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InferCabulary offers a different twist on word study that is tailor-made for visual learners. Each word is associated with five captioned pictures that capture the nuances of the word’s meaning.
- 100 words chosen from middle school literature
- 3 modes of play
- Vocabulary associated with pictures
- Narrated captions on pictures’
- Accesses higher order thinking skills
InferCabulary is a well-designed alternative method of practicing vocabulary words. Each of the three sections is easy to use and intuitive, offering multiple chances to associate middle school vocabulary words with five different pictures. Narrations, example sentences, definitions and notes about usage and connotations are all provided. The instructions are clear, and there are activity-specific instructions accessible from all parts of the app.
InferCabulary provides a different and engaging way to practice middle school vocabulary words. The app has a “teaching” mode, where words are introduced with five pictures that are related to the word in some way. Students can hear the word, see the definition, and access notes about its usage. The words are presented in alphabetical order, but there is a complete alphabetized list accessible by swiping the screen to the right, and users can choose the words on which they’d like to focus.
Two types of games are available to make practicing fun, each with four formats. The Definition games present two of the five pictures for the given word and a set of five definitions. Players must choose the definition related to both pictures. An incorrect choice eliminates the incorrect definition and adds another picture until all five pictures are showing with the remaining correct definition. The Word games present all five related pictures and four options of words that may match them. Both types of games have four formats: the novice level that allows all the time needed to respond and awards points for answering with the fewest number of clues, the speed format that allows 90 seconds to respond to as many items as possible, the sudden death format that ends the game after one error, and the 3 lives format that allows three misses before ending the game.
This app is unique in its visual presentation of the vocabulary. By showing the five pictures, users are forced to use some higher order thinking skills to generalize the concept and go beyond simply memorizing a definition. Some of the pictures are very abstract, though, and some students may have difficulty seeing the connections to the word. While it is very good for visual learners, students with a more auditory bent may be completely lost. Furthermore, it is possible, especially in the game modes, to choose the correct word without actually paying attention to how it is pronounced, and without actually learning the word. Developers may want to consider voicing the word or definition automatically after correct selections so that students would have more trouble ignoring the intended learning. It might also be possible to create mistaken associations using this app. Many of the pictures are very, very similar (such as tree roots for “gnarled” and “sprawling”) but associated with different words. This could make it very hard for some learners to distinguish words that wouldn’t otherwise be confused.
The games provided with this app would be entertaining to most middle school and high school students, but might become boring after a while. Adding elements such as the countdown timer, sudden death or three lives adds some entertainment value and also opens the door for some competition with self or others. Students who like puzzles will enjoy the connection aspect of finding the common thread between the pictures, as well.
This app is a good value for homeschoolers or teachers working with middle grades students who need to improve their vocabulary skills, but might be a bit expensive for a parent to purchase just for fun. The developers did a nice job of choosing words from middle school literature and presenting them in a unique manner, though, and having a list of 100 ready-to-use vocabulary words would be invaluable to anyone teaching students at this level.
This app has no outside advertisements, links to social media or the internet, in-app purchases, or links to email. The directions are age-appropriate and easy to access.
InferCabulary offers an interesting alternative to traditional flashcard practice for learning middle school vocabulary.