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How-To Create an Interactive Word Wall

How-To Create an Interactive Word Wall

Interactive word walls can transform spaces in your classroom. They provide a way for students to engage with content in an authentic matter and promote a sense of curiosity among your students. As a classroom teacher I used #ScannableTech in many different ways and wrote a book sharing ideas, tips and tricks for using this technology in the classroom. What I love about QR Codes and Augmented Reality are the ways you can use this technology to change an everyday practice in your classroom with a simple scan.

A word wall is a staple in most classrooms. From primary grades to high school your vocabulary words for a unit of study are prominently displayed for students to reference. The great thing about a word wall is that students see what words they should use in their discussions and responses about a topic to help them stay accountable for using domain-specific vocabulary.

But what if we could transform this word wall experience?

A word wall doesn’t have to be a list of vocabulary affixed to a corner of your classroom. It can be an interactive tool for learning with just a few tweeks. This is where our #ScannableTech comes into play. With QR codes and augmented reality teachers can connect students to content hosted online.

QR codes are totally free to make and use. Take a look at your own word wall. If it’s full of vocabulary words related to an ecosystems unit (think: food chain, energy pyramid, etc.) you can connect one of your words to an online resource to make your word wall interactive. First, choose your word—let’s pick endangered species. Then, find content online that will help students understand or learn more about this vocabulary word—let’s use this clip from National Geographic. Once you have your online content you can copy and paste the link into a QR code generator like QRStuff.com. After creating your QR code you can print it out and tape it to your word wall so anyone who scans can watch this video clip.

If you want an augmented reality experience so your online content pops off of the page, there are a few options to check out. Aurasma makes it super easy to get started and create AR experiences with your mobile device. For more complex animation and layering on multiple types of content you can check out Blippar which has a fantastic dashboard for creation.

Building behaviors for scanning

Students need to know what happens when they scan content on an interactive word wall. Make sure they have time to practice scanning QR codes or augmented reality triggers. They should also know when it’s okay to get up and scan an interactive word wall. The best part of this process is that you are encouraging students to think beyond the page and stay curious about the content you’re teaching.

Get your students involved!

The task of finding and/or creating online content for an interactive word wall might feel daunting. You can have students create word wall content by asking them to curate and create material. Students can take on the challenge of making a tutorial to explain a math vocabulary word or find a video that demonstrates a science concept.

Learn more about scannable technology with Monica’s book Deeper Learning With QR Codes and Augmented Reality: A Scannable Solution for Your Classroom now available in paperback and ebook format.

Have you created an interactive word wall? Share your ideas in the comments section!

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Written by

Monica Burns is an EdTech & Curriculum Consultant, Apple Distinguished Educator and Founder of ClassTechTips.com. In her role as a classroom teacher in general education and integrated co-teaching settings, she used iPads one to one with her students while aligning her instruction to the Common Core State Standards. Monica has presented to teachers, administrators and tech enthusiasts at numerous national and international conferences. She is a webinar host for SimpleK12 and a regular contributor to Edutopia, Teachability and Channel One News.

Monica visits school across the country to work with PreK-12 teachers to make technology integration exciting and accessible. She also provides support to organizations using technology to reach children and families in need. Monica is a graduate of the University of Delaware and Hunter College, and is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Global Education Leadership at Lamar University.

Monica is the author of Deeper Learning With QR Codes and Augmented Reality and the upcoming #FormativeTech: Meaningful, Sustainable, and Scalable Formative Assessment With Technology, publishing March 2017.

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