In a moment when the education reform is on an intense debate, and given some recent studies that aren’t very encouraging in regards to proficiency in writing, NoRedInk comes as a useful tool. It is a web-based learning platform that helps students improve their grammar and writing skills, and was created by Jeff Scheur, an English teacher at Whitney Young Magnet High School. The site is free for everyone at the moment, always a good thing when trying to get people to write correctly in English. There is however a Premium plan available for schools. There are also several interesting features that could turn NoRedInk into a success.
The features include content that appeals to those that have to learn. Instead of a boring grammar lesson, NoRedInk proposes grammar sentences using each student’s favorite celebrities, hobbies, TV shows, and friends. Moreover, students can get unlimited practice time, thus being able to gain new skills and understand the issues in question.
The learning process is an adaptive one. Based on answers students provide, the system offers next questions enabling them to get it right in the end, yet not getting boring for those who answer correctly in the first place. This is also an interesting feature that could indeed help the learning process.
Teachers can also assign tasks and quizzes to students and get this: each of these tasks are uniquely created based on each kid’s interests. This sounds pretty cool and useful in the teaching process, right?
Teachers, students, and administrators have color-coded “heat maps” that show how someone progresses in time.
“If you haven’t graded 15,000 papers, I don’t know how you can predict trends or how students can better learn writing mechanics without relying on machine learning solutions, which doesn’t get you all the way there,” said founder Jeff Scheur.
NoRedInk currently has 70,000 users and teachers and students have completed 3.5 million questions, while more than 300 schools have applied to participate in the Premium program.
This is indeed a useful initiative, and using it, along with other alternative methods of teaching, could lead to better writing and understanding grammar.