Previously I wrote about Ginger. (See April post) Since that time, the people at Ginger have been busy working through the kinks and bugs. They’ve Incorporated the grammar tool and streamlined the interface. Through August it will be available as a free download. In September, it will be available for purchase. One may also purchase the speech feedback in the premium package.
I’ve shared Ginger with a number of students and they are excited to use it with their writing. Ginger provides contextual spell check and grammar check, full sentence correction and misused word correction.
Ginger takes spell check to a new level. It works with Microsoft Word and Outlook. After writing an essay or any word processing, hit the Ginger button instead of spell check. Visit their website for a demo. Hurry and download Ginger for your PC machines. You’ll be glad you did.
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Occasionally, my friends and I discuss the changes in spelling expectations. Being in education, we’ve seen the bar lowered especially for spelling. Sure, teachers stress the importance of spelling and utilizing spell check, but spelling isn’t taught beyond 5th grade. In 6th grade the teachers focus on expanding vocabulary. Often homework is typed and teachers expect students to utilize spell check. Still some students struggle with spelling. For some they have dyslexia or executive functioning and even with spell check, they still hand in work with poor spelling. Or the work they produce is at a low quality.
Parents and teachers ask for suggestions to help. Word prediction is often the best option. A follow up question I hear is, “What word prediction should the student use?” Recently I was reading the QIAT (Quality Indicators of Assistive Technology) listserve and word prediction was a hot topic. A beta word prediction software was discussed. It is called Ginger.
What I like about Ginger is how it operates. Locally installed on PC computers, Ginger is an add-on for Word and Outlook. Writers type their thoughts into Word and instead of using spell check, they select the F2 key to “Ginger it”.
Straight from Ginger’s website, “Ginger Software analyzes the context of each sentence to remedy mistakes that other spell checkers often miss, including correctly spelled words that are used improperly.” Ginger looks at sentences and makes predictions based on the sentence structure and letters keyed. Ginger highlights the sentence in the text and gives users the option to approve the recommended change.
Example: Som stoodiets cant speel good.
Similar to spell check, Ginger provides multiple words. Unlike spell check, some of the listed words are used in sentences for users to make an educated selection. This is especially useful with homophones.
As I mentioned earlier, Ginger is in the Beta stage; this means that there may be some bugs or hiccups in its operation. Thus far, I have not experienced any. While visiting their website, www.gingersoftware.com, I learned that Ginger is working on a Mac compatible product and incorporating text to speech. Knowing the challenges students with learning disabilities face, having text to speech included will be a useful addition. The visual tool with verbal feedback will make Ginger effective.
This is something I’ll be keeping my eye on. I encourage you to download it and give it a try yourself.
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I’m so excited that I must share it now. I discovered a new website from
· No paper
· Grades the test for you (with the exception of essay)
· Online—no more teacher time spent at the copier
· Data—in a spreadsheet
· Organizational tool for teachers
· 6 test options: multiple choice, T/F, Word bank, fill in the blank, essay, multiple response
· Great homework study tool
· Option for multiple testing
· Option for immediate feedback
· Option for answer feedback
· Option to print quiz if needed
· Bulk registration of students
· With bulk registration, teacher has username and passwords incase of misplacement
· $50 a year
· Unable to upload current quizzes from Word
Sign up today and try my practice quiz. http://quizegg.com/q/139
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At this time of year, I often find myself reflecting on my personal accomplishments and evaluating my personal goals. I adjust my goals accordingly to the world around me. Will I afford my dream vacation this year? What family activities will I want to attend? Can I complete the task that I’ve started?
This is also the time I remember those who I don’t see frequently. Maybe they moved away. Maybe they live in another country. Or maybe they are doing important work, like defending our country. For my long distant friends I can send a card or email to brighten their day. I can pick up the phone and reconnect. For those defending our country, they deserve something more meaningful.
Many different groups and organizations collect items for the military. Some collect phone cards. Some send movies and music. At times, even Girl Scout troops will send cookies.
Today I read a listserve promoting LetsSayThanks.com. Xerox will print Thank You cards for military personnel and deliver it for free. The cards were created by elementary students around the US. Visitors to the website select a card and message to be printed inside. Xerox provided some messages but also permits you to write your own.
This is an opportunity I could not miss. I may overlook their sacrifice on any given Thursday, but during the holidays, I need to express gratitude to those who serve. I hope you will take a moment and do so as well. Visit LetsSayThanks.com
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Nikki asked a question regarding Shmoop. She was having difficulty navigating through the writing component. I played around with it at various times and skipped over the theme section to complete my outline.
Although skipping the valuable theme section is not ideal, it did allow me to advance. Shmoop is still in the beta stage which means that there will be bugs and hiccups. I’ve contacted them and found them to be very responsive. Because they are graduate students and educators from some impressive colleges, they are committed to this.
Since Nikki’s comment, Shmoop has worked out that kink. Now you should have greater success working with the themes in an outline.
Thanks for asking. Good luck.
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Wander through most classrooms and students will be sitting in their desks. Their desks are in rows and the teacher is in the front of the room. Sounds very much like a classroom in the one room schoolhouse of yesterday.
This is not the case in one high school classroom. Wander into this classroom and you will see students working at computers, working in the kitchen area, and working with the Wii. That is right. The Nintendo Wii. Where is the teacher of this unique classroom? She, and her staff, is in the middle of this explosion. These are students with multiple disabilities and learn best in a non-traditional classroom. The Wii is a wonderful addition.
Most families gather around a television set to play the Wii. Not here. In this classroom, connecting the Wii console to the smartboard creates a giant television screen for Wii play. The large screen allows viewing from anywhere in the room including everyone.
What learning occur with the Wii in the classroom? The teaching staff listed the ways:
- Language skills
- Gross /fine motor
- Cognitive skills
- Exercise and fitness
One main consideration in implementing the Wii is purpose. Adults know how easy it is to lose time when engrossed in a video game activity, like the Wii. Everyone becomes engrossed and needs to balance play with work. The classroom and Wii is no different.
In the classroom, planning for the Wii is critical for successful learning. I asked the staff how the Wii will be used in the classroom. This was their response, “The Wii is a positive reinforcement. Adults supervise the Wii and promote multiple user play. The Wii is not allowed to distract students from classroom learning.”
Since the implementation of the Wii in this classroom, the teaching staff has witnessed an increase in student learning. One student has responded by completing tasks quicker than before. Another student demonstrated appropriate social communication skills. The interaction between general education students and students with special needs has increased. The educational value of the Wii is evident in this unique classroom.
As with any technology tools, careful planning is important to success.
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