Tech Tuesdays: Using Fluany to Practice Vocabulary

Successful integration of vocabulary into the curriculum is always a difficult area for teachers. In past weeks, I’ve reviewed Google Dictionary and Flashcards, as well as PearDeck, for vocabulary instruction. This week’s technology tool also focuses on vocabulary. Fluany, a Chrome extension, provides a way for students to practice learning different vocabulary words while browsing online. Fluany takes user-created lists of vocabulary terms and, as people are working on their Internet browser, creates a pop-up that asks them to correctly identify the term. While not forcing the idea of repetition to memorize, the extension allows for frequent exposure to vocabulary words to increase usage in the student’s life.

Once Fluany has been downloaded from the Chrome Web Store, it can be seen in the Chrome browser toolbar. Its icon is a pink octopus.


Clicking on the octopus icon will bring you to a pop-up window. Initially, there will be sample vocabulary decks already included. You can delete them to make room for your own sets. In a purple framed box, there will be an option for you to create your first list. You would type the name into the box and then select “Create List.”


Now, whenever you click on Fluany’s icon, your newly created list will appear. From there, you have several options on how to proceed. The first option is to begin adding the terms to the list. You would click on the list you just created to open the editing window.

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You can add as many terms as you would like. They can be Tier 3 or domain specific vocabulary words associated with different texts being read or other vocabulary words you want to recall easily to apply in writing. You would add the term as the question and the definition as the answer.

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Vocabulary words can also be removed at any time by hovering over the word and selecting the trash can. So, once a word is mastered, that single term can be deleted without removing an entire study set.

Once all of the vocabulary terms have been added, you are able to select how often you would like the terms to appear for practice. The time frame is customizable. It ranges from one term appearing per minute to one every hour. This setting determines how frequently the extension will ask questions about the vocabulary terms.

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In order to activate the extension to ask vocabulary questions, you need to open the extension and hover over the vocabulary set you would like to use. Then select “Play.”


Based on whatever time interval was selected, Fluany will have vocabulary question pop-ups appear on your current page to help refresh your memory of different terms. As long as you are using the Chrome browser, it does not matter what page you are using.


Fluany will provide immediate feedback on your response and tell you the correct definition if you are wrong. To stop the extension from asking questions, just click on the Fluany logo, hover over the set you are currently using, and press “Stop.”  

For students working with difficult terminology in their whole class novels, learning domain-specific vocabulary words, or just looking to enrich their writing with higher level vocabulary, Fluany would be a great tool for them to use. Since it appears on any screen currently in-use in the Chrome browser, students could receive vocabulary questions while they are on social media or streaming television shows. It embeds the practice into their daily life and is customizable to their timeframe and their needs.

New Jersey Council of Teachers of English, the New Jersey state affiliate of NCTE, the National Council of Teachers of English

Tech Tuesdays: Using Fluany to Practice Vocabulary

Tech Tuesdays: Engaging Students in Vocabulary with Pear Deck

When Pear Deck was first introduced to educators, it was an interactive way for students to participate in class lectures. It went from the students being silent observers during a slideshow to actually contributing to the lesson. Pear Deck’s latest feature continues its mission of student engagement. The Vocabulary & Flashcard Factory offers a new way for teachers to help students practice and build their vocabulary skills in the classroom. Its easy-to-use interface makes the program easy for teachers of any grade level to integrate into the classroom.

The first step toward using the Vocabulary & Flashcard Factory is creating a teacher Pear Deck account. Once logged in, the dashboard will immediately prompt the user to choose between creating a Pear Deck presentation or a vocabulary set. Choose “Start a Vocab List.”


Users will be transported to a new page, which allows a list of vocabulary terms and definitions to be created. One of the nice built-in features from Pear Deck is the integration of the Google Dictionary. When a user types a term on a flashcard, they can select the “Find Definitions” button. Google Dictionary will automatically populate options for definitions for the word. In most cases, the word will have one definition that can be inserted, but some vocabulary terms will have multiple options that a user can choose.


