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Archive for April, 2009

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.  ginger-11

ginger-2 

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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