December, 2009 Volume 10, Issue 3


The Eyes Have It!

"Ninety percent of all the information that comes to the brain is visual, plus the brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than text. If you consider the implication of that, and then ask yourself how much of our educational system relies solely on text, then you will begin to understand why this whole "stand and deliver" approach to teaching just isn't working any longer. Sixty-five percent of our students are visual learners. Are our teachers visual teachers?" (Timothy Gangwer, Visual Impact, Visual Teaching, January 2009)

Read the whole interview with Timonty at

Have your students take one or more of dozens of short learning-preference surveys online, and I'll bet you a Christmas ornament that most will score high on visual. In fact, the same is true of most teachers, whether we teach that way, or not. (Research says that we teach as we were taught, not as how we learn.)

In addition to the visual vocabulary sites listed below and all of the gaming and other visual links from earlier Tech Beat publications, there is always Google!

Encourage students to open Google Images, linked from the menu at the top of the home window. In the box provided, have them enter enter a word, and then they click on Search Images. Hundreds of images appear to match the word. Click the image you want, and it will appear as a thumbnail. Click on it again, and it will appear in full size along with the site containing it. Assuming you will not republish the images online or otherwise use the image for commercial purposes, you may copy (right-click for option) and paste the image into documents to illustrate points. I've had students create great picture dictionaries and labels for items as they learn them. Yes, they are copyrighted, but you are using the images strictly to help students understand a point. Students should know to never publish a Google image or distribute it, except among other students and teachers, unless they  have permission to do so.

Visual Vocabulary Resources Online

For ABE/GED (and some ESL) Students

  • - The Visual Dictionary allows students to learn through images. It is thematic, clear, concise, rigorous, and multilingual. Different from an encyclopedia or from traditional online dictionaries, thesauri and glossaries because the images replace the words.

  • Mirriam Webster Visual Dictionary Online. Look along the left column for themes. Then within each theme, select the topic you want. Images have sound clips associated with them.

  • - This is a truly creative and collaborative project. Words are listed in real life, through signs, posters, and other announcements. Students are invited to contribute to the dictionary. Think of what they could learn and contribute to others with a digital camera! You could assign them to go out and take shots of words in certain categories or just shots of words they or their peers are learning. Fascinating!
  • - This is a blog that is working on illustrating all of the words used in Barron's GRE book, in alphabetical order. Why not have your GED students start a similar blog with words they are learning?

  • - Here's another GRE blog with images. Just the list can be helpful. 

  • - Here's another example of outstanding creativity. Shahi is a visual dictionary that combines Wiktionary content with Flickr images, and more! The student writes the word in the box, and the references start coming in with Wiktionary images!

  • - You'll just have to try this resource to see how it works! Look up words in the Visuwords online graphical dictionary and thesaurus to find their meanings and associations with other words and concepts. Type the word you want and watch it unfold.

  • - You are going to love this. It's a visual math dictionary. The student click on a word in the left-hand column, and the definition appears with an image!

For ESL Students

Lunch and Learn

Our first January Lunch and Learn session will be held on Wednesday, January 6, Noon - MS Power Point Projects. We will complete two projects:

  • Create flash cards
  • Create a photo album

Register to attend the session at Virtual seating is limited to nine people. You will be sent instructions on joining the session through your email after you sign up.

Feel free to have students attend the session if you have a lab where you can project the session thorough LCD or any other computer projector. Sign up for one seat, and let others attend at your site. You will need speaker to allow everyone to hear the instructions being given.

All materials and links used during Lunch and Learn session are posted on your state wiki:

Resources are linked with the most recent at the bottom. Feel free to contact your Resource Center if you need help with any of the computer skills listed.

Think Again

Sit by before your warm fireplace and reflect on a few challenges.

1.  Make 100 using just four 9's.

2.  Find five odd figures that add up to 16.

3.  Take six pencils or matches or toothpicks. Arrange them so that they form four equal triangles. To check your solution, roll your mouse over the pencils.


Fact to ponder: 18= 9 + 9, and 81 = 9 x 9


Go tell it on a mountain,
Over your phone, and everywhere!
Go tell it on your website -
Technology is here!

May you laugh a lot, eat a lot, play a lot and rest a lot during this holiday season.

For every contribution you make to Tech Beat, you'll receive a thumb drive! Just send me you snail-mail address with the contribution.