Product: Prentice Hall Writing Coach (http://phwritingcoach.com)
Retail price: From $9.97 for one-year access to Writing Coach Online to $39.47 for six-year license for Writing Coach Online, with a print student edition for support.
By Jennifer Wagner
Prentice Hall Writing Coach is a digital grammar and writing program for grades six through 12. The program combines a printed Student Edition with digital components that provide detailed instruction and assessment for students at all levels of ability.
Quality and Effectiveness
For the more experienced student, who can copy and paste their writing into the software and get immediate feedback, this product is genius. To be able to perfect a work before turning it in—whether for a grade or to be published—is powerful.
The ability to set levels for student use is helpful, but struggling writers would need support to use this software. If this product were introduced in the seventh grade and used with the same student through the 12th grade, however, it would make that student a more proficient writer.
Ease of Use
The navigation in some areas is generally user-friendly. The preference area, for customizing the use of the software, was good, but you need a manual to understand some of the options. A pop-up box would be helpful for answering questions quickly. A simple word-processing option that allowed students to compose, edit, and review work would also make a nice addition.
Creative Use of Technology
This reviewer was unable to use this software with Firefox. The color coding for fixing errors, changing wording, improving spelling, etc. was helpful.
Suitability for Use in a School Environment
AP English teachers will love the Pearson Writing Coach. The e-text could be integrated into the classroom smoothly and would be effective across the curriculum.
The ability to develop a portfolio of work by a particular student from seventh through 12th grade is 21st-century thinking. Motivated students will find it easy to direct the program, which can be woven into an online environment or used at a student’s own pace. Its acknowledgement of levels makes this program adaptable for all students on campus.
The Pearson Writing Coach will help the average user or higher-level student become a better writer. It is helpful to have the textbook online and available 24/7 and to be able to bookmark or highlight information. The cost of this software could easily be added to a school’s curriculum budget. The e-text is well written, there are step-by-step directions, and the scope and sequence show improvement. The interactive graphic organizer worksheets are user-friendly. The user can easily switch from e-text to smartboard use. The layout of the pages is fresh and eye-catching.
- The e-text book is well put together, effectively written, and educationally sound.
- The student can get good feedback and make changes to written work before submitting it.
- This product reinforces what is already being shared in the classroom, and it is available to students 24/7.