Literacy Support - Comparing software for word prediction

Test carried out 26th November 2014. Results published March. 2015.

Literacy support software that has word prediction can give specific reinforcement and support with spelling, reading and editing. It can reduce the number of keystrokes necessary for typing words.

We have completed a Literacy Support review for iPad and now it is time to look at what software is available for computers.

Other reviews on similar topics include:

How we trialled the software

The software used for this review was downloaded either as a free trial (28 to 30 days) from the developers or from existing paid - for subscriptions.

To identify the performance of each word prediction application, the researcher typed the 30 word text onto a Windows document page or into text box provided by the software. Every key press was manually counted as the text was entered. The number of keystrokes used was recorded for each set of text.

 Results: Our top three

    WordQ4.JPG   WordQ4. http://www.goqsoftware.com

Prediction accuracy: 24/30 Keystrokes: 87/154. Price: NZ $285 + GST

 WordQ products have been very popular  in New Zealand classrooms for students who need Literacy support. This was our best performer, as well as being excellent value for money.

Word prediction in WordQ4  proposes to work even if words are spelled creatively or missing parts. We found that it managed some of our trickier misspelt words but not all.

 WordQ4 has a range of really useful tools such as a visual and linguistic dictionary.It gives examples for words that sound similar by showing how they are used in a sentence (example: there, their / to, too).

WordQ4 lets you modify the word prediction to use specific vocabulary or topics. It predicts next and multiple words.

One thing to be aware of is the exam mode function. This will lock the student out of any settings until it times out.

It is ideally suited for middle Primary to Secondary school.

Read & Write GoldJPG.JPG Read & Write Gold.  http://www.texthelp.com

Prediction accuracy: 23/30 Keystrokes: 87/154 Price: $710+GST

Coming in a close second is Read & Write Gold. This is a more advanced option than Read & Write for Google.

There is an impressive range of tools such as an instant pop up text and picture dictionary when you highlight a word. You can choose the appearance of the icons (small or large) in the tool bar.

Read & Write Gold can compile a study guide when you add specific words to a vocabulary list. You can also choose specific writing and research options.

 Read & Write Gold will predict the next word but often stops after the second or third letter if the word is really badly spelled. Read & Write Gold does not predict multiple words. The tool bar is expandable and you can move it from the top to the bottom of the page.

Read & Write Gold is suited to the older student (Secondary and Tertiary). 

 co writer 7.JPGCo-Writer 7 UK Version   http://www.spectronics.com.au/cowriter-7

Prediction accuracy: 19/30 Keystrokes: 119/154 Price: $560 +GST

CoWriter has similar functions / tools to the others such as providing Dictionary, Synonyms, Word Bank and Text to Speech . It can predict 5 or more words. Font size can be increased in the prediction box.

CoWriter uses the context of the whole sentence to predict the next word. The FlexSpell tool attempts to turn around really bad spelling (example: ifnt = elephant) however, we found that this was not entirely reliable in the instance of  “friu, skatd and wgd” in our test text.

Online Service products

GhotitJPG.JPGGhotit.  http://www.ghotit.com (online only)

Prediction accuracy: 15/30 Keystrokes: 120/154 Price: NZ $199.00

Ghotit is an online spelling, grammar and punctuation service. This programme performed poorly in our prediction accuracy test.

it will stop predicting after the second letter of a word is spelled wrongly (example"dts"). We found that alternative word suggestions for misspelt words were out of context.

 Ghotit has similar tools to the others, such as highlighting a word will enable text to speech and dictionary.  Spelling, grammar and punctuation errors are highlighted in different colours. You click on the word to get correct suggestions. The text does not auto space. The tool bar works in any application but only online.

WriteOnline.jpg Write OnLine  http://www.cricksoft.com/uk/products/writeonline/

(online only)

Prediction accuracy: 19/30 Keystrokes: 89/154 Single user licence UK £180.00

Write OnLine is an online service alternative to  Ghotit. It also performed poorly when testing the word prediction feature.  When typing a misspelt word, the correct word was placed next to it rather than replacing it in the text.

Write Online provides mind mapping, speech support, word prediction, word bars and writing frames.    Write OnLine works within its own writing environment as a text box which is rather small and not easy to work in.

Test Text

*Word prediction test sentence: The ylo dog hd brn friu eers wit six red dts on the tps wits he skatd and wgd hpi. Wen a flee land on wun eer he howd ludli.

The yellow dog had brown floppy ears with six red dots on the tips which he scratched and waggled happily. When a flea landed on one ear he howled loudly.

Contact

For more information from this review email me at cat.help@minedu.govt.nz

Coming up>>> Visual Scheduling Apps for iPad.

 

Comments

  • Coll O'Connor

    I have been requested to also review the Penfriend software, which I have duly done. Here are my results.

    I looked at the Penfriend XL Version 5.  Prediction Accuracy 18/30    Keystrokes 94/154.

    I found this particular software had a  few idiosyncracies such as having to download the speech engine separately in order to access text to speech. Also, the Follow Caret - (which defines whether the prediction window will move along as you write), has two selections. You cannot change out of anchored to moving once one or the other is selected. This is also not compatible with some word processors because of the way they indicate their caret position.

    Words predicted were often out of context. It stopped predicting after the second letter of a badly misspelled word. It also automatically retains your badly, misspelled word and puts it in the prediction window.

    Penfriend provides its own virtual keyboard. It has tools such as a dictionary, thesaurus and spell check.

    Penfriend has dwell or hover capability.

    A singler user licence will cost approx. NZ$300 or more.

     

     

Assistive Technology

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Using technology to support students with disabilities and special learning needs.