Mar 9th 2019

Business Writing

Business writing skills are essential in today’s competitive work environment. Letter writing, email writing, texts for power point presentations and many other writing assignments that involve business writing skills are necessary, on a day to day basis, in every office. Business writing can be enhanced by an automatic English correction tool that offers grammar tips and corrections. (more…)

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Mar 6th 2019

Teaching Grammar for ESL

When I started teaching ESL (English as a Second Language) I was told to incorporate grammar into my lessons, rather than teach it separately.  However, after teaching for a while, I realized that adult ESL students come from school systems that tend to teach grammar separately. Having always learned this way, ESL students expect to study grammar in isolation from other aspects of the language. They are used to such an approach, and it gives them a feeling of accomplishment.
Now, in my lesson plans, I teach grammar as a separate topic. I begin by presenting a specific grammar topic – for example, irregular past tense verbs – and then use these verbs in context, in games, in conversational activities and so on. Teaching this way is important, because grammar lessons tend to be very dry otherwise. (more…)

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Feb 28th 2019

What is Easter? Fun Facts

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Happy Easter from Ginger!

Easter is a joyous holiday celebrated by Christians in early spring. There are many
different Easter traditions, and our favorite is the Easter egg hunt.

Roots in the Middle Ages
While the Easter Bunny may seem like a modern concept, the idea of a bunny
bringing eggs for Easter is traced back to at least the 17th century. The Easter Egg
Hunt is a game where decorated, chocolate or candy eggs are hidden for children to
find.

Easter egg hunts can be fun with just a few people or an entire town. According to
the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest egg hunt in the world included
80,000 eggs hidden in an American town of just 950 people.

Virtual Easter Eggs
In today’s electronic world, virtual Easter eggs have hatched on the scene. In the
world of high-tech, internet and gaming, interesting spinoffs of the “Easter egg” have
emerged.

A “virtual Easter egg” is a hidden feature, message or joke that can be found in video
games, websites and even movies. For example, websites “hide” eggs in their sites
and ask users to “find” them.

Our 3 Favorite Google “Easter Eggs”
Google dominates the online Easter egg hunt. Their Easter eggs consist of hoaxes,
pranks and jokes on unsuspecting visitors to their site.

We have spent some time searching and here are our favorite Google Easter Eggs!
Enjoy!

1. Do the Harlem Shake.
If you search “do the Harlem shake” on Youtube, and wait a minute, the
entire search page and video previews will do their own digital Harlem Shake
right in your browser.

2. Do a barrel roll!
Searching this phrase on the Google home page will cause the page to spin
360 degrees horizontally, giving you the same perspective as if you were in a
rolling barrel.

3. Have Gmail wash your clothes.
If you go to the Gmail Suggest a Feature Page, you can suggest Gmail to do your laundry. (Go to Gmail > New Features > Help > Additional Resources > Suggest a Feature > Feature Suggestions Page > Helpful Additions.)

Can you find any Easter eggs on Ginger’s site?

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Feb 26th 2019

How to Help Students with Dyslexia Using Ginger?

Brian S. Friedlander, Ph.D

When I first came across Ginger sometime last spring, I was struck by the quality of the spell checking and the innovation that I saw. While I was excited to learn about this new innovative assistive technology, it wasn’t until I actually used it with students diagnosed with dyslexia that I saw how valuable it was to them. Students who have been diagnosed with dyslexia typically present with a learning disorder that impacts in the areas of reading and well as in written language. While dyslexia impacts in a student’s ability to read, more often than not, it also impacts more in their ability to write. Typically, students with dyslexia will have trouble organizing their ideas, spelling words correctly, and constructing clearly organized paragraphs. This is where Ginger can assist. Unlike other spell checking applications, Ginger is unique and uses algorithms and a database to seek out the context of how the word is being used. With these methodologies, Ginger is able with a very high degree of probability to correctly suggest the word that was intended by the writer. If you have worked with students with writing disabilities, you know just how challenging it is for them to get their ideas down on paper due to their spelling difficulties. In many cases, students with writing disabilities will choose to use smaller words that they know they can spell, then take the risk of spelling a word they want to use but just can’t figure out how to spell it. Even when these students use a standard spell checker, more often than not the word they want is not suggested because they are so far afield. Students with dyslexia typically spell very phonetically or will tend to drop out letters that they just don’t hear in the word. This is where Ginger comes in. Ginger allows the student the ability to get their ideas down without slowing them down and forcing them to check their spelling. The idea of fluency is important when writing and for all of us who do writing you know that the most important part of the process is getting your ideas down first before you edit. Using other writing assistive technologies has a tendency to break that flow, and force the student to focus at the word level, instead of allowing the student to get their ideas down.

Ginger allows students the freedom to know that they can get their ideas down first and when they are finished, they can invoke Ginger to check their work. This really frees up the students to use words that they might not even want to attempt to try, because they know that Ginger is in the background ready to assist them when needed. Ginger has the uncanny ability to look at not only the misspelling, but to look at the word in context to help make the appropriate suggestion. The ability to process the student’s written work after they are done writing one sentence at time really helps the student to focus on their intent and to see if their ideas flow. If needed, students can use Ginger’s text to speech (TTS) supports that comes with a Premium Membership to listen to the computer read their work and the suggested words. All in all, Ginger provides a level of support that will give students the confidence to get their ideas out with the words that they want to use. If you are working with students with dyslexia and spelling disorders, I urge you to take a test run of Ginger and download the 14 day trial and see what happens. While Ginger works great for student with dyslexia you should also consider it for students who are just starting to write and for English Language Learners whose native language is not English.  Like myself, you will be amazed just how good this software is in providing students with the spelling supports they need.

In recognition of National Dyslexia Awareness Month, Ginger Software is offering a 20 percent discount to home users until the end of November. You can go to the Ginger Software Store by clicking here

In my next post, I will take a look at the text to speech capabilities (TTS) in Ginger Premium to support students who may have difficulty reading the suggested corrections.

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Feb 24th 2019

Savvy Sunday – What do you mean by ‘enormity’?

We all know that ‘enormous’ is used to describe something that is huge. Since ‘enormous’ is an adjective (a descriptive word), what is the noun of ‘enormous’?

Did you guess ‘enormity’?

If you did, you are way off! Former U.S. President, George HW Bush, made the same mistake when he described his feeling after being elected.

‘Enormity’ is the noun that means extreme evil.

To some, it must have been very foreboding when George HW Bush said “he couldn’t believe the enormity of what had happened” after winning the election. To others who knew the correct meaning of the word, that would have been one of the greatest embarrassments ever.

So while 2 words might have very similar spellings, do not assume they have related meanings! The English language is full of its own peculiarities. So always use Ginger Software to avoid embarrassing mistakes and improve your English! =)

The Ginger Team

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