guest written by Kimberly Joki of Grammarly
When it comes to web tools for teaching writing, many educators are wary of writing editors and automatic checks that don’t so much “teach” as “tell.” How does a student learn to write if a program does all the editing and revising for him? This article is meant to explain how Grammarly, the world’s most accurate automatic grammar check, and its family of services utilize a learning approach based on Bloom’s Taxonomy to help students perfect their writing themselves.
Before we begin, it’s important to be somewhat familiar with the services and features that Grammarly.com provides. The primary service is a subscription-based writing and grammar check, the Grammarly Editor, that reviews texts for over 150 grammar, punctuation, usage, spelling, and citation errors. There are also two free services: Grammarly Answers, a Q&A forum for the discussion of English grammar and writing, as well as Grammarly Handbook, an online reference tool that explains elements of grammar and writing using practical examples. All of these services, when used together, create a great environment for learning and perfecting writing, but how do they actually use Bloom’s Taxonomy to accomplish this?
Knowledge and Comprehension
Both of these categories of the taxonomy are used throughout the Grammarly experience. After students run a review in the Grammarly Editor, notes for revision are listed for their review. As students read through the notes, they are guided back through their texts to correct errors or make edits. Each note highlights an error or makes a suggestion that is named and briefly explained. This forces students to recall information from class and facilitates knowing. Additionally, the short and long explanations that accompany each note require students to understand the concept before being able to identify it in the highlighted sentence and make the correction.
Additionally, when students participate at Grammarly Answers, which is integrated into the Editor, they can ask and answer questions related to their writing. At Answers, the dialogue that they can have about their writing promotes both knowledge and comprehension, particularly because they have a great opportunity to explain what they know and have learned to others.
Finally, the Grammarly Handbook aims to provide explanations of different writing elements to encourage recall of classroom lessons as well as to improve understanding so that knowledge can be practically applied.
Application of new understandings of grammar and writing elements generally occurs right in the Editor as students review the correction notes, learn, and correct their writing. They may, however, also find opportunities to use their understanding of a particular writing concept on the Answers forum.
When using Grammarly, particularly Answers because it is a public forum, students will need to be able to distinguish between facts and opinion. Also, the Grammarly Editor makes a number of suggestions regarding style and diction, which do not necessarily require a change to the student’s text. In these situations, students will need to learn to asses how certain edits will impact and change the meaning of their writing.
During the writing process, and while using Grammarly, students will need use information from all sources — classroom, Grammarly’s services, and others — to complete and improve their writing composition. Students can create (and re-create) their work right in the Grammarly Editor, then save the Editor’s notes as a PDF.
As students continue through the cyclical process of writing, they will have to judge and select those suggestions and improvements that are most helpful for their composition. Because the Editor does not simply make corrections for the students, they will be continually forced to evaluate the relevance of a given suggestion to their writing. Likewise, students using Answers will need to choose, from a various contributions, which advice or information from the forum is most accurate.
Looking at Grammarly’s services through the lens of Bloom’s Taxonomy helps to see how this can be a helpful tool for the improvement of student writing. However, there are additional benefits to using this web tool alongside traditional classwork.
First, it takes a lot of anxiety out of editing. Students, particularly those who are only becoming comfortable with writing, are not completely responsible for identifying potential errors and fixing them. The guided approach of the Editor, along with the ability to get feedback from others via Answers, make the proofreading and editing process more relaxed.
Second, the ability to check and review some writing issues before entering into peer-editing or writing conferences with a teacher or professor can give students more confidence to address the problems that they have as well as to suggest corrections or enhancements to other’s writing during conferencing.
Third, with regular reports from the Grammarly Editor, students can begin to see patterns in their writing. Knowing these patterns helps students see where they have had progress and where they can continue to improve.
Finally, teachers can similarly benefit from the feedback from the Grammarly Editor. Each time a text is reviewed in the Editor, a list of errors and suggestions for that writing is generated. This report can be printed and reviewed by the teacher as a way to confirm comprehension and application of in-class lessons. This information can inform coursework. For example, if an educator were to see that many students had frequent errors with modifiers, he could develop a lesson to address this lack of knowledge, then test for comprehension by using the Grammarly Editor or by posting a relevant text on Grammarly Answers and having students explain the error or correct it.
Grammarly.com has great services for helping students and teachers perfect student writing In addition to being a useful writing tool, the service is convenient. All of the Grammarly tools are completely based online, which means users can easily set up an account, can access the service from any place with an internet connection, and have no updates to download. Finally, Grammarly is easy to try out. All new individual accounts receive a 7-day free trial and new bulk or institutional licenses may also be eligible.