Recently on Technapex, I’ve been harping on the importance of the humanities in our country’s curriculum and emphasizing the need for the arts in education, preferring the STEAM education acronym to STEM. And all you loyal Technapex followers know that I love to harp on the importance of teaching proper grammar in schools (here, here, and, yes, here). I’m a former high school English teacher; whaddaya want?
So I was pleased to discover NoRedInk, a web-based learning platform that helps students improve grammar and writing, in a recent TechCrunch article. The platform was created by Jeff Scheur, a former high school English teacher from Chicago whose pent-up frustrations with students’ lack of writing and grammar fundamentals led him to do something about it. He determined that in order for students to improve, they needed fun, interactive practice and immediate feedback.
The website’s features make it more appealing to its high school audience: practice sentences are peppered with pop culture references, hobbies, and personal interests. Students can pull in “likes” from Facebook to personalize their data, making the practice a bit more personal and interesting. The website also has a great blog where students can post photos of real-life grammar errors (“We bye used cars!”).
Other features of the platform include an adaptive learning engine that adjusts questions and provides tutorials based on which questions students answer correctly or incorrectly, practice exercises and quizzes that teachers can tailor for their own classes, and progress-tracking features for teachers, students, and administrators to see how students are faring. Students can practice skills in apostrophe usage, subject-verb agreement, comma issues, sentence fragments, and run-on sentences.
NoRedInk recently won Citi and NBC’s Innovation Challenge and was accepted into Imagine K12′s current class of startups.
The site is currently free to teachers and students, and schools interested in using NoRedInk Premium can apply to be a pilot school here.