There are lots of good online Word Processors out there but at the end of the day they tend to all just offer a subset of the features of a locally installed Word Processor. So imagine my surprise to find such a fully featured system independent web-based Word Processor which offered something new! (loosely web-based – it is Java based and looks like it uses Web-Start technology)…
What WriteOnline does that makes it really special is it offers graduated support for those who find writing difficult. For example it supports writers by reading-aloud individual words or sentences. It offers a clever prediction engine that attempts to predict what you are trying to type (including phonetic spelling – i.e. type in ‘fiz’ and it will offer words like ‘physical’ etc.)
In addition to this it supports multiple word-banks depending on the task at hand and writing-frames (i.e. sentence starters). One particularly clever feature was the ability to create Mind-maps and then use the completed mind-map to create a word-bank which can be used to write the essay.
All in this looks like an excellent tool to scaffold learners who find writing difficult (for whatever reason – young students, SEN, EFL etc). The tool can be accessed from any computer and also includes a version that can be installed locally (where internet connection might be an issue such as a laptop).
A nice feature is the Moodle integration which allows you to create an activity which specific wordbanks etc within moodle. Students then complete the writing in WriteOnline (which can be saved as a draft to Moodle) and then submit it for marking.
All in this definitely looks like a tool worth some consideration!
To get a better idea of what WriteOnline offers I thoroughly recommend having a look at their Video Demos