AMONG the most fascinating developments in language arts technologies are those driven by programs often called "engines." This article takes a quick drive around the block to examine some of these engines, beginning with those found in web-based programs. The cruise then continues with a quick view of some interesting new web and CD-based software, as well as some computer-related devices using other developing technologies. The final stops on the tour will be some interesting and useful electronic devices for language arts learning.
When the term "engine" comes up, I'm old enough to think of cars, airplanes, and trains. In the technology world, however, engines are basically computer programs that can be inserted into various models of web- and CD-based software to "drive" them as they perform their programmed functions. Put another way, a software engine is a computer program (engine) whose output is computer code (fuel) that becomes the input for another computer process.
This article will present as many program types as possible, but it will not provide a full review or an examination of every available product. Pricing information will be given as available; however, many of these companies have complex pricing plans that require a phone call to obtain pricing for a specific situation.
Achieve3000 offers an excellent set of web-based literacy products for elementary and middle school students (KidBiz3000), middle and high school students (TeenBiz3000), and adult learners (Spark3000). The programs are driven by a software engine that enables individualized instruction; learners can work at their own pace and reading level.
The program's LevelSet feature provides an online summative assessment tool that sets each student at his or her own Lexile level to improve vocabulary, comprehension, reading fluency, and writing skills. Using this feature, all of the students in the same class can be …