Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Paper Rater - Proofreading & Plagiarism Detection

Paper Rater is a free service designed to help high school and college students improve their writing. Paper Rater does basic spelling and grammar checks, but the real value of Paper Rater is that it tells students if their papers have elements of plagiarism. Paper Rater scans students' papers then gives students an estimate of the likelihood that someone might think that their papers were plagiarized. Some of the other useful features of Paper Rater are style indicators, word choice evaluators, and a vocabulary sophistication indicator.

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Registration is not required in order to use Paper Rater. To have a paper rated all you have to do is paste text into the "analyze" field and click "get report." I gave Paper Rater a try this evening and found it to be very quick in processing roughly three pages of text.

Thanks to Make Use Of for the link to Paper Rater.

Applications for Education
Paper Rater could be a valuable tool for high school students to run their papers through before turning them in for a grade. Paper Rater can make students aware of potential acts of plagiarism. Paper Rater can also make students aware of changes in vocabulary that they may want to make before submitting their final papers.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Ten Resources for Preventing and Detecting Plagiarism
Creative Thinking - Lessons About Copyright

Automatic Translation in Google Chrome

Google recently announced a new feature in the beta version of Google Chrome. The beta version of Chrome now offers automatic translations of webpages without the need for plug-ins or browser extensions. Now when you're browsing the web in Chrome and you come across a webpage that is written in a language other than the one set as your preferred language, Chrome will offer you a prompt asking you if you would like to have the page translated.

The translations in Chrome, of course, are performed by Google Translate. Like most beta products, there are probably some kinks that need to be worked out. The video below offers a little overview of the automatic translation feature in latest beta version of Google Chrome.

Applications for Education
The automatic translation option in this latest version of Chrome could be handy for foreign language students, ESL/ELL students, and teachers of those students.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Collaborate on Translations in Translator Toolkit
New from Google - Dictionary & Search Translations

Hurray for Dr. Seuss's Birthday!

Did you know that today is the birthday of Dr. Seuss? Dr. Seuss would have been 106 today. To celebrate his birthday I thought I'd share some Dr. Seuss online activities and lesson ideas.

The Seussville Playground has fun online games that kids can play and printable resources for offline use. The games and the printable resources are designed with themes to match various Dr. Seuss books. One of the printable resources that I think would be fun for K-2 teachers is the "I Did Something Good" certificate created with a Horton Hears a Who theme. Another online activity in the Seussville Playground is the Seussville Story Maker which helps kids write a Dr. Seuss style story.

The Dr. Seuss Wiki created by Kathy Korty has a nice collection of Dr. Seuss based lesson ideas and activities.

Read Write Think has a good lesson plan based on the book Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?

Just for fun, here's a little Dr. Seuss video.

NOVA on Hulu

Hulu is probably best known for the numerous sitcoms, dramas, and other entertainment television shows that it makes available for free. But did you know that Hulu also offers some good educational material too? One example of the educational material you can find on Hulu is their collection of 23 full-length episodes of NOVA. While you can also view these videos on PBS Video, the advantage that Hulu offers is the option to embed the videos into your blog, wiki, or website. Of course the disadvantage is that Hulu doesn't offer teaching guides. You will have to find those on the NOVA teachers' page.
Below you will find NOVA - The Wright Brothers' Flying Machine

Here is a widget containing all of the NOVA films available on Hulu.

Crocodoc - Share and Mark-up Documents

Crocodoc is a simple service that allows users to quickly share and edit PDFs, Word documents, and PowerPoint files. Using Crocodoc does not require you to register for an account. To use Crocodoc just upload your file, select your marking tool, and get to work. Crocodoc provides a unique url for every file you upload. Share that url with the people you want to have comment on your document or PowerPoint slides. Crocodoc doesn't have nearly the number of editing options that you would find in Google Docs or Zoho Writer, but Crocodoc does have the advantage in simplicity as it doesn't require users to have accounts in order to collaborate.

TechCrunch and Larry Ferlazzo both had good things to say about Crocodoc last week.

Applications for Education
Crocodoc is a very simple service that could be quite useful for students to peer edit each other's documents and slides. The sticky note option in Crocodoc could be useful for writing suggestions in the margins of a document while still giving the document's creator the final creative control.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Scriblink - Your Online Collaborative Whiteboard
Scribblar - Simple, Effective, Creative Collaboration
Postica - Collaborative Sticky Notes