Spellbank - Semerc

Reviewed by Emma Brown
Buckingham Middle School

Price Single User: 25
Site Licence: 50
Platform: Acorn
Key Stage: 2/3
Curriculum Area: English

This is a spelling aid for children. It is an on screen dictionary which can be used alongside a wordprocessor. When the children are stuck on how to spell a word they can type it into the spellbank. Spellbank provides a list of possible correct spellings, the child clicks on the correct spelling and then on 'insert' to add it into the text. The words offered are generally a good match and most of the time the word the children wanted was available.

Specific spelling banks can be built up for individual children and topics. There was some scope here for working collaboratively with the children to make these. It gave the opportunity to discuss spelling, to talk about words which may be a problem generally and words which may be a problem related to a certain topic. Working this way meant that some more adventurous words could be put in the spellbank to help extend the child's vocabulary. Unfortunately lists of words can be somewhat daunting to some children and there is no way around this with this particular program.

This work was mainly carried out with special needs children, although if I continued using it I would use it with more able children, as this particular spelling program is not the best for supporting children with special needs.
On the whole neither I nor the children this product particularly easy to use and unfortunately I got little help from the Semerc helpline.

The main disadvantages to this program are:

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