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7 Ways to Use AI to Teach Vocabulary

How do you use Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools in your instructional planning? This has been a big topic on the blog and podcast this year, and today, we’ll look at just one aspect of how to leverage this type of technology. You might be surprised at all the ways you can use AI to teach vocabulary.

Over the past year, I’ve had the opportunity to work with educators all over the country. We’ve looked at the impact of AI on creativity at sessions I’ve led in Boston and Washington, D.C. And we’ve talked about ways for educators to save time in their school week at workshops in Oregon and Missouri. With plenty of stops on my calendar, the topic of AI in education is certainly a big one!

Today’s blog post covers a few ways to use the power of AI to teach vocabulary in any subject area. You are in the driver’s seat with how to best leverage this technology to meet your needs and the needs of your students. So, as you review the list of ideas below, you’ll need to have a vocabulary list in mind and an idea of what will resonate best with your group.

Let’s dive into this list of seven ways to use AI to teach vocabulary!

7 Ways to Use AI to Teach Vocabulary

Infographic titled "7 Ways to Use AI to Teach Vocabulary" featuring a list with items: Creating Images, Writing Riddles, Creating Songs, Writing Stories, Memory Games, Fill in the Blank Exercises, and Review Games, with at the bottom.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has emerged as a powerful tool to enhance teaching and learning. Whether you’ve used some of the prompts from my free guide, “60+ Must-Try ChatGPT Prompts for Teachers,” or a few of the tips from my free ebook “10 Ways School Leaders Can Use AI Tomorrow,” you know there are plenty of options.

With the help of image generation tools like Adobe Firefly and chatbot platforms like ChatGPT or Gemini, you can create supplemental resources to help students master new vocabulary. This list includes seven creative ways to harness AI in teaching vocabulary!

Creating Images

Visual aids can support vocabulary teaching, and Adobe Firefly is a great option for taking this to the next level. This AI-driven tool can generate images representing new vocabulary words, making abstract concepts tangible. For instance, if students are learning words related to emotions, Adobe Firefly can create images that embody these emotions, providing a visual context that enhances understanding and retention.

Writing Riddles

The next few items on the list require the use of a chatbot, and ChatGPT or Gemini are two good options. Riddles are a fantastic way to engage students in critical thinking while expanding their vocabulary. Try using ChatGPT to craft riddles that incorporate new vocabulary words. You might use a prompt like, “Write a riddle that introduces these three vocabulary words [add the words] to a group of [grade] students.”

Creating Songs

By using AI, educators can also create catchy songs that incorporate vocabulary words. This strategy just might make it easier for students to remember and recall the new words on the list. The rhythm and melody help anchor the words in students’ memories. And the fun of singing along ensures a positive learning experience. Try a prompt like, “Write a song to the tune of [add title] that introduces the vocabulary words [add words] to my [grade] students.”

Writing Stories

Storytelling is another powerful way to immerse students in new vocabulary. Do you want to use AI to teach vocabulary? You might ask a chatbot like ChatGPT to create a narrative that brings new vocabulary to life. AI tools can generate short stories that include target vocabulary words. You can provide context that helps students grasp the meanings and nuances of new words. These stories can be tailored to the interests and age level of the students. This can make the learning experience highly engaging and personalized.

You might remember this strategy from my conversation with educator and Edutopia blogger Sarah Wysocki. In an episode titled “Leveraging ChatGPT for Customized Learning with Sarah Wysocki – Easy EdTech Podcast 248,” Sarah shares how she uses ChatGPT to generate ideas, help create accessible lessons, and tailor resources for a personalized learning experience.

Memory Games

Memory games are excellent for reinforcing vocabulary in an interactive manner. AI can be used to create digital memory games where students match words with definitions, synonyms, antonyms, or images. To create the perfect image, you might use an AI-powered image-generation tool like Adobe Firefly. Or you might ask a chatbot like ChatGPT or Gemini to give you ideas on how to structure this type of activity.

Fill in the Blank Exercises

Do you remember MadLibs? I loved this type of activity and remember it being a part of long car rides as a child. This type of activity can be a fun option for vocabulary practice. AI tools like ChatGPT can generate sentences with missing words. Then students can fill in the blanks with the appropriate vocabulary words. This can be a quick and easy way to assess learning progress and reinforce word meanings.

Ask a chatbot to “Create a MadLibs-style fill-in-the-blank activity to introduce this list of vocabulary words [add word list] to students in [grade].”

Review Games

Last but not least on our list of seven ways to use AI to teach vocabulary are review games. This is a catch-all category because it can go in so many directions. You might use a quizzing tool that leverages AI like Quizizz or Quizlet to help create a vocabulary review game. Or you might take another spin and ask a chatbot for help.

For example, you might use the prompt, “My [grade] students are learning about [topic], and I want them to review these vocabulary words [add word list]. Give me a list of games I can introduce to them to help out with this goal.”

Use AI to Teach Vocabulary This School Year

How will you use AI this school year? If you’ve explored some of my AI resources, then you know there are so many strategies to try. A perfect place to start is with vocabulary words. Use the strategies in today’s blog post to make vocabulary instruction more engaging, personalized, and effective.

From creating visual aids with Adobe Firefly or another favorite image generation tool, to utilizing chatbots for interactive exercises, these tools can significantly enhance the educational experience. Not only are these strategies plentiful, but they can save you time differentiating instruction and creating supplemental resources this school year!

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Blog Author and EdTech Consultant Dr. Monica Burns

Monica Burns

Dr. Monica Burns is a former classroom teacher, Author, Speaker, and Curriculum & EdTech Consultant. Visit her site for more ideas on how to become a tech-savvy teacher.

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