Third grade is a typical time to begin learning research skills, so Lisa used those lessons as an opportunity to integrate Co:Writer to help her students practice the skills of reading from multiple sources and writing about what they learned.
“We were learning about ocean life so each student was given the opportunity to choose an ocean animal to study. I first had students hand-write notes on index cards. Next, they use Co:Writer to type, edit, and complete their research assignments. Co:Writer allows students to go through the multiple steps of this work with confidence.”
As students type, Co:Writer offers word and phrase suggestions based on the sentence context, topic words, and the student’s attempted spellings . The program integrates directly into Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge browsers as an extension and Apple’s iOS as a keyboard and an app. It learns how students write and the words they use to help more quickly access the words they know and write more fluidly without getting tripped up on grammar and spelling. It also has built-in voice typing and translation supports.
Lisa’s students enjoyed using Co:Writer, and they also liked collaborating—teaching each other the different ways they use the supports. Dominick discovered that he could highlight text in an online article and have Co:Writer read the text aloud, helping him get through selections that were difficult for him to read but not difficult to comprehend. He shared that tip with his peers and soon they came to him when they had questions about using their technology. It made him feel proud.
“My students also like customizing the extension for their individual needs. For instance, they discovered they can slow down the pace of the text-to-speech support. Then, they can actually take notes on what they’re listening to. Co:Writer has really been helpful for my students doing online research. The text-to-speech support lets students read things that are a little more challenging. When they pick books from the library or the classroom, they’re generally getting books at their reading levels. Co:Writer allows them to not only access online material but also to push themselves. It’s really exciting to see!”