Tech Tool Intro: Co-Writer

Co-Writer is both an iOS app and web extension tool that is one of the multiple educational technology products available from Don Johnson Inc. Co-Writer utilizes word prediction and speech recognition capabilities in order to assist students with writing difficulties as well as decoding difficulties (Ok, 2018).

Co-Writer is available as an iPad app, a Google Chrome extension, and a Microsoft Edge extension. Before use, a free trial must be initiated or an individual or school-wide subscription must be purchased. Once the program is downloaded, students have the ability to use Co-Writer features while typing in the Co-Writer notebook, Google Drive applications, word processing programs, and web browsers. The program uses the Neuron word prediction engine, which follows natural thinking processes as well as content-specific dictionaries in order to offer a list of possible vocabulary words for students to use in their sentence production. Co-Writer can be specifically beneficial for students who struggle with frequent spelling errors or who often have inventive spelling because it will recognize spelling errors and again offer potential substitutions to students. Another feature of this program is its’ speech recognition abilities that allow users to dictate their writing through the app/extension.

Although the word prediction, spelling correction, and dictation features that Co-Writer offers are similar to the capabilities of other applications and built-in accessibility tools, Co-Writer stands out in its unique read-aloud abilities. Students can select words, phrases, sentences, or larger selections of their writing to be read aloud to them. Also, when the list of predicted words or possible corrections are offered, students can swipe on the individual word choices in order to have them read aloud and determine if any of the word choices offered are what they intended or would like to use in their writing This can be a helpful feature for students in the editing and revising process of writing, especially for students with dyslexia and those who struggle with differentiating between different forms of root words.

Overall, Co-Writer is noted for its ability to help students with writing difficulties with getting past their mechanical or grammatical challenges with writing in order to be able to express their ideas, which is of growing importance in classroom writing processes and writing workshops.

Ok, M. W. (2018). Use of iPads as Assistive Technology for Students with Disabilities. TechTrends, 62(1), 95–102.

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