November 01, 2016
10 EdTech Tools That Make It Easy To Teach Writing Skills
For some students, writing is a hard task to get to grips with. After all, creating a convincing argument on paper is something of an art. As a teacher, though, you can take advantage of many of the online resources available. They'll walk your student though writing exercises, help check their completed work, and more. Here are 10 tools you can use in the classroom to improve your students' writing skills.
1. Mendely—Social networks aren't just for your off time. This site is a social network for academics allowing them to share their work, references, and research with other people around the world. "It's a great way for students to get feedback on their writing in a stress free setting," says Gloria Kopp, an e-learning consultant from Studydemic.
2. Vocabulary.com—This site is, quite simply, the easiest way to learn new vocabulary. You've probably found that many students struggle with their vocabulary. Perhaps they use the same phrases over and over or just don't know the meanings of the words they're trying to use. This adaptive learning game will help them get to grips with new vocabulary easily.
3. Bartelby—This site hosts the best selection of academic texts available online. They have free e-books on Kindle, as well as the full texts online. The best part is that everything is free so your students don't have to be out of pocket to study a set text.
4. Essay Help—If your students are struggling with their essays, these are the people to turn to. They can look over any piece of writing and advise the student on what changes need to be made to get the best marks. They'll also be able to coach the student through the writing process in order for them to improve their skills.
5. Purdue Online Writing Lab—This guide has everything my own pupils need. As a writing resource this website is rather comprehensive. Your students can come here to get advice on almost any aspect of writing, from referencing to subject-specific writing.
6. Kahoot!—Do you have students who are reluctant to get involved in writing? This resource may change all of that. You can create free educational games on Kahoot! which are tailored to your class's needs. Then, by playing them in class you can get students involved and excited about learning. It's a win-win for you and the students.
7. Plotly—This tool allows you to create charts and graphs with almost any data imaginable. As a teacher, you'll find that it's great for tracking your students' progress throughout the school year. It's easy to learn to use and you can share data you collate on it with others. "I use Plotly to follow my students' progress," said EdTech specialist Erica Sullivan from EssayRoo. "I can see at a glance who's steaming ahead and who needs a little extra help from me."
8. Thesis Generator—Many students fall down in their essays in the planning stages. They don't really know how to structure an essay, so the finished piece is much less structured than you'd like it to be. Direct them to this website which will helpfully create a full essay plan just with a few questions about their topic.
9. RefMe—David Harrison from UK admission service says, "Students struggle a lot with referencing. They find they're not sure on how to collect the information they need, so they often miss key items out." This tool has helped his students end that problem once and for all. They can collect the literature they use in this tool, then automatically create reference lists once they select which referencing system they want to use.
10. The Plagiarism Checker—Plagiarism is becoming rife in schools, so of course you'd hope your students never resort to passing off someone else's work as their own. However, they may have simply incorrectly referenced some work or not rephrased it properly. They can still be picked up for plagiarism even though they didn't intend to plagiarize. This tool can check their writing before they submit it. That way they won't have to go through the process of proving their work as their own, and their writing will improve as they make the necessary changes.
These tools can make all the difference to your students' writing. Give them the web addresses seen here and see just how much they improve. They'll allow them to practice their skills and pick up new ones too.
Mary Walton is a professional editor and online tutor currently living in Santa Monica.