Scribeasy

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Teacher Overview

Planning, preparing, inspiring, producing, marking and assessing students' writing is helped with this versatile and original tool.  Available on any device with a web-browser, Scribeasy provides a superb service for both teachers and students.

Teacher Review

Nobody doubts an author when they say that they have writer's block.  They want to write but an idea and theme have not coalesced into a coherent subject.  Yet, every day children are given writing tasks where they have the length of a lesson to form their thoughts and put them to paper.  Scribeasy helps teachers to provide the sparks of inspiration children need to get writing and the tools for the actual work and marking of it.

There are two sides to Scribeasy: the student workflow and the teacher workflow.  They both share a similar look and feel and work as a browser-based web app.  This gives it maximum compatibility across devices.  Accessing all of the tools is easy and they are categorised in a logical way.  

One issue you might find is not the fault of the app but a result of user conditioning.  The app works within a single page so as you navigate around Scribeasy, you do not leave the page but rather it updates.  This is fine until your muscle memory causes you to click the browser back button which leaves the app.  A tap of the forward button soon rectifies this with no ill effect but you may find your own inclination to use that button annoying.

Starting with the teacher experience, as it is they who will set up the Scribeasy-based lesson, an overall administrator needs to create an account for the school in general and then populate it with teachers.  These teachers then find a set of useful tools to start off their children's writing.

Subscribers get access to a huge number of pictures divided into packs.  Each one has a name, tags and a description attached to it.  These are used to form a basis for the different elements of the story.  Users can also upload their own images.

There's another useful tool here to help teachers build up a collection of images tailored to their lessons.  Full-frame rectangular images are backgrounds.  The foreground images are ones where an item or animal has been isolated.  For instance, instead of a cup of tea and a table filling the frame, the teacup has been cut out from its background.  This cutting out is very easy to do within the app as part of the upload process.  Clicking around the main image tells the app which parts to keep and which to discard.

The vast array of images are easy to keep under control as you can determine which ones are available for your own use and which ones are there for your children to use.   Students then pick up from their teacher's preparation and make a start on their writing.

From within the student section of the app, children can use the art pack defined by their teacher.  Here they lay out their scene by flipping, rotating, resizing and moving the backgrounds, objects, and characters from the art pack.  

Children will pick up new words and spellings while doing this as the different images have all of those descriptions and tags added to them.  This can be taken even further with the use of a built-in thesaurus.  The results of the use of the thesaurus can be added to the word list that the student's scene has generated.

From this point, the would-be writer has a setting, characters, objects and a word list to inspire their writing and develop their vocabulary and use of words.  After choosing the length of time for which they would like to write, they begin to do so within Scribeasy.  The length is only a guide and does not provide a hard limit on children - they can continue as long as their imagination allows.  

Both teachers and students will appreciate the help that Scribeasy has given them up to this stage in the creation of a piece of writing but it goes further.  Tools are there for refining and assessing the writing too.

Once children have finished their writing they can submit to their teacher with the click of a button.  The teacher receives a notification and can look at the writing.  An annotation tool makes it easy to highlight areas that need improvement and append a comment to them.  Overall feedback can also be added at the end.

Children then receive a notification that their work has been assessed and they can begin their refinements.  A very thoughtful tool has been added to help this process as speech synthesis can read out the comments.  In fact, this speech is available throughout the app to assist those whose writing is currently limited by their reading ability.  The voice has the slightly robotic nature of most speech synthesis but it does its job well.  

Once the teacher feels that the work is finished, a final mark and comment can be added.  If both teacher and student agree, the writing can be shared across the whole school giving the improvement of writing skills a whole community aspect.

As the length of this review shows, there is a lot to Scribeasy.  Despite this, it actually feels like quite a simple app.  Its user interface guides users well and it never feels like a steep learning curve.  Whether it is teachers planning a lesson or students writing, the tool provides valuable support without ever adding any extra burden.

The broad compatibility of the service makes it unlikely that any child will be unable to use Scribeasy in some way.  Teachers will find that it makes their planning and assembly of resources easier too.  With a variety of different subscription plans to suit different situations, Scribeasy should definitely be considered to help to raise your students' enjoyment and mastery of writing.

App Video

Inside the app

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From the Developer

Scribeasy is a writing solution that helps students of all ages and abilities to improve, to discover and be innovative through creating unique stories. 

The workflow makes it easier to get started alongside enriching vocabulary and ultimately, broadening a story start point in a way that helps them understand their world. 

By stimulating the imagination and helping students channel their creativity, Scribeasy encourages users to process bite sizes of information with which to invent original ideas.

The visual method is simple but proven to be highly effective. By composing photo-based scenes with safe and personalised images, Scribeasy provides a technique for endless learning possibilities and fun, which helps parents and teachers to support a child’s literacy, creativity and self-expression. 

The platform will continue to bring you the latest in technologies to provide everything you need and more, at your fingertips, support traditional teaching methods and help close gaps in the different learning abilities.

This testimonial sums Scribeasy up:

"What is so impressive about Scribeasy is that it not only coaches children on writing but allows them to share their stories and interact with the creative work of classmates and friends. This helps learners develop confidence in their abilities and turns writing into both an individual and group activity while strengthening reading skills at the same time! I don't think a better product exists to help young writers come out of their shell."

-Meredith Cicerchia, PhD Researcher in Applied Linguistics, University of Nottingham

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