NEW YORK, N.Y. (December 2, 2010) -- The World Technology Network (WTN) has named the Visual Thesaurus the winner of the 2010 World Technology Award for education. The honor, bestowed by the WTN at its World Technology Summit (November 30-December 1, 2010) in New York City, recognizes the innovative contributions that the Visual Thesaurus and its parent company Thinkmap, Inc. have made in the educational field.
"It is a tremendous honor to receive this award," said Marc Tinkler, chief technology officer for Thinkmap, who accepted the accolade on behalf of the Visual Thesaurus at the WTN awards gala on December 1. "Since introducing the Visual Thesaurus into the education marketplace in 2004, we have strived to make it the best possible classroom tool for promoting literacy, expanding vocabulary, and above all, making learning fun."
At its core, the Visual Thesaurus is an interactive dictionary and thesaurus, powered by Thinkmap visualization technology that has been lauded for its beauty and design. In recent years, the Visual Thesaurus has consistently made innovative strides in education technology, developing such resources as VocabGrabber, which intelligently extracts vocabulary from any text, and the Visual Thesaurus Spelling Bee, an addictive game that uses sophisticated data analysis to adapt to a player's skill level. Thinkmap is continuing to develop new vocabulary-building features both for the Visual Thesaurus and its sister site, Vocabulary.com.
Past winners of the World Technology Award in the education category include Richard Baraniuk of Connexions / Rice University, Jim Slotta of the University of Toronto, Cristian Cox of Chile's Ministry of Education, and Robert Tinker of the Concord Consortium. Past winners in other categories have included Tim Berners-Lee (creator of the World Wide Web), Linus Torvalds (creator of Linux), Larry Page and Sergey Brin (founders of Google), Mark Zuckerberg (founder of Facebook), and former Vice President Al Gore.
Recent praise for the Visual Thesaurus:
"I never thought I'd say this about any teaching tool, but I feel that the Visual Thesaurus is as perfect as a resource can be. ... As a teacher of academic writing, I constantly struggle to give students more effective tools and guidance regarding vocabulary and proper word choice. I feel that Visual Thesaurus is just such a tool. ... Any school that is able to, should, I think, get an institutional subscription."
Jennie Roloff, TEFL.net product review (Nov. 2010)
"I have been an aficionado for at least 5-6 years. I use this tool every day and have given it as a gift to many of my friends. ... If you teach - at the college, university, high school, or elementary school (as well as individual coaching you may do with other writers), encourage your students to use this tool, too."
Meggin McIntosh, President of Emphasis on Excellence, "The Ph.D. of Productivity" (Aug. 2010)
"It's incredible... I have seen students who are just not interested in words given an opportunity to work with the Visual Thesaurus, and it has been exciting, expansive. They start to make discoveries."
Heidi Hayes Jacobs, executive director of the Curriculum Mapping Institute and author of Active Literacy Across the Curriculum (May 2010)
"Perhaps the best-produced language usage site for the general reader on the web."
Tom Sumner, editor at William, James, & Company, Publisher's Round-up (Mar. 2010)
"Far and away my favorite word source. Subscribe if you haven't already; it's well worth it. I use it regularly, both at home and at work."
Diane S. Thieke, marketing director at Dow Jones, Words and Context blog (Mar. 2010)
"I can see kids being really attracted to the interactivity of the Visual Thesaurus... The Visual Thesaurus is a 21st-century teaching tool. A few clicks of the mouse renders a surplus of information and that translates into an efficient use of time on task, as well as student compatibility.
Timothy Gangwer, director and co-founder of the Visual Teaching Alliance and author of Visual Impact, Visual Teaching (Dec. 2009)
"Everyone who sees it gets excited... It works for many different kinds of learners. It really resonates with me because I'm a visual learner and a kinetic learner."
Matt Goldman, founding member of Blue Man Group and co-founder of The Blue School, an innovative pre-K and elementary school (Nov. 2009)
"Collateral learning is really important because it moves words into consciousness. That's what I love about the Visual Thesaurus, because I'm looking at the whole array of words... If I'm a kid, maybe I've never heard of them but the next time I meet them, maybe they'll look a little bit familiar to me. It's that kind of collateral learning that I think is so worthwhile."
Amy Benjamin, literacy consultant and co-author of Vocabulary at the Center (July 2009)
"For quite a few years now, I have been a heavy user of the Visual Thesaurus, populating many of my articles with cluster diagrams created thanks to this marvelous site. The ability to produce clouds of related words that extend and deepen my understanding has radically enriched my thinking and writing."
Jamie McKenzie, education technology consultant and editor of "From Now On: The Educational Technology Journal" (May 2009)