Learning how to write well matters to us. Our primary focus at EssayJack is using technology to teach academic essay structure through scaffolding and chunking.
But once students have written an essay draft with a logical flow, what’s next?
A review of the content is needed. This is where ProWritingAid can help students take their writing to the next level, correcting common technical errors.
We’ve tested ProWritingAid out for you, and we’re happy to share our thoughts.
What is it and how does it work?
ProWritingAid is an online writing editor. The company describes the tool as a “grammar-checker, style editor, and writing mentor all in one package.” Basically, its algorithms scour writing looking for issues in areas such as grammar, style, sentence structure, and word-choice. There are over 20 areas of writing that the app reviews! The idea is to help a user improve the overall readability of essays through corrections and suggestions.
It’s also convenient to use with various integrations and versions allowing you to use it with most writing platforms. Download it to use it on a computer (Premium only), use the plug-in version for Microsoft Word (Premium only), use the web-browser extension, or just log in to the web-app to write, upload (almost any file format), or copy and paste (no loss of formatting!) any piece of writing for a review.
It’s not just for essays or students. If you’re a novelist or a blogger, then ProWritingAid might just be your new best friend.
Simple to use
We chose to look at the web-app version of ProWritingAid, as this is the one we’re most familiar with.
Once you log in to a ProWritingAid account, you’ll land on the Home page where you can get writing by clicking on the “Start Web Editor” option in the middle of the page. This takes you to a “New Document” with all the reports listed in a neat bar that sit above a blank page where you can start typing, copy & paste a piece of writing, or upload a document for a review.
Above the reports bar, there’s the Menu bar which allows you to navigate to other parts of the app. More importantly, this is also where you can choose the Settings of the review. Here, you can choose the Writing Style for your piece. With 8 different styles to choose from you’ll definitely find the style of writing you need reviewed here. The most relevant options for students at school or university are Academic, Business, and Creative.
More than just a grammar-checker
Learn as you write
There are many tools out there that check grammar, spelling, and punctuation. What makes ProWritingAid unique is their commitment to not just be a “find and fix” tool but one that teaches users where they went wrong and how to improve.
This is evident in the various help materials that have been created as a support system in and around the tool. Errors highlighted come with an option to view a written extended explanation which features a video or link to an article or quiz, giving the writer a number of ways to understand what went wrong, how to correct it, and reinforcing the learning process through an activity, where possible.
For a student writer looking to improve their essay grades, these additional learning tools can definitely be very useful. Especially, if they are learning writing remotely or just require extra support refining their content outside of classroom hours with essay assignments. (This reality is our current new-normal with Covid; if you cannot necessarily get into your Writing Centre or chat with your teacher one-on-one, these tools can really help.)
Using ProWritingAid to improve academic writing
Writing better essays with feedback
The feature that ProWritingAid is probably most well-known for is the Reports function. Students can use the various reports to identify some of the most common mistakes they make while ensuring their essay content adheres to the academic writing style.
However, the sheer number of reports that ProWritingAid offers can be overwhelming for even the most seasoned of writers. From the long list of over 20 reports they provide, we’ve isolated reports that we think would be most useful for students writing high school or university level essays:
The Plagiarism Report would also serve student writers well, but this requires additional payment or the user to have a Premium Plus plan.
The benefits for teaching and learning academic writing
For educators and students
For educators, ProWritingAid can serve as a helpful tool to reinforce lessons in grammar and style that are taught in classrooms.
For students, it’s a great way to learn how to write better independently especially if writing instruction at school or university is lacking in anyway.
EssayJack and ProWritingAid
An end-to-end experience
We’re always on the lookout for apps that are complementary to EssayJack and help students write better. This is exactly why our team is so excited about our collaboration with ProWritingAid.
We’re introducing an Automated Review feature powered by the ProWritingAid algorithms to fit our review rubrics and provide the student writer with preliminary feedback on the areas of style, vocabulary, and spelling, grammar and punctuation as well as an overall readability score.
With EssayJack’s proven ability to provide and teach students the proper structure for academic writing and ProWritingAid’s ability to provide feedback on content student writers will never have to suffer and stress about essay writing. They’ll quickly become confident writers ready to take on the world.
The two together provide and end-to-end writing experience:
Open up EssayJack and choose a template to begin drafting your essay;
Start writing following the tips and prompts in each EssayJack “chunk”;
Use the Automated Review function with ProWritingAid to get initial feedback;
Get more feedback;
Export to your favourite word processing software and submit it;
Sit back and relax.
Writing can be hard. But it doesn’t have to be.
Useful samples and examples: