There’s a very helpful article on Don Johnston’s website (www.donjohnston.com/products/cowriter/word_prediction.html) outlining some key points in comparing word prediction engines. It looks at the three different kinds of word prediction:
- word completion — what you find in Word and Excel where you type J a n and it predicts January)
- Bigram/Trigram Prediction (patterns) — what you find in a lot of commercial word prediction tools
- Linguistic Word Prediction — based on grammar, sentence structure, common student mistakes, phonetic spelling etc., what Co:Writer does.
If you want to see the difference in action try these examples in Co:Writer and/or in another tool:
- Dogs are furry. (noun, verb, adj.)
(When you typed d-o, did you get plural noun choices? You did using Co:Writer SE!)
- Three very mangy dogs ran down the street. (adj., adv., adj., noun, verb…etc.)
(After typing three, very, mangy, you get plural noun choices, then you get plural verb tenses. This is the type of prediction you will NOT get with pattern prediction products.) All word prediction should be able to get simple sentences like, “I am happy.” or, “The fish is swimming.” with minimal keystrokes. If a student has to type fis for “fish”, the prediction is not good enough. As students learn to write richer sentences, Co:Writer SE goes beyond ‘simple’ by utilizing advanced linguistic prediction. It provides the critical modeling of word forms, subject-verb agreement and pronoun and article use.