Software Review: Easy Writer©
Easy Writer© was developed by Jane Boris using essays written by students at Kingsborough Community College and Baruch College. The purpose of this writing software is to improve students' writing abilities through the use of error identification and correction of more than 80 essays written by ESL students. Students also have the ability to write and save their own essays. During the process of identification and correction of errors students improve and/or review their grammar skills by referral sections focusing on the specific areas of the task at hand. The software package is divided into four sections taking students from simple error identification exercises to advanced sentence structure analysis and correction.
Easy Writer© is well thought out in its design. Especially useful are the grammar reference sections that allow students to review pertinent grammar in a number of ways. Each level has a number of focus areas such as Level I with prepositions, articles, nouns and pronouns etc. Each area has a number of essays that focus on the target area and include specific grammar referral sheets. An extremely useful tool is the grammar help section, which highlights the mistakes of a particular essay and clicks through to an explanation of the error involved. Students can easily approach the exercises either as a review of or as an introduction to grammatical concepts.
What I like best about Easy Writer©, is the fact that ESL students from all over the world have composed the essays. By combining the grammar learning experience with tales by fellow students, Easy Writer© offers a global perspective on the English learning process while, at the same time, focusing on problem areas that repeatedly occur for ESL learners. This process is appealing, as it does not seem to be top-down (teacher-student), but rather a community of ESL learners working towards improving their written communication skills. This program must be a joy to use in the classroom, as it puts the teacher in the facilitator role and, quite naturally, encourages student communication and co-operation.
The only reservation I have about the program is that students using the program on their own would have to be rather knowledgeable as far as grammatical terminology is concerned. Learning is divided into grammatical concepts and, without a strong grasp of the proper terminology, students could quite easily become confused.
The layout of the program is straightforward. Some might complain about the lack of bells and whistles, however this program gets the job done well and, with its short learning curve, is easy to use. I highly recommend this program not only as a tool to help students with their writing skills, but also as tool to develop their grammatical prowess.
Homepage of Easy Writer© software
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