As users begin to make their list, Pear Deck begins to generate related terms. These words are usually similar in topic to the words that are already included on the vocabulary list. For example, adding a Tier 3 vocabulary word, such as “thermodynamics”, to the list caused the program to brainstorm other words that fall under the same scientific topic. Users can select these related terms to help build their vocabulary list for students.

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Transferring Lists from Other Places

Users are not limited to simply typing in all their vocabulary words, though. Pear Deck offers another option to avoid retyping lists over and over again. Lists can be copy and pasted from other websites and documents. For example, Quizlet was previously a popular tool for students practicing their vocabulary and terms independently. If a teacher already has a list of vocabulary created on Quizlet, they can easily transfer it over to use in Pear Deck.

Users should open a Quizlet set. Then they need to find the three horizontal dots button located underneath the title of the set. They should select “Export” and a pop-up window will appear on the website. It provides a text-only version of the flashcards from the set. Users should select “Copy Text” to have all of those terms and definitions immediately copied.

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Once copied, users should return to their Pear Deck vocabulary list. They simply need to click on the new flashcard as if they are creating one card. The cursor should be in the “Term” text area. Then, to import all of the terms and definitions, users should hit Ctrl + V on their keyboard. All of the terms will immediately become their own flashcard with the corresponding definitions below it.

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A similar process can be repeated with vocabulary lists in Google Docs or Word documents. Users just need to make sure the term is written first and the definition is beside it, with one Tab in between the two.

Once the list is completed, users should scroll back to the top of the list and select “Play Flashcard Factory” in the top right corner of the website. Users will need to make sure they are connected to a projector in their classroom or that the students can see the screen in some way. Pear Deck will generate a code for students to use to enter the game. Students will access the game via They will have to select their school email account to provide the game with their name and will then be prompted to insert the unique game code.


While students are waiting for all of their classmates to sign in, they can review the directions of the assignment. “Clock in!” should be selected by the teacher once all students have joined the game. The game will automatically set up partners and split the class into two teams: Day Shift and Night Shift. The partner aspect adds teamwork and collaboration to the experience while the two teams ignite friendly competition and increase motivation. When ready, the teacher will select “Let’s Play.”

On the student end, they will receive their terms with their partner. One partner will be responsible for drawing an image to reflect the term and the other will write a sentence for the term. These responsibilities shift between terms, so partners get an equal chance to both draw and write. A variety of colors are available to make the images more impactful. In the collaborative spirit, the partners can review each other’s work and provide feedback prior to submitting it to the teacher.


The completed cards move across the conveyor belt on the screen. All the teams can see these cards as long as the teacher has connected their laptop to their board. Students continue the process until all of the terms on the vocabulary list have been completed.

Then the teacher moves to the next phase, “Quality Control.” This step can be completed with the class or by the teacher independently. All of the flashcards will be reviewed and either given a seal of approval or a stamp of rejection. Approval means the sentence and image accurately reflect the vocabulary term and definition, while rejection means they did not. To add a game element to the activity, Pear Deck keeps track of how many approvals each team gets. If a card is approved, a point is awarded to the team that created it.


While it is recommended that the teacher has the final say in which terms get approved, it can be interactive to allow the class to contribute to this discussion. The members of the class can discuss whether the sentence and image appropriately represent the term and would be beneficial in helping the students actually understand the term.

Once the approval and denial process is complete, the final phase is “Shipping.” Teachers have the option to export their list to Quizlet so students can continue to use the cards they made. Clicking “Export to Quizlet” will bring up a directions screen for the teacher. The set of flashcards must be named and a password-protection option for the set is optional, so only students in the class with the password can access the resource. Once the directions are completed, the teacher received the URL for the flashcards and has the option to immediately share the link with students in Google Classroom. If teachers do not use Google Classroom, they can simply share the link to the Quizlet with their students. Each of the Quizlet terms includes the vocabulary word, the teacher-added definition from the Pear Deck list, and the approved example and image from the students.

