Using AI spelling and grammar tools for learning

Using AI spelling and grammar tools for learning

How can AI-based grammar tools improve literacy skills?

Imagine someone looking over your shoulder, reading every word you wrote and pointing out every misplaced comma or every wrongly spelt word. It might be annoying, but the feedback's immediacy would spur your learning.

Artificial intelligence can be your kids' pedantic but effective teacher to improve their grammar.

Modern AI-based proofreaders perform this job superbly. When you use one of these for the first time, you will likely be surprised to see how many mistakes creep into your writing. Clicking on the coloured lines explains the type of error and the breach of grammar detected by the app. You're learning the rules.

Soon, you recognise the errors without clicking on the explanation, even if, to you, it is an entirely new grammatical rule. You've understood the rules.

Next, you'll begin to notice you're making a mistake as you write. You're beginning to apply the rules.

Eventually, you'll spot the errors without even activating the proof-checking service. You've learned to apply the rules.

How does using AI-based grammar help kids learn?

The greater the time between making a mistake and seeing how to correct it, the less impact it has on learning. Kids see the error and fix it as they absorb its context much more than if they wait for a teacher to mark their work and return it the next day.

Do I need to use a dedicated AI-based grammar app?

General-purpose AI-based chatbots don't produce outputs as grammatically accurate as dedicated grammar tools. They can even include spelling mistakes. There are various reasons this might happen based on how they are trained or the content of the training material. For this reason, we don't recommend using general-purpose chatbots as grammar tutors.

Interestingly, even tools like Grammarly with a built-in text generator do not produce perfect grammar until you put it through the main app. When you copy AI-generated text across, the text will show simple errors like missing commas in compound sentences. Chatbot AI learned from human-produced text, such as that on the internet, which contains errors and typos. Dedicated grammar apps pay more attention to this area.

Do I need to pay for a Grammar app?

Not necessarily. The free tiers of these apps can detect the most common errors, such as missing commas or when a subject does not agree with a verb. The pro features include more sophisticated checking and stylistic suggestions.

For example, the pro versions can detect and suggest improvements for writing using the passive voice or splitting infinitives. Neither of these is technically wrong, but they can change the tone of text or be inappropriate in some types of writing. However, kids still building their basic punctuation skills need not worry about it.

How do you tell if kids use Artificial Intelligence to cheat or avoid learning?

If an app is pointing out errors and fixing them with a single click, how do you know if kids are not relying too much on artificial intelligence?

Artificial intelligence is not infallible. Accepting all of a proofreading app's suggestions will often lead to some awkward phrases or even completely altered meanings. They are good at choosing the correct words (such as their/there), which was once a giveaway for overreliance on spellcheckers, so it is no longer indicative.

However, grammar apps cannot read writers' minds. It can guess where a comma could go, but it might have chosen the most statistically likely place rather than where it reflects the writer's intent. It could also decide to add one where it isn't needed or remove one where it is. The result will be a valid sentence but not the intended meaning.

The approach above has benefits wherever kids write. If you notice they make many mistakes or their meanings don't make sense in the context of the writing when they do not use the app, they are not learning from its support. Ensure kids have plenty of opportunities to write without the app's support. Even in this digital age, many schools and educationalists still hold handwriting in high regard. When kids practice handwriting, keep an eye on their grammar and spelling too.

Get your kids to learn with best educational apps
Try for free