Visual Thesaurus Honored with World Technology Award

We are pleased to announce that 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 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."

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 work on new vocabulary-building features, so stay tuned for further developments.

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. Distinguished company indeed!

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Comments from our users:

Friday December 3rd 2010, 12:41 AM
Comment by: Sophia K. (Fontana, CA)
Best thing that happened to vocabulary since Roget. Every day is a new insight into a word. Think map is so great.
Friday December 3rd 2010, 1:45 AM
Comment by: Basil A.
Go guys. You do a great job
Friday December 3rd 2010, 7:42 AM
Comment by: nannywoo (Wilmington, NC)
I feel smart to see a web site I have come to see as my own (since I "discovered" it while exploring words on the web) receive accolades it richly deserves. In the year I have been here, I have used VT as the "textbook" in a college English class, had coffee with the lead article and the spelling bee every morning, found a more-than-worthy Scrabble opponent from among spelling bee top tenners, and have recommended it to numerous friends, including--just yesterday--my husband's doctor, who is looking for ways to help her daughter understand why she needs synonyms when one word will do. Links in the articles lead me into areas of thinking I'd never encounter elsewhere. This mind-expanding site is my springboard, my trampoline, my rocket-launcher! Thank you very much.
Friday December 3rd 2010, 8:32 AM
Comment by: Doug H. (Grand Rapids, MI)
Congratulations on the award. I came to Visual Thesaurus through looking for ways to improve my vocabulary and found the thesaurus to be a great resource for myself and for my son at school.
Revel in the award and continue to bring the zest (thx VT) to your site
Friday December 3rd 2010, 8:39 AM
Comment by: nannywoo (Wilmington, NC)
One glitch that everyone notices at a certain point in the spelling bee is what I've dubbed the taintaword. Sometimes in the middle of a run of correctly spelled words, the competitive speller is frustrated to see a blank where the definition should be, and no word is heard being dictated. Some people call it a freeze. The first reaction is to report the problem, and the technology helpers (God bless them) direct the frustrated player to web sites where they can update computer software (which is invariably an older version). The problem with this is that the issue isn't a matter of technology. There's a disconnect between the vocabulary list of the Spelling Bee and the vocabulary list of the Think Map Visual Thesaurus itself. The same words trip us up every time, over and over: ceraceous, expugnable, allegeable, sunshiny, roadworthy, doughty. There may be fifty of them, all told. If you type them into the think map, they are like McCavity the Mystery Cat--McCavity's not there! Tell the Spelling Bee that! We learn to work around them. In fact, several times I have typed in one of the usual suspects and guessed correctly! This is a small irritation in an otherwise fabulous game. The article is correct that the Spelling Bee is addictive, and the taintawords keep us humble.

[The glitch has now been fixed! —Ed.]
Friday December 3rd 2010, 9:09 AM
Comment by: George H.
It would be interesting to see you come up with a cross reference between words and their counterpart when used on twitter or phone texting where everyone cuts things short. I've said that in another few decades all writing will shrink to words of 3/4 letters or less.
Friday December 3rd 2010, 11:34 AM
Comment by: Marc Tinkler (New York, NY)Visual Thesaurus Moderator
Dr. Woo: thanks for alerting us to the "taintaword" problem -- we'll get right on that.

Everyone else (and Dr. Woo): Thanks for your kind words, we love improving the Visual Thesaurus and hope to make it an even better product in the future.
Friday December 3rd 2010, 1:35 PM
Comment by: Mary S. (Chicago, IL)
Visual Thesaurus is my first click of the day. As an essay writer, I extend my gratitude for the easily accessed and sometimes surprising synonym gift. Congratulations.
Friday December 3rd 2010, 5:50 PM
Comment by: Lori Weaver (Colorado Springs, CO)Top 10 Word Lister
Outstanding news! I'm glad to have a working relationship (or is it a wording relationship) with VT and Thinkmap!

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