In December 2008, Crick Software introduced Write Online. Write Online (WOL) is a writing tool that can be accessed online and offline allowing students to use it on any computer at any time. Each subscriber is assigned a login and password. Also, WOL doesn't depend on an Internet connection while it's running. Rather it uses the power of your own computer, so it's just as responsive as an installed application. WOL is set up similarly to MS Word, but with two key added features: Word Bar and Word Prediction.
The word bar is a word bank feature that can be subject specific, and the banks can be customized easily. The word prediction feature is very powerful and can also be highly customized to best and most appropriately support the user in writing.Finally, this program also has auditory feedback to support a user in editing their work.
I recommended a trial of WOL for a student in an elementary school in southern New Jersey. The purpose for the referral was that, due to CP, she had difficulty writing using traditional methods, such as paper and pencil. Her writing was slow, laborious, and sometimes illegible. She had been using the computer for writing using MS Word, which was more efficient than using paper and pencil. However, she was typing at a slow speed because she was primarily using one hand access the computer. She has good knowledge of grade level (and above) vocabulary, but typing long words required several keystrokes, and she typically used simpler vocabulary that was shorter to save time and energy.
Finally, she wanted to be able to use a program that she could access in school and at home easily. This is why the school team trialed WOL.
The student, as well as her school team are extremely enthusiastic about using WOL, and have found the main features in the program (both the Word Bar and Word Prediction) to be extremely beneficial in increasing her efficiency in typing. She has been keeping up with her peers in the writing process this year. Additionally, the school team has discussed possibly using this program with other students who would also benefit from support in writing.
WOL has helped this student become more efficient and independent in her writing at school. I am looking forward to continuing to work with her and her school team to incorporate WOL into her writing in school and beyond.