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Virtual Writing Tutor – Your Free English Tutor | In-Depth Review | 2019

When are you going to learn language if you use a Grammarly? This is what my mum told me when I showed her Grammarly for correcting my blogs. It made sense and I started looking out for tools that could teach me/point out exact language mistakes rather than correcting it automatically. This blog is about Virtual Writing Tutor, which I found to be like my personal English tutor.

When are you going to learn language if you use a Grammarly? This is what my mum told me when I showed her Grammarly for correcting my blogs. It made sense and I started looking out for tools that could teach me/point out exact language mistakes rather than correcting it automatically. This blog is about Virtual Writing Tutor, which I found to be like my personal English tutor.

Background - Who’s language is behind this tool?

Unlike the popular and money minting writing aids, this tool is free forever. Launched by Nicholas Walker who is a college English Second Language teacher living and teaching French-speaking college students in Montreal, Canada. He is an award-winning ESL teacher and an award-winning author of ESL textbooks. He created the Virtual Writing Tutor (VWT) 6 years ago to help his students get more, better, faster feedback on their writing, and it has caught on with about 100,000 users per month.

To be sure, VWT is not a multimillion-dollar company, and it definitely does not compete with Grammarly and Hemmingway for market share or customers. It is a website that Nicholas created to help learners everywhere improve their English.

Analyzing my blog with Virtual Writing Tutor

The very first thing I did was put content from my popular blog on “How to Use Cornerstone Content to Kick-start Automatic-SEO?” published at ReadWrite.com into VWT. I was amazed with the results. Below are some screenshots of some errors it caught in my language.

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I herd the work Adjective or Linking Adverb post high school.

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Mistake in my punctuation marks

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Spelling mistake here

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Here is the best part. You can download or print this feedback. If you are an English language teacher, you can use this tool to give e-feedback to your students.

How does the writing process happen in schools?

Think about how students usually learn to write in English at college. They are given an assignment, which they spend a week or two writing at home. They turn it in. The teacher collects it and marks it up with red ink. Two weeks later, the teacher returns it. The student writes a second draft using the comments and corrections the teacher provided and submits it a second time for a score.

Now, look at the difficult situation the teacher is in. The teacher gave feedback on the first draft and has become a collaborator of sorts. How can the teacher fairly assess the student's achievement when the student depends upon the teacher for guidance between drafts every time? If the teacher gives a low grade, isn't it partly because the teacher's feedback was incomplete. The person who evaluates a piece of writing should not be one of the co-authors, wouldn't you agree?

Furthermore, once the course is over, the student cannot return to the teacher to get editing services from the teacher. When the course ends, the learning ends. Ironically, the feedback the teacher gives on essays written during the course feeds a dependence on the teacher for feedback on errors, but that help is quickly taken away after 12-15 short weeks, just enough time for a student to learn to doubt him or herself.

A pedagogically sound grammar checker

Remember that the Virtual Writing Tutor is a tutor, not a corrector. It lists the errors it finds underneath or to the right of the learner's text. (There are two layouts to choose from--click on the arrow button in the bottom right to toggle between layouts.) With other grammar checkers, you simply mouseclick and the problem is fixed for you. How well do you think you remember when the solution is made so easy? You will learn, but it will take much longer.

With the VWT, the learner has to remember both the error and the correction for the three seconds it takes you to find the mistake in the text area. If you can remember your errors for 3 seconds, there is a chance you will remember it for much longer.

Some users may find this revision process a nuisance because it slows the correction process down, but the VWT is built to teach learners to find errors and learn to avoid them in the future.

Whereas Grammarly and Hemmingway provide feedback exclusively in English, the VWT provides feedback in 70 different languages or reads your feedback aloud to you using text-to-speech. You need a free membership to access these features. Your email address is safe and we never send spam.

This is an interesting tool is you are a teacher

As a teacher, I know how long it takes to give feedback by hand, so I love being able to print a PDF of the VWT's feedback and give it to my student. However, what if there is a false alarm? I don't want a grammar checker to eclipse me altogether. I am that student's teacher. I want to be able to review any feedback, removing any false alarms and adding a voice recording with my spoken comments to the PDF before sending it by email to my students. The VWT allows teachers to do just that. Awesome!

The promoter trusts his students when it comes to plagiarism

Online grammar checkers usually offer a plagiarism detector to catch cheaters. The founder thought about adding one to the VWT, but decided against it. When asked he said “Why do students plagiarize? In the rare case, it is someone who wants grade without doing the work. But in most cases, it is because students are never taught how to paraphrase effectively.” Instead of checking for plagiarism, the VWT will check your paraphrase against the original text you wish to cite, and it will tell you how similar your sentences are to the original. You can keep paraphrasing until the sentences very different from each other. In this way, the VWT teaches students/learners how not to plagiarize without the teacher having to make threats or play cop.

HyperText narrative creator - unique and interesting feature

Grammarly and Hemmingway are great at eliminating common errors, but can they teach a student how to create hypertext narratives? Hypertext is how we communicate with the thousands and the millions, and hypertext narratives are a great introduction to both narrative writing and blog writing. The VWT has an HTN creator that students can use to create game-like interactive stories. They can export the code to their own blog or publish it on VirtualWritingTutor.com. It also helps users create outlines for their essays.

Pen pal exchange – invite only feature

The VWT offers a pen pal exchange. Unlike other pen pal exchanges, this one is supervised by your school teacher and is by invitation only. Teachers from different schools can match students up with pen pals. The teachers select the topics, set the required number of words, the maximum number of errors the student can make, the vocabulary you expect the student to use, and the score for replying to pen pals. Once those details have been set, the teacher can focus on teaching because the VWT corrects all errors and calculates a score for each student, notifying pen pals by email when there is a new message to reply to.

Lifelong learning for everyone says the founder

“What students or anyone needs is access to lifelong learning. That's where the Virtual Writing Tutor comes in. Rather than give feedback by hand, Nichalo spend the same 10 hours a week developing doing corrections as my colleagues do, but I code error correction rules for the VWT based on the errors I see in my students' writing instead of slinging a red pen. I figure that if I correct an error with a red pen, only one student benefits. When I code an error using the VWT, the website will continue catching and correcting that error forevermore. By training students how to use the VWT and by making the VWT free forever, the learning never ends. I never turn my back on them. “

“Better still, my free grammar checker is available to learners all over the world. My colleagues correct 75 papers a week and it makes them irritable. I can (and do) correct 25 000 drafts a week and return to my classroom happy and refreshed, with a smile on my face. “

Final verdict

If you are a student or a learner of language, this is the tool you should use. If you do not want to improve your language or want a machine to fix your language; go ahead and use the popular writing aid tools. But my sincere advice is to use this for your best content, not because of the accuracy, but learning the language while writing it.

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