Girl in a classroom World Bank Photo Collection via Compfight

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).

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:

“Zoom In!” Looks Like A Good Site For History Teachers

Richard Byrne writes about the Hemingway App might have turned itself into a useful writing tool and not just a gimmick.

“Write The World” Provides An Authentic Audience & A Space For Peer Review

“Young Writers Program” Looks Like An Excellent Online Site To Assist Student Writing

I Can’t Decide If “Write & Improve” Is The Best Or Worst Site To Help ELLs Improve Their Writing


“Writing Sparks” Could Be A Useful Online Writing Tool

Three free essay-writing tools from 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.

Writing Pal looks like it might have potential to assist students develop writing skills, though I found the registration process a bit too cumbersome and gave up.  Let me know what you think if you try it out. I’m tentatively adding it here.

Gramara Grammar Checker looks interesting.

Google has announced that they are finally going to add their Smart Compose feature to Google Docs being used in G Suite For Education. I’ve written about this tool before (see Expansion Of “Smart Compose” To Google Docs Is Great Learning Tool For ELLs, But Not Available To School Users), and I think it’s great news for ELLs and other students. My support for it has been criticized by some because they think it will mask student writing “deficiencies.” However, I still believe that it will be more helpful than harmful. It seems to me that many of our students “know” what they want to say, but don’t necessarily have the words to communicate it accurately. Smart Compose can give them those tools, and provide models for them to remember for future use. Let me know if you think I’m wrong on this – I’m still open to changing my mind.



Compose AI is a Chrome Extension designed to help you become a better writer.

Trinka is a new online tool to assist in writing. I think these kinds of online tool can be helpful to ELLs. However, I’m also feeling that students might be getting tired of too much screen time at school. This year, since I have a lot of peer tutors, I’m trying out having students in my Newcomers class go back to writing on paper with support from the tutors. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Pressto uses AI to help students write essays.

gotFeedback – An AI Tool for Providing Feedback on Writing is from Richard Byrne.

Language Tool is a grammar and punctuation checker. Google or Microsoft will point out the same mistakes.  However, Language Tool will also provide a short explanation of why it’s a mistake.