Computer aided spelling is one of the newest but most popular methods of teaching spelling an spelling improvement around at the moment because new technology has allowed a different perspective of the problem. Unfortunately, it has also encouraged a lot of companies to bring out their own spelling software program, and not all of them are high quality. In fact, some are incredibly poor so if you are to use this module, and it is certainly a good idea to do just that, then you have to make sure that you choose the right software to teach with.
Many schools use spelling software programs today because they seem to encourage children to learn because they inject a little fun into the learning process. According to Westwood, they provide different levels so that each child can work his or her way up the knowledge tree (2008, p. 40), but that is not to say that they cannot be damaging. Although they draw on the knowledge that will have been learned in the previous modules, they do encourage an overreliance on technology so they should not be used until after manual spelling knowledge has been taught.
Your Lesson Plan
Content – Computer Aided Learning via a spelling software program
Goals & Objectives – To use games, puzzles and exercises offered by spelling software to enhance the knowledge accumulated in the previous modules featured here.
Materials & Resources – Spelling software program of your choice, computer
Introduction – Introduce your student to the software, explaining why you are using it and what it can help to teach. Offer an explanation as to how it is different from regular spell checking technology.
Development – Encourage your student to set up an account and give them a guided tour through the software you have chosen. Explain how it works and what keys to use during the games, puzzles and assessments.
Practice – Simply use the software!
Notes – Always supervise any use of spelling software programs to ensure that they are being used correctly. Also, check the software for yourself in advance to make sure that it will be useful in achieving your particular aims and goals. That way, you will be able to direct your student to specific games and puzzles that you feel will be of use. Make sure that you incorporate a range of techniques and strategies into your lesson via these games or else you will find that it makes absolutely no difference to your student’s ability to spell.
There is no need to plan out exercises if you plan to use this particular module in your classroom because the software you choose to use will do that for you. Take a look at the example below:
This screenshot is taken from http://www.ultimatepselling.com, one of the most respected and revered spelling software programs around. It is a favourite of individuals and educational facilities alike because it engages students and offers a vast range of exercises for grades one through ten, incorporating ten different levels within each of the grades so that it can offer. Ultimate Spelling therefore has everything you need right there to be able to effectively reinforce everything that has been learned in previous modules as well as introducing new skills.
Ultimate Spelling has a wide range of exercises available, all of which are designed to help your student to learn the words. There are also significant advantages associated with it. For example, it offers personalised spelling exercises and stores progress as your student goes along. As such, your student will not have to recap anything he or she already knows, will be able to go back to words that have been problematic and will receive immediate feedback as to where he or she is going wrong.
However, a word of warning. This particular module should be perceived as a treat by the student rather than a way to learn to spell because the use of technology does tend to encourage laziness. As such, it is best to teach spelling in a hands on way so that the brain is encouraged to work alone before introducing technology to enhance knowledge.
Despite the need to learn spelling skills manually before using computer software, this is not the last module in the eBook. Instead, there is one more to go.