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As I read research I see the word “salient” repeatedly. I have looked it up more times than I care to admit. It is a great word, why do I struggle with remembering the definition? Certainly not because I am not interested in it.

What about students in our class, how many times will they ask “Can you define that again please?” Probably the 5th time a student asks for the same definition you might be tempted to have a snarky answer. “Seriously, I’ve told you 4 times already, can you write that down?” Most likely the student will not even ask, even if it is the first time they have heard the word or information.

An advantage to each child having technology is the ability to look up information when they are wondering about it. Even if that information is something they have looked up before. I believe this is behavior we should encourage. This is a great life skill, when you forget something or do not know it… look it up… now.

Currently most Americans have a smart phone. In a few short years almost everyone will. This is a major culture change. Information is literally at your fingertips.

Rather than asking students to put their devices away when we are talking, let’s teach them to use them to look up information they need to know. Sitting in ignorance is not what we want students to be doing. If there is information they need to know, we can take advantage of the fact that they now have the tools to find it.

Define:Word

Did you know you can look up the definition of words right in a Google search? No need to go to the dictionary. Simply type in define: followed by the word you want to look up. I use Google Chrome so I can type that into the omnibox, no need to even go to the Google webpage. Notice there is no space after the colon.

Samples

define:salient

define:facetious

define:superfluous

 


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