Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Introducing the SentenceWeaver(TM)

We're almost ready to beta test an iPad version of my GrammarTrainer, and so I thought I'd "scoop" it here, now.

(And, in the process, I thought I'd mention its name with its trade mark a few times so as to claim it before someone else does).

Here goes:

The SentenceWeaverTM

A unique, interactive tool for language learning in autism

The SentenceWeaverTM is an interactive tool for children with language delays, particularly autism. It helps these children put words together into phrases, basic sentences, and, eventually, long complex sentences. It also helps children learn proper pronoun use and perspective-taking skills.

The SentenceWeaverTM is unlike any other linguistic software tool currently available. It is unique both in terms of methodology, and in terms of breadth and depth of topics.


*Unlike other programs, the SentenceWeaverTM doesn’t tell just users that their answers are right or wrong, but highlights what’s wrong with their answers.

*Unlike other programs, the SentenceWeaverTM doesn’t just give away the correct answers, but interactively helps the user to construct correct answers through step-by-step self-corrections.

Breadth and depth of topics:

*Unlike other programs, the SentenceWeaverTM extends far beyond basic phrases and sentences to include all the fundamental sentence structures of English.

*Unlike other programs, the SentenceWeaverTM teaches all pronoun forms, all verb forms, and abstract prepositions.

*Unlike other programs, the SentenceWeaverTM teaches all types of subordinate clauses, including those that enhance Theory of Mind reasoning skills.

Beyond mere comprehension to productive language:

*Unlike other programs, the SentenceWeaverTM teaches users how to actively produce phrases and sentences, not just how to passively comprehend them.

Beta testing:

We are currently beta-testing two completed modules of the SentenceWeaverTM: PhraseTrainer and Pronouns.

PhraseTrainer, a basic phrase training module, has users constructing simple phrases and sentences in order to answer questions about shapes and colors.

 Pronouns, a higher-level module, has users determining proper pronoun use by watching the gestures and eye gaze of animated characters with speech bubbles.

Related to this, here's a brief commentary on things to watch out for in programs that purport to teach grammar, excerpted from this book:
With programs that claim to teach grammar, there are several things to watch out for. Is the main focus really on grammar and its general rules and structures, or is it on vocabulary and specific phrases? If the program does focus on general rules, are these the kinds of grammar rules that language-impaired students need help with and that have been our focus throughout this book—word order and word endings—or are they the kinds of rules aimed at all students—part of speech labels, rules specific to the standard dialect, and the conventions of written language (punctuation, the spelling of homophones, and rules of style). Here, it’s important to distinguish between “school grammar,” also called “prescriptive grammar,” which many students need help with, and the more basic grammar discussed throughout this book, which only language-impaired students need help with.
Once you’ve insured that the latter sort of grammar is addressed by the program, there are additional questions to ask. Does the program teach this grammar explicitly, or merely provide incidental exposure? Incidental exposure may still be effective, but, as discussed in Chapter 3, it’s impossible to ensure that the user is paying attention. Does the program teach productive grammar, or only receptive grammar? Receptive grammar is worth instructing in its own right, but, as discussed in Chapter 3, mastery of particular receptive grammar skills doesn’t guarantee mastery of corresponding productive grammar skills. Finally, if the program teaches productive grammar, how wide a range of structures does it teach, and how much of the grammatical work is done for the student instead of by him?


gasstationwithoutpumps said...

Sticking TM after a name does not reserve the trademark. You have to register it and actually sell a product or service to hang onto it.

Trademarks have very different rules than copyright or patents. Consult a lawyer (I'm not one).

Katharine Beals said...

I have.