New Co:Writer 6® Word Prediction Software -- Assistive Technology Tool Guides Struggling Writers to Write Grammatically-Correct Sentences with Proper Spelling

Educators teaching struggling writers and students with special needs can use Co:Writer 6 to break through students' writing and spelling barriers and improve their self expression. This assistive technology writing tool is especially effective for students with physical, cognitive and learning challenges and for students with autism spectrum disorders. The software uses sophisticated logic and context clues to create accurate word predictions, even if students spell words phonetically or inventively.

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Co:Writer 6 works in many computer and web programs including MS Word, Outlook, Internet, Blog, Wiki, Facebook, and Instant Messaging

Today, more than 6000 U.S. schools and districts use Co:Writer to support students with learning disabilities and physical challenges

Volo, IL (PRWEB) October 14, 2009

Don Johnston Inc., the leader in assistive technologies, just released Co:Writer 6, a word prediction tool that helps struggling writers break through spelling and grammar barriers to improve self-expression.

Co:Writer 6 acts like a personal writing assistant to predict words students wish to write, but cannot easily spell. As students write, Co:Writer presents the predicted words in a list that is read aloud. When the student hears the word they wish to write and select it, the word is placed in their document. The software uses sophisticated logic including grammar and context clues to create accurate word predictions, even if students spell words phonetically or inventively, like the word elephant written as lfnt.

This simple-to-use writing tool is especially effective for students with physical, cognitive and learning challenges and for students with autism spectrum disorders. Special educators and assistive technology teams have chosen Co:Writer for 18 years as a proven writing accommodation on students' Individual Education Plans (IEPs).

Co:Writer 6 includes several dictionaries that are age-appropriate for the beginning writer all the way up to college students who struggle to write because of dyslexia or physical disabilities. Hundreds of curriculum-aligned Topic Dictionaries also come with the program. Teachers and students can quickly customize their Topic Dictionaries based on daily instruction or a student's particular interests, preferences or hobbies.

The Co:Writer 6 writing tool floats as a small window on the computer screen and can be used in any computer program such as MS Word, Outlook, Internet Explorer, Firefox, and web applications like Facebook, Gmail, blogs, wikis and instant messaging services. New and improved features of Co:Writer 6 include:

  •     Redesigned single-window interface is simple, discrete and intuitive
  •     Human-sounding Acapela 6 speech engine helps students self-assess their writing
  •     Word Bank breaks writer's block through the use of word lists and clouds
  •     200 Topic Dictionaries align with curriculum from Dinosaurs to Jane Goodall to William Shakespeare to the American Revolution
  •     30-minute tutorial gets teachers and students up and running quickly
  •     Network-ready functions integrate seamlessly with school networks

"Today, more than 6000 U.S. schools and districts use Co:Writer to support students with learning disabilities and physical challenges," said Kevin Johnston, Director of Business Development at Don Johnston Inc. "There is absolutely no excuse for any student to be labeled as a non-writer or incapable of fully expressing their thoughts now that Co:Writer 6 technology is widely available."

Barbara Wollak, M.S., CCC-SLP at Highland Park Jr. High School, St. Paul Public Schools, MN and Dr. David Koppenhaver, a Professor at Appalachian State University, NC use Co:Writer in an authentic email pen-pal exchange between students with developmental delays at Highland Park Jr. High School and college undergraduate students studying to become educators. "For the past eight years, we have seen our students' writing, reading and communication skills improve at Highland Park," said Mrs. Wollak. "Using Co:Writer, students take turns asking and responding to questions in email and in our blog. This assistive technology writing tool provides the scaffolding our students need to be successful and stretches the limits of what is possible for students with disabilities."

In 2008, an independent study published in the Journal of Special Education Technology, (JSET) demonstrated the writing performance of 5th graders using Co:Writer in Dayton Ohio Public Schools. Over a seven-week period, these students' writing skills improved in four key writing metrics: writing rubric scores, accuracy, spelling and number of words written. With Co:Writer, students achieved higher percentages of legible words, correctly spelled words, correct word sequences and consecutive sentences.

Co:Writer 6 runs on the latest operating systems including Mac OS 10.4+, Windows XP and Vista. Single licenses start at $325. An Unlimited Site License starts as low as $1900 per site and includes take-home privileges for students and teachers. The network ready Unlimited Site License includes rights to install on every computer in a school building and offers unlimited access to any student who could benefit from Co:Writer. A 30 minute tutorial (Think It, Try It, Choose It) comes with the software.

Resource Links:

Watch Co:Writer Demo http://www.donjohnston.com/cowriter

Read Article and Watch Video: Barbara Wollak, M.S. CCC-SLP, Highland Park Jr. High School, MN - http://www.donjohnston.com/wollak-epal/index.html

Co:Writer Research and Case Studies - Word Prediction in U.S. Schools
http://www.donjohnston.com/products/cowriter/research.html

Co:Writer Topic Dictionaries and Teacher Support http://www.donjohnston.com/resources/cowriter_index.html

About Don Johnston Incorporated

Don Johnston empowers educators with specialized accessible technologies and supported reading and writing tools for students with cognitive, physical, and learning differences. Since 1980, the company has partnered with literacy experts, assistive technology specialists, speech language pathologists, psychologists, teachers, researchers, universities and scientists to develop over a dozen accessible technology products. The company also publishes Start-to-Finish®, a collection of paperback, audio and computer books for students reading below grade level.    

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