If you are an English teacher, you know that it's not easy to include enough writing practice and instruction in your courses, especially considering the many facets of language arts you need to cover during the school year. Writing takes time to master, time for edits, and time for rewrites on the part of your students. -And as for you-think of those nights you spend at home editing and grading essays.
Let's face it. Although students need practice in writing skills, many don't get the guidance they need to become better writers, and many teachers simply don't have time to help students with edit after edit of their work. The solution is either to spend your life editing and grading compositions or to turn to technology tools to help both you and your students.
Prentice-Hall offers an online Writing Coach (Grades 6-12), which has the ability to assist your students improve their writing and assist you with the evaluation of and keeping track of student writing. Through online practice in writing, students learn skills such as varying sentence patterns and length and putting correct grammar to use. Eager to experiment with this program, I typed in my own writing sample and had a good time learning what this digital coach thought of my skills. To my dismay, I wasn't perfect, but was given some great ideas for improving what I wrote. I think your students will also enjoy using Prentice-Hall Writing Coach.
Of course, Prentice-Hall Writing Coach can't replace you, the teacher, but it could be a big help to you and will give a writing boost to students. What it does is to enable you to fit more writing practice into your courses and to help students improve as they write. For your students, there is immediate feedback from the online tutor. As with everything, practice is the key to success and individualized instruction is sorely needed in this area of the curriculum. One-size-fits-all doesn't work with writing, for your students come to you with different skills and needs in writing.
In addition to the extensive teacher resources available to you through Writing Coach, you'll find that you can add your own content and customize what's available through this comprehensive program for students in Grades 6-12. Its writing and grammar lessons are well organized and easy to find using the program's online guide. Students can highlight passages, take notes, get feedback, send you notes, and just enjoy writing. They can use the program on computers, iPads or Android products, and you can use it for individualized instruction on computers or other digital devices or for group learning with interactive whiteboards. If you use Pearson's online software, you'll be pleased to learn that Writing Coach fits nicely into the framework of Pearson offerings through SuccessNet.
The only problem I encountered was when I tried to access Prentice-Hall Writing Coach through Firefox. Instead I used Safari (you can also use Internet Explorer), and everything worked fine.
The cost is about $9.95 per student for a year. There's a discount on pricing if schools do a six-year plan.
Because the program is in "the cloud", access is available from all operating systems.
Because it is not text-based or on individual computers or servers, upgrades can easier be made.