Although I cannot remember how or when I originally heard about NoRedInk, I finally got around to checking it out just the other day and want to encourage you to do the same. NoRedInk is a website designed for teachers that helps students improve their grammar and writing skills. Even if you do not teach a grammar or writing class, NoRedInk is worth looking at because it has the potential to really help students improve their language abilities.
The 90-second video on the homepage clearly lays out why NoRedInk was created, and basically it is because teaching writing is hard. The actual teaching of concepts and assigning of work might not be much different than in other classes, but the grading and feedback is time consuming and tedious. Additionally, it can be challenging for educators to notice specific patterns in students’ mistakes and provide differentiated instruction to each individual student, especially in large classes. If all that were not bad enough, the disheartened look on your students’ faces when you hand back essays with corrections, comments, and feedback that you have labored long and hard over should be enough to convince you that there has to be a better way.
Luckily, technology has come a long way, and NoRedInk promises to provide students with tasks specifically tailored to each student based on his or her preferences in TV shows, movies, sports, video games, friends, pets, and more. Teachers can create assignments, quizzes, diagnostics, and post-tests by choosing topics, for example comparative adjectives, and how many questions should be included. Once assigned, students can complete the task on NoRedInk and each student will get a different version along with as much support and assistance needed depending on his or her performance.
When I preview the assignment, my preferences are taken into account, so all the subjects are Harry Potter characters, but obviously students might have interests very different from my own. On top of that, there are progress charts which show where each student is struggling, making supporting students easier, and a rules page that has a whole slew of handy grammar rule explanations.
If NoRedInk does not sound like the coolest thing since sliced bread, I am just explaining it wrong, so visit the site yourself to see what I am talking about. While there are premium accounts, regular accounts are free for teachers and students and still give you access to a lot of resources. I signed up in seconds by using my Google+ login and avoided creating another password too.
Have you used NoRedInk? What do you do to help your students improve their grammar and writing skills? Are there other sites like this out there? Please feel free to share your comments below. I would love to hear them.