Technology Driven Word Wall Woes
Don’t you just love alliteration? 🙂
I know that it’s educationally sound, and anecdotally it’s made sense in my classroom before, but I’m having a bit of trouble figuring out how best to implement a word wall using technology.
I had originally thought to create a traditional word wall. One that would literally take up space on a portion of my wall, and fill it with high frequency words that students often ask to spell (they don’t necessarily have to be technology related words either). The more I thought about it though, the more I realized that with 35 classrooms coming through my lab each week, it would take a lot of work on my part to put up the amount of words generated from the minds of 850 students. That’s where the technology comes in. I thought about allowing the students themselves to create the words, and then post them on the wall so that I’m not responsible for getting dozens of words each day printed up (or written up) and then posted on the wall.
Which leads me to another thought; do I have students print out a single word on a sheet of paper (highly wasteful) to put on the word wall, or should I have a dedicated machine somewhere in the room where students could enter words on an already open word document, and then print them off once the sheet is full? Having the students do it on their machine means less time is lost in transition from computer to computer, and less paper is conserved. However, having them use a single machine to all share words they need help spelling would encourage collaboration and conserve paper. Once the sheet is full I could format it so as to be large enough for the words to be seen from a distance, then print off the sheet, cut apart the words, and have the kids put them on the wall.
The more I thought about those two choices, the more I started questioning whether the word wall even needed to be a physical space on my classroom wall. Why couldn’t I simply create a web page with a list of high frequency words that the students themselves could either directly post to, or have me post words? It would be easier to maintain the list as it grew (something that would be difficult to do with limited space on the actual wall), but some students might be missing that essential physical piece; a sign in the room, a piece of paper they could touch. I really want to find a technically savvy way of creating this word wall, but I don’t want to just be using technology for technology’s sake. I know that the word wall makes sense, but I’m struggling to find the best way for it to make sense using the computers.