VocabularySpellingCity was created by a parent who saw a need to build something to help his own kids. While he liked helping his kids study their weekly word lists, he did think that there was probably a better way. I’m not sure why I’m writing in the third person so I’ll switch to the first person.
As I started building it, I spoke to lots of other parents and teachers. Once the site was up and running, more teachers than I could have imagined started calling and writing me. They were thrilled and furious. Thrilled by their students levels of engagement; thrilled by how much time I was saving them; and thrilled that they had finally found an edtech service that helped them with their workflow, rather than disrupting everything. As time went forward, they were thrilled by the extension into vocabulary and writing practice using their words, as well as the addition of phonics and improved student progress reports. But they were also furious because I had raised expectations of what edtech should do. And now we have a long list of to-dos to consider. At times, we’ve had as many as 100 feature requests on the list of projects to consider.
The point of this journal, or blog, is to help us communicate with you, our users, and help us maintain a sense of what is on your wish list. What do you like about the site and our mobile app? What do you want us to do next? What do you want us to redo?
I’m on your side. I’m full of ideas about what more we can do and how we can do it better. I’m expecting to continue to make improvements to ensure we reach our full potential. So keep those cards, letters, comments, emails, and tweets coming.
We have a staff of nearly a dozen full-time engineers, designers, and testers working on VocabularySpellingCity, improving the learning activities, adding more games, and enhancing the aesthetics, the reports, the work flow, and the apps.
Here’s the basics of our magic:
- A word bank of 50K thousand words, each with custom-written context-rich sentences to illustrate their use. Each sentence is spoken by a human voice. A phonics patent-pending database of sound-letter correspondence for each word.
- A million word lists to cover your every need. Import all the word lists for your reading series with a click or an entire unit on academic vocabulary, math or tech vocabulary, compound words, or combined plurals with possessives. See a list on another teacher’s page? Click click and it’s imported. Want to let students create their own lists or have lists automatically generated for each student based on their own challenges? This is automated too.
- Thirty-five different learning activities and games. There’s games for vocabulary study, fluency, spelling, phonics, and other foundational skills such as alphabetical order and parts of speech.
These are the basics that schools and families can work with on our site and apps. These can be combined through letting students study as they wish or you can provide specific assignments with each students including detailed reports on time on task and words mastered.
We do need your ongoing insight into could be done to improve the site, so next time you have a thought about what we should do, share it with us.
Thanks, John the Mayor