Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Grammarly Grammar Checker

A couple weeks ago I was approached by Grammarly to review their software and write about my experiences. I was given a premium account and have been using it for the last week. I haven't used every feature of the software yet, and I am approaching this review as I do everything with classroom use in mind.

I don't usually worry too much about my grammar (or spelling for that matter) because I am much more interested in getting my ideas across than I am in being perfect with grammar. To be fair, I don't like to misspell words, but when I am writing on social media I don't worry too much about it. For example, I have sworn off changing my teh's to the's on Twitter because it slows me down too much (and it makes me look a little like a digital gangster ;) The one exception is when I write comments on students' posts. Below is a series of pictures of Grammarly helping me out with a comment on a student post.

As you can see from the pictures, Grammarly was pretty useful to me. It helped me quickly identify some problems I had with my comment and suggested how to correct them with just a click. Pretty handy, eh?

There are a couple ways you can use Grammarly, the most useful is as an extension, or plug-in, on the browser. I use Chrome and the set-up was quick and easy. If you look at the picture below you can see how many errors I corrected in the last week; and to be fair, I haven't written much over that time period. I have learned a few things about my writing; the most obvious to me is that I have no idea when it is appropriate to use a semicolon. 

So, the question is: Would I recommend the premium version for classroom use with students? I can see a real use case for this application if you want students to be less worried about getting the grammar, punctuation and spelling right as they compose at the keyboard. I also think that the best time for students to learn about grammar, spelling and punctuation is when they are using them to write with and this software makes it easy to identify mistakes (or in my case a series of the same type of mistake) which can be addressed naturally during the writing/editing process.

If I were using this software with my students, I would have them write their posts and then record their errors (perhaps using a Google form) to help students identify their weaknesses. I know that for the last week I have become much more cognizant of my poor use of semicolons and I am being much more careful because of that. I can really see how beneficial that would be to them, because it has been beneficial to me.

There is a lot more to Grammarly than just things I have addressed here in the post. For more information go to http://www.grammarly.com/grammar-check to check out the other services. 

1 comment:

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