ERIC Number: ED246462
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Apr-14
Reference Count: 0
Some Boundary Considerations for Writing-Software.
Computerized spelling programs or "spelling checkers" can be a wonderful tool for writers at any level of competence. However, they should not be used as adjuncts to the teaching of writing unless they meet two boundary conditions, one of size and one of design. The problem with design of the programs is that they allow for the correction of typographical errors and misspellings without human intervention, thus reducing the student to a passive key-pusher. The problem with size is that most of the spelling dictionaries have a limited working vocabulary. Other writing programs known as "grammar-" or "style-checkers" call attention to incorrect usages, redundancies, wordiness, meaningless intensifiers, gender-specific terms, split compounds, cliches, and other solecisms common in bad writing. Unfortunately, these programs are unregenerately prescriptive, offering substitutions for nearly every phrase they store. Better suited to the needs of a writer would be a software package that analyzes text. However, the high number of computations such a program would require renders such an idea impractical. Writing software packages, if properly designed and applied, can provide extensive text analysis. Unfortunately, much of the software originates with commercial programers rather than with experienced classroom teachers. As such, they may, in fact, produce worse rather than better writers. (HOD)
Publication Type: Guides - Classroom - Teacher; Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Software Evaluation; Text Editing
Note: Paper presented at the University of Minnesota Conference on "Computers and Writing: Research and Applications" (Minneapolis, MN, April 14, 1984).