You probably know about word prediction: those words that are suggested when you type on your cell or your tablet. Interestingly, word prediction was first created more than 20 years ago for quadriplegics who were using a headstick to press keys on a computer keyboard. That was hard physical work. Word prediction was invented to reduce the number of key strokes, save time and energy.
Then teachers realized the value of word prediction for students with spelling difficulties. Word prediction software were added to word processors at a fairly high cost (I remember a few years ago when Word Prediction software could cost $500).
The product features have evolved greatly. Now word prediction is used to:
- write with more independence, confidence and ease (struggling spellers and readers)
- save time (slow typists, one finger-typists, users who type with a mouse or a switch)
- save energy (typists who fatigue quickly or need to work hard to type)
We now find word prediction as a standard free feature when we use an on-screen keyboard. Why add a word prediction app then?
I like to add Word Prediction when an external keyboard is used instead of the on-screen keyboard and the student needs help with spelling or the student finds the audio feedback helpful (also called text-to-speech because it speaks the text). Text-to-speech can be used to confirm what letter, word or sentence was just typed. It can also be used as a reading tool, either for proofreading or to read texts from other sources in compatible format.
Of all Word Prediction products, I really like WordQ and iWordQ. It is a well designed, user-friendly Canadian product. This means that Canadian words like Moncton and New Brunswick are already in the dictionary used for word prediction.
If you are interested in other Word Prediction apps, Set BC has done a nice detailed comparison.
WordQ is available for Mac, PC and Chrome, and includes English and French. A trial version is available. The software is about $150 . The French version has French menus and the English version has English menus but both the English and French dictionaries are included so the user can write and read in either language.
iWordQ Pro is a more advanced version for College and University students.
iWordQ also includes voice recognition in new iPads. For the computer version, SpeakQ is an additional purchase.