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LessonWriter is a new NY-based startup that aims to help teachers and instructors create lesson plans easily and in minutes. The company describes their service as, "develops literacy lesson plans & teaching materials from any text in a matter of minutes, allowing teachers to include English lessons in history or science class or to use this mornings news in a comprehensive, standards based lesson." There’s a demo video that explains how the service works.
Here’s how it works. You find content online on a Web page or in a document on your computer. Copy the content and paste it into LessonWriter. From there, you select the vocabulary, pronunciation and word roots to focus on in the lesson. There’s also an option to add comprehension questions in a quiz-style format. LessonWriter then creates a full, printable lessonplan with all of the created content.
I have two comments on the LessonWriter service. First, when the content is copied out of a Web page, no attribution is noted. There needs to be attribution when using another’s content for a lesson plan. Second, the end result is a very nicely formatted, printable document. Why not allow students to complete the work online? Answer the questions and allow for the fill-in blanks to be completed. This way the teacher can keep the records in a database on LessonWriter. Would certainly increase the value of the application.
The service is in beta and a note on the LessonWriter home page explains that teachers should proof everything before giving the handouts to their students. Clearly they haven’t proofed the Web site yet either – see below :)