This post was originally one lamenting the lack of good online student essay-writing tools, but I’ve turned it into a “Best” list – even though I don’t think there are any that fit the bill for me.
I’ve got a ton of tools on The Best Places Where Students Can Write Online. Many let you create picture books, create multimedia projects, and write a blog.
But hardly any provide any scaffolded support for a student to actually write a “standard” essay.
John Spencer’s Write About site, which I’ve previously written about in “Write About” May Be The Education Site Of The Year offers some of that.
A site I learned about today called Write Well has some potential, though its scaffolded instructions are pretty meager and there are no models (they have, however, since made some improvements).
Reader “mrsporterdcis” recommends SAS Curriculum Pathways’ Writing Navigator:
My favorite writing tool to recommend for teachers is the Writing Navigator by SAS Curriculum Pathways. SASCP is a free program that has tons of great content, but their writing tools top the list. There are four parts – the Planner, Drafter, Revisor and Publisher. They are great all together, but I particularly like the Revisor if you wanted to use other tools to do the other aspects. Go check it out! I think you’ll love it.
I LOVE SAS Curriculum Pathways and, in many ways, think it may be the most useful education site on the Web (search them on this blog and you’ll see many posts about their features). However, though I should have originally listed their writing tool on this list, I don’t think it works for my students.
What are tools that you use that I don’t know about?
Here’s a Twitter exchange with a good caution and that also shares what I think would be helpful:
@greg_ashman 1 that used graphic organizers,like ones many of us use in class,that could be moved around, w/accessible models could b useful
— Larry Ferlazzo (@Larryferlazzo) June 29, 2015
Write Lab looks like a very interesting, and unique, online writing tool that seems to be free. Once students upload their essay, its software provides a lot of critical feedback. In my experiment, the feedback seemed pretty accurate. The problem was there was way too much of it, and that will be a problem for students — to be able separate the really important stuff from the little stuff. I learned about it from Class Tech Tips, which looks like a pretty helpful blog.
FoxType has a text editor that seems to provide decent feedback on writing that’s submitted to it.
TEN APPS TO HELP STUDENTS DEVELOP WRITING SKILLS is from The Edvocate.
Three free essay-writing tools from ClassTools.net is from Russel Tarr.
Virtual Writing Tutor is an online “checker” of essays that could come in handy to ELLs.
Word’s new AI editor will improve your writing is from TechCrunch.
Smart Compose is coming to Google Docs is from TechCrunch, and is big news for ELLs. I think it could be a big help for teaching writing.