Ed Tech Tips with E. Mosier

Make your classroom more E-fficient!

Stocking your Writer's Toolbox

Overview

Throughout the course of a class, students are more than likely going to be writing essays. Whether that's a properly formatted MLA style research paper, or a freestyle reflection, they will be composing their thoughts on a document. Last week, I highlighted several websites and tools that you can use to get your students writing. However, this week, I have some tech tools to fill your writing toolbox with that will make the composition of any writing piece much easier, and much more efficient.

EasyBib

If your students are going to be writing any kind of research paper, an extension or Add-on that is a must is EasyBib. Its ease of use, coupled with availability make this the most powerful writing tool. Students can simply fill in blanks of information related to a source, even a website article, and EasyBib will generate a Works Cited for them. Then, once all of the sources have been collected, these can easily be "flowed" onto a Google Doc.

SAS Writing Advisor

Sometimes, students have a difficult time proofreading what they write. Even if they attempt to peer edit, some of the corrections to be made are missed. That's where the SAS Writing Reviser is beneficial. There are a variety of "tests" that can be run using this add-on. A few of those include tests that detect "weak verbs, excess prepositional phrases, dangling modifiers, and faulty sentence structure." Running this add-on has the ability to strengthen any writing piece.

Voice Typing in Google Docs

This is a feature that is already built-in, so why not utilize more often? There are a select few of our students who have difficulty typing, and it would take a great deal of time for them to transfer their essay from rough draft on paper to a typed final draft. However, using the Voice Typing feature can decrease time, and increase efficiency in a student's work. In order to access this tool, head to the "Tools" drop down menu at the top of the page, and select Voice Typing. Google Docs will record everything you say. Of course, a grammar check is still needed, but it may speed up the typing process.

Consistency Checker

A wonderful tool for any writer's toolbox is the Consistency Checker . The purpose of this tool is to improve the look of your document and ensure that words are being spelled consistently throughout the writing piece. An example of this may be if students are writing a fictional narrative with several different characters, they could run a Consistency Checker to verify that all of the character names and setting names are spelled the exact same throughout the writing.

Thesaurus

Each time a student writes, they tend to use similar words. That's exactly why having the Thesaurus add-on for Docs is handy. In Google Docs, there's already a built-in dictionary under the "Tools" menu, but the thesaurus must be added. Students can easily plug in a word to receive synonyms, or just to select the perfect word choice to correspond with their essay. This is a must-have tool for any writer's toolbox.

The Highlight Tool

This is one of the coolest tools for a writer's toolbox that I have ever seen. Yet, some may be questioning why use anything else other than the highlight tool that's already built in? The Highlight Tool add-on allows teachers or students to label each color as something different. As Eric Curts describes, each part of a sentence could be labeled a different color. Additionally, this add-on has the ability to create a new Doc from the highlighted words, making it more than just a mere highlighter. Utilizing this at any stage of the writing process is a terrific way to grow the students' writing craft.

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