Ed Tech Tips with E. Mosier

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Useful Research Essay Apps

Overview

The students in my Language Arts class have recently started their massive research project for the year. The more I thought about the project, and even after chatting with other teachers, it seemed that we are not alone in the research endeavor at this point of the year. So, that got me thinking, what are some useful apps that could be passed onto students when writing a research paper? Below are four programs that are quite beneficial when writing any essay, but specifically the research essay.

Instagrok

A site that was recently brought to my attention was Instagrok. This is a search engine site that organizes information in a rather unique way. When a topic is searched, Instagrok places the most relevant information together and presents it in a concept map form, which is referred to as a "grok." Students can "pin" their most desired materials and can even take notes or jot down important pieces of information in the journals that are built-in. A huge thank you to Rob Hingstrum (@RHingstrum), science teacher at Sudlow, for alerting me to this site!

SAS Writing Reviser

As I was reviewing some material from this past summer's ISTE conference in Denver, I stumbled upon a pamphlet that I received on the SAS Writing Reviser, which reminded me how intrigued I was to research this Docs Add-On a little further. This Add-On is wonderful for the editing process when the essay is nearing completion, as it checks for several advanced grammatical pieces. "This add-on provides students with feedback about their writing and enables them to address a range of potential writing problems, including weak verbs, excess prepositional phrases, dangling modifiers, and faulty sentence structure. "

JoeZoo Express

This Docs Add-on is one I keep coming back to, wondering when it best fits into my "teaching of writing process." JoeZoo Express is an add-on that focuses on rubrics, essay grading, and feedback options. The two aspects of this add-on I feel are the coolest are the "'Student Monkey Checker,' which is an automated checker for grammar, mechanics and punctuation errors and the 'Teacher Monkey Checker,' which is an automated writing feedback so teachers can focus time on higher order feedback. Imagine having students offering peer feedback that is meaningful and useful! If you are already a JoeZoo user, I'd live to hear what you think of it and how you're using it with your students.

EasyBib

Gone are the days of writing down all of the information on a source and then hoping it's formatted correctly when you go to write the actual citation. Even gone are the days of putting in a citation in the EasyBib website and then copying and pasting it into your document (unless you prefer that way!). The best solution that can used at several grade levels is the EasyBib Add-On for Docs. WIth a simple key-in of a book's ISBN number, a source can be cited. Or, a copy and paste of a website can produce a citation in a jiffy. Then, once all of the sources have been cited in the sidebar with either a copy and paste or a typed ISBN number, the student selects them to Insert into Doc and boom! All of the sources are cited, in proper format, and alphabetized with extremely minimal keystrokes.

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