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Pear Deck’s Vocabulary & Flashcard Factory is an engaging, collaborative activity for all grade levels that can both inspire students to practice and apply their knowledge of vocabulary terms and give them a self-created resource to use to practice.

New Jersey Council of Teachers of English, the New Jersey state affiliate of NCTE, the National Council of Teachers of English

Tech Tuesdays: Engaging Students in Vocabulary with Pear Deck

Tech Tuesdays: Google Dictionary and Google Flashcards

Teaching vocabulary is always a popular discussion topic for English teachers. What is the correct way to instruct students in vocabulary? Some teachers still provide lists before students tackle a reading assignment. Some have followed the trend of students choosing their own vocabulary based on words they encounter in real life. Regardless of your personal strategy for teaching vocabulary, the extensions Google Dictionary and Flashcards for Google Dictionary are a helpful way to bring technology into the process.

The Google Dictionary extension, created by Google, allows users to define any word included in a Chrome browser. Once added from the Chrome Web Store, all someone has to do is double-click on a word and the definition will appear in a bubble on the screen.

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The bubble not only provides a dictionary definition for the word, but also includes a pronunciation guide. For those who might need to hear the pronunciation of the word, clicking on the volume icon next to the word in the bubble allows the computer to read it aloud. The “More” option transports users to a Google search of the word. For some Tier 3 vocabulary words, the definition may not register with the extension. Using the “More” option would allow a Google search to appear in a new tab for the user.

The extension has a few customizable features for users. In order to edit these options, users should right-click on the Google Dictionary icon at the top of their browser. Selecting “options” will bring users to the list of customizable features.


In the options page, users can select their native language. This feature is useful for English Language Learners. Rather than simply provide the definition of the unknown word, Google Dictionary will translate the word into the user’s chosen language, which could be extremely helpful for their comprehension. Users can also customize how their definitions appear, based on either double-clicking or hitting a particular keystroke. The feature takes into consideration user preference when providing the definition bubbles. The last feature of the options page is to track and save all defined words. If users want to check the words they have defined in the past or download this list, enabling this feature would allow them to do so.

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Flashcards for Google Dictionary works with the Google Dictionary extension. When both extensions are added from the Chrome Web Store, the user would complete the same process that they would if they were only using the Dictionary extension; they would click on an unknown word. However, instead of just receiving the definition and “More” option, a small box with the word “Save” would appear. If users select the “Save” button, the Flashcard extension would automatically create a flashcard with the term and definition. Creating and saving flashcards requires users to create an account. Students and teachers can simply use their school-associated email address.

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Once the flashcard is saved, it gets stored within the Flashcards extension. In order to access all of the saved flashcards, users should find their extensions on the top right corner of their browser. Clicking on the flashcards logo will bring up all of the saved cards. Users can view the term and click on the volume button to hear the word read aloud. Then, selecting “Flip” will cause the flashcard to turn over and the definition to appear. In addition to the definition of the word, the extension will also extract the sentence with the word in context. The sentence usually comes from the website where the word itself was found and saved. Users can then determine whether or not they “Remember” the word or “Forget” the word. Remembering the word banks it as a mastered term. Forgetting a word will put it back into the pile for further review.

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The benefit of creating an account when adding Flashcards for Google Dictionary is that users can sign into the extension on any device, so vocabulary lists can be transported wherever you go.

For teachers using personalized vocabulary lists where students find words from their reading, the pairing of these two extensions are perfect to integrate into the classroom. Students can effortlessly create flashcards to help build their vocabulary and practice them throughout the year. In addition, the fact that the word list can be saved through both Google Dictionary and Flashcards for Google Dictionary, it makes it easier for students to recall and use these words in future assignments. Using Google Dictionary in isolation could still be beneficial for students, as it could provide immediate definitions for words, which can assist in building comprehension about a text. Both extensions are simple for students and teachers to utilize, but can make a big impact in terms of vocabulary acquisition in the classroom.

New Jersey Council of Teachers of English, the New Jersey state affiliate of NCTE, the National Council of Teachers of English

Tech Tuesdays: Google Dictionary and Google Flashcards