I use WordSearches (WordSleuths) in Elluminate (and also in a face-to-face context) in a whole variety of integrated activities. They are particularly useful to me as a literacy lecturer but can also be really useful in any subject that uses specialised vocabulary.
Until recently I created my WordSearches the hard way – using a table filled with random letters and just replacing the letters with the words I wanted each time. However a couple of months ago I found this great online WordSearch maker.
Occasionally I use a WordSearch in its most simple form – just a word square with a list of words to find and highlight using the higlighter tool. Used this way it is a good warm-up or whiteboard tools familiarisation activity. In conjunction with “Explore Objects” on the “Whiteboard” menu under “Tools” I find it useful to get an idea of student participation levels.
Usually when I use a WordSearch either face-to-face or in Elluminate I extend it by asking students to find the meanings of words and then to put those meanings into their own words. In Elluminate this involves asking each student or pair/group to look up one of the words online and to feedback to the rest of the group. There are several different options I use for feeding back: a) audio using the microphone; b) use breakout rooms, type on the whiteboard and then I put the whiteboards into the main room for sharing with the rest of the group; c) use the text chat area; d) create a Wordle of the word and its meaning in their own words and put the link on the whiteboard – we can then Webtour the Wordles or students can visit them individually. A good variation on the last is to create the Wordles without the word itself and then have the other students use Polling to guess which word is being defined in each Wordle.
Setting up a basic WordSearch in Elluminate is very straightforward, especially if you use a WordSearch maker for the hard bit ie making the puzzle.
I usually try to be economical in my resource development and create resources that I can easily convert to alternative formats. As a result my WordSearches are usually pasted into worksheets using my own standard Word worksheet template. This is so that I can use the WordSearches in face-to-face classes as well as easily insert them into Powerpoint (ppt) for uploading into Elluminate. If the WordSearch was created as a table then its just a case of copy and paste the table into ppt, otherwise use Text to Table conversion from the Tables menu in Word. I still use Word for printables because of ease of formatting over html. This is one for use in a literacy context (I am generating a whole set of these using a vocabulary list) – it makes a good whiteboard activity for the start of a class when peolpe are arriving and setting up audio etc.
This is how I put the activity into Elluminate.
1) Putting this activity into Elluminate is easier than putting in Drag and Drop because it is all “background” ie there is nothing that the students need to move.
2) I usually set up these activities as individual ppts because this makes it easier to just insert the activity into any presentation or Elluminate session without having to edit out other material.
3) Copy and paste the WordSearch into your ppt and add the wordlist (usually also copy and paste as saves having to align the words)
4) Duplicate the ppt slide (Insert duplicate slide)
5) At this stage you have a choice you can either complete the second slide with lines/highlighting through the answers or you can wait until you have uploaded and add the answers on the whiteboard. If you take the second option remember that you need to save the two slides in wbd format for using later.
5) Save and close ppt
6) You can then upload the ppt into Elluminate as and when required. Alternatively, if you haven’t completed your answer slide, upload into Elluminate, use the highlighter to highlight answers and save as a wbd
7) It is easy to insert pre-prepared whiteboards or short ppts at any point in an uploaded presentation – just create a new whiteboard (tool next to the upload presentation one) and then replace it with your pre-prepared material.
You are ready to go – have fun!