Words of the Future

Words of the Future!

This year, we started our first unit on Information by creating a Dictionary of the Future! Students focused on questions like ‘Where does information come from?’, ‘How do we determine reliable sources?’ and ‘Why is it important to share new ideas?’. Through an introduction to the cloud, docs, spreadsheets and multimedia, students created blend and compound words after studying word etymology and discovering how new words get added to the dictionary.


We started by wondering where new words come from, and how they’re added to the dictionary. By exploring Google’s Ngram Viewer along with my 20+ year old dictionary and www.dictionary.com, students began to think about new words that have come into existence in their lifetime, words that have been repurposed, and what new words might exist someday in the future!

Next, using lots of different words and word segments, students played with different combinations, focusing on blends and compound words. They prototyped their words and definitions, writing and drawing their ideas.

Prototype Gallery


Next, students worked on a number of tasks related to their dictionary. First, we all entered our words and definitions into a Google Sheet, so that we could organize our information by student name or alphabetically. We worked to understand why a spreadsheet (and not a document) was the best kind of file for this part of our project, and what it means to be working simultaneously on files stored in the cloud. Students then worked in Adobe Premiere to record each of their words, since this was a feature they fell in love with when experiencing online dictionaries.

Then, it was time to start building our digital dictionary! We worked to copy and paste all of our words & definitions into our dictionary, which we created using Apple iAuthor. In addition, students crafted different widgets such as crosswords, image reveals and guess the word using Bookry.



Here is our finished Digital Dictionary of Words of the Future— we are so excited to share our work with you. By clicking on the image below, you’ll be taken to the Apple iBooks store, where you can download our book for free and view it on your iPad, iPhone or Mac. If you have a PC or Android smartphone, simply click this link to download a PDF version of the book (you won’t be able to interact with our widgets or audio bytes, but you’ll still get to see all of the great words created by our students).