phone for translation purposes. What do you think of it? What are other ways you can suggest to use innovative technologies in the classroom without much distraction from them?

Reference

Haynes, Margot. “Patterns and Perils of Guessing in Second Language Reading.” On TESOL ’83: The Question of Control. Ed. Jean Handscombe, Richard A. Orem, and Barry P. Taylor. Washington, DC: TESOL, 1984, 163-76.

Walz, J. (1990). The dictionary as a secondary source in language learning. The French Review, 64(1), 79-94.

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5 thoughts on “Oxford dictionary App

  1. Dear Botagoz,

    I find this app you have described really helpful for English learners and teachers as well. The technological progress and various innovations have made their and our lives much easier literally. I remember myself when I was studying at school I had to bring a dictionary for English lessons. Unfortunately, I did not have a pocket dictionary and nearly every day I had to carry one kilogram book in my bag… It was hard and heavy. I would have been a happier and more successful student if I have had such application and iphone as well.

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  2. Dear Botagoz,

    this is a very interesting post! I wrote about mobile learning which means using mobile devices as cell plones, tablets and smartphones in and outside the classroom. Needless to say, smartphones today can be used in educational purposes. Students may use them to find information and look up unknown words. Appstore and Playmarket provide us with various online dictionaries that can be downloaded for free.
    As for the issue of loosing control over students (if they enter social networks), I think it depends on classroom management of a teacher. Of course, it takes time and effort to learn to use smartphones as a tool for learning. however, teachers can organize online conference via skype or whatsapp, or with twitter so that engaging learners to share ideas and develop their literacy. In one word, it depends on teachers’ attitude towards using smartphone in the classroom; teachers can find many ways of using them effectively.

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  3. Thank you Kairat for your comment!

    I share with you the same past experience of carrying one kilogram everyday))) Probably that was the reason I decided to write about the advantages students have today. Since most of us teacher of English language, we shouldnot forget about using dictionariesin our classrooms. I think that dictionaries are really helpful in learning foreign languages.

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  4. Thank you Bota for your comment!

    I would agree with you on the regard that teachers can easily find ways of using smartphones for the sake of learning improvement. Everything depends on time that teacher should consume for organisiing the lesson and on time that should pass untill students get used to this practice and start to see real positive outcomes.

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