Students are guided through this on-line tutorial program that teaches the process of writing and composing an essay based on the basic steps necessary to accomplish this. Some topics covered are how to draft an introduction, pre-writing, choosing a thesis topic, creating an outline, drafting an introductory paragraph, writing the body of the essay, organizing the subject matter, creating coherence, writing a summary/conclusion, reviewing and editing the first draft for content, style, sentence structure, along with grammar, proofreading, and publishing.
The learning material on the web site is a limited tutorial posing a current topic that is periodically updated. There is a more extensive tutorial that is available to download for free. Complete software packages are available for purchase at the following levels: Elementary School, Middle School, High School, College preparation, Special Ed ? Learning Disabilities, Workplace, Adult Literacy - GED preparation, ESL Intermediate/Advanced and TOEFL preparation. The web site is based on the complete Essay Punch package that teaches the three different ways to write an essay: information, persuasion and description.
Type of Material:
The tutorial prompts you to check style, sentence structure and grammar. It also prompts you to check technical details such as careless errors, using apostrophes, capitalization, etc.
The technical requirements that are necessary to run Essay Punch are Netscape Navigator 4.0 browser or higher, or a Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 browser or newer,
Identify Major Learning Goals:
The learning goal is to teach students to write coherent essays at any level.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
A basic understanding of the English language is necessary.
There is a very clear purpose and guidance in the web site tutorial, free download, and in the software available. The free downloadable software is very helpful and interactive. It is very clear and concise guiding the student through the steps necessary to successfully organize their thoughts and write an essay. There is an overview/outline component and a manual available on Adobe Reader.
The program not only teaches how to compose a successful essay; it teaches the necessary computer skills needed to accomplish this. There are two different versions available; school and home. The school version has classroom management functions and can be used to tracki student work. It has a very productive media to content correspondence, especially with teaching the student how to manipulate the data to produce a finished product that is free of errors. This entails how to save, print and edit, along with reminders to spell check. The site has great links related to research for writers, ESL, teachers, parents and even for homework assistance.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The site is specifically designed for essay writing. It is easy to use and provides immediate feedback for students and teachers. The site even includes a record-keeping feature for teachers. Teachers are more likely to use a tool that will not add extra work to their already heavy workloads. As a teaching resource Essay Punch allows teachers to try out each individual section for a free trial period. This program includes activities for all grade levels, allowing teachers to integrate the program into a curriculum with diverse student ability levels.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The program allows for fluidity and mobility for students and teachers. Moving back and forth between exercises is quick and easy. The variety of color and font makes the screens easy to read and easy to find what you are looking for. As a teaching/learning tool this tool has great potential because it allow teachers and students to customize lessons to the individual student.
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