Mary Walton
9 ed tech tools to help boost essay writing

Essay writing is an important skill, not just for English language arts, but across subject areas because it gives voice to students’ thoughts and ideas. You might not have the opportunity to teach writing in your science or social studies classroom, but that doesn’t mean you can’t help students hone their persuasion skills. Check out these nine tools that can help your students become empowered learners.  

1. Write To Learn: This tool uses sophisticated technology developed by top professors to help writers improve their skills. It analyzes the meaning of the text, not just spelling and grammar. As students work through the assignments, they get personalized feedback, hints and tips to encourage, instruct and reward their progress.

2. Thesis Generator: This tool helps students plan their essays better. All they have to do is follow the steps provided to have a full essay plan to work from.

3. Grammar Guide: One key to any good piece of writing is good grammar. This site gives your students the lowdown on proper grammar, spelling and the difference between active and passive voice.

4. Citefast: Properly citing sources is one of the hallmarks of digital citizenship, which is why the ISTE Standards for Students expect students to demonstrate an understanding of and respect for the rights and obligations of using and sharing intellectual property. This tool helps students create proper citations for their work.

5. Write Room: The enemy of any essay writer is distraction. With the internet at their fingertips, it's not surprising that many students find it hard to concentrate on what they're supposed to be doing. This app creates a writing screen that eliminates distractions.

6. My Access: This writing application allows students to log in and follow writing prompts in a number of subject areas. Once they've submitted their work, they get instant feedback so they can start revising. Teachers can track their progress and see who needs some extra help.

7. Plagiarism Checker: Most students don't mean to publish work that’s not their own. But it can happen inadvertently. They may use a line they’ve heard somewhere or subconsciously replicate a passage they’ve read. This service will check for plagiarism and alert students to make corrections before they turn their papers in.  

8. Quillpad: This website allows your students to create a free account so they can collaborate with others to improve their writing. Real authors give advice to budding writers, and real teachers offer feedback to those who submit samples. Students can also swap tips and ideas with other writers.

9. Coursework Service: As a teacher, you want to give every student individual attention but it’s not always possible. This site offers tools, interactive assignments and writing prompts to supplement your teaching. 

Mary Walton is a blogger and online tutor from Santa Monica, California. Read Mary's blog post "Who Invented Homework?" on her blog Simple Grad. Follow her on Twitter @marywalton27 and LinkedIn.

Find more articles about digital tools that enhance learning and teaching in the EdTekHub.

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