7spell is scientifically designed, and utilizes principles based on decades of research in learning, retention, and psychology. Here is a summary of the theory and research behind 7spell's effectiveness.
Craik, F., and Tulving, E. "Depth of processing and the retention of words in episodic memory." Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, Vol 104(3) (1975): 268-294. Print and PDF. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0096-3422.214.171.1248
In this seminal study performed at the University of Toronto, Canada, the authors performed a series of tests in which they gave the study participants a sequence of words to learn, with information related to each word as it appeared in order. They discovered that when the information provided stimulated the participant's brain to process the word on a more involved level (referred to as "deep encoding" or "degree of elaboration" in the study), that word was more effectively learned and remembered. With 7spell, the user is given a wide range of additional information about each spelling word, including the word's definition - one of the key factors in enhanced memory, according to this study - as well as usage examples, synonyms, and antonyms.
Garcia, S.M., Tor, A., and Schiff, T.M. "The Psychology of Competition: A Social Comparison Perspective." Perspectives on Psychological Science, November 2013, 8(6):634-650. Print and web. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1745691613504114
Each person is influenced by a unique set of factors related to their own status and progress towards goals, but is also affected to a greater or lesser degree by the achievements and perceived standards of the people around them. This analysis of past and current studies looks at the way people view and are motivated by individual goals as well as societal achievement (competition). The authors conclude that effective use of motivational strategies must take both into account. This is something that 7spell accomplishes by providing each user with the ability to set personal goals, earn reward points, and view their own progress tracking reports, and also to publish all of those results on public social media platforms.
Kivetz, R., Urminsky, O., and Zheng, Y. "The Goal-Gradient Hypothesis Resurrected: Purchase Acceleration, Illusionary Goal Progress, and Customer Retention." Journal of Marketing Research, February 2006, 43(1):39-58. Web. http://dx.doi.org/10.1509/jmkr.43.1.39
In a study focusing on the influence of reward-scheme programs on behavior, the authors found that when people see visible progress towards their goals they are more likely to increase the activity required to reach those goals. The study also confirms that most people are also motivated by receiving rewards for completing specific activities, even if those rewards are not immediately transferable to actual material or monetary benefits. Status points, rewards, and real-time progress tracking are all methods used in 7spell to encourage frequent spelling practice by awarding points for the completion of exercises and activities. Because the user can access their progress charts at any time, they will always be able to see how close they are to achieving their personal spelling goals.
Buton, M., Winterbauer, N., and Todd, T. "Relapse processes after the extinction of instrumental learning: Renewal, resurgence, and reacquisition." Behavioural Processes, May 2012, 90(1): 130–141. Print and web. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.beproc.2012.03.004
Instrumental learning, also called "operant conditioning," is a method by which behaviors are learned in connection with a stimulus, a reward, or both. In this research done at the University of Vermont, the authors studied the ways in which the information connected to a specific behavior is retained when the stimulus is removed, and how subsequent repetition or reward reinforces information recall and a resumption of previously learned behaviors. They conclude that there are two primary methods of reinforcing active memory and behavior: by creating a different way to test the subject's memory, and by providing the opportunity for intensive focused repetition of that stimulus-behavior response. These two methods are widely used in the 7spell activities and games to create the link between instruction and memory that is so crucial in effective spelling learning on the student's part.
Xue, G., Mei, L., Chen, C., Lu, Z-L., Poldrack, R., Dong, Q. "Spaced Learning Enhances Subsequent Recognition Memory by Reducing Neural Repetition Suppression." Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 2011;23(7):1624-1633. Print and web. http://doi:10.1162/jocn.2010.21532
In this study comparing long-term and short-term memory, the study authors tested the neural activity of participants as they memorized a set of images. Half of the study participants used massed learning techniques, in which each new image was presented multiple times in a row; the other half were given the images in a spaced repetition mode, where the images were shown in alternating order. Although each participant saw each image the same number of times, the people in the spaced-repetition exercise were able to accurately remember more images, and for a longer period of time. Repetition is a key technique in learning spelling, and 7spell incorporates spaced repetition in two ways. First, the system uses randomized selection of spelling words from the user's current list to populate the activities and exercises, ensuring an interval between word reviews. Second, the system's Word Discover feature provides pop-up instant review of the words on that list, again in random order. By providing users with multiple opportunities throughout the day to read and review their words, 7spell provides all of the benefits of the spaced repetition methodology in its spelling instruction.
Blocki, J., Cranor, L., Datta, A., and Komanduri, S. "Spaced Repetition and Mnemonics Enable Recall of Multiple Strong Passwords." Cornell University Library, January 3, 2015. PDF. http://arxiv.org/abs/1410.1490v2
Spaced repetition is a memory training tool that relies on frequent and consistent review of information; mnemonics is a memory technique that involves multiple ways of looking at that information, such as the incorporation of images or story lines. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University focused on the combination of spaced repetition and mnemonics in evaluating how best to train people to remember specific pieces of information: computer passwords. They found that by combining the two methodologies, the results in both ease of learning and retention were increased. 7spell uses each method separately and together to help users learn and remember new spelling words by using the same words in multiple exercises, presenting spelling words in a variety of formats, and encouraging users to add information related to each word to make a personal connection that helps them to remember that word and its correct spelling.
Take a moment to think: how much text have you written throughout last week? No, we’re not talking about actual writing with pen on paper; it seems like no one does that nowadays. We’re talking about texts, emails, social media updates, comments on blog posts and Reddit, reports for your boss if you’re working, homework assignments if you’re a student…
Now think: did you proofread all that content? If you’re like most other people, you probably thought that proofreading was a waste of time because you were in a hurry to send the messages and updates. You’re wrong! The least you could do is starting using the Ultimate Spelling spellchecker, which will instantly improve the impression you’re leaving with your writing.
Michelle Roberts, a professional proofreader from EduGeeksClub.com, explains how important it is for people to proofread every single sentence they write: “Weak instead of week, your instead of you’re, bitch instead of beach… I’ve seen plenty of misspellings throughout my career and let me tell you one thing: they are embarrassing. Are you one of those people who don’t care about spelling because they think no one else cares? Guess what: your teachers care, your potential employers care, and all people you contact definitely care about the way you spell.”
An automated spellchecker will help a lot, but keep in mind that it lacks the human element, so you’ll have to make at least some effort to proofread on your own. Don’t worry; that’s not an overwhelming challenge. Continue reading and you’ll find few simple exercises, which will help you to become the proofreading master.
Exercise 1: Find 7 errors in the following text:
Do you think practice make perfect? It does, but only when you’re practice is proper. When your used to wrong spelling, your contunuously practicing the mistakes. If you have doubts of the way you spell, than you need to check a dictionary. Write the misspelled words in your personnel dictionary and practice proper writing.
Exercise 2: Retype the following text in a word processor, but make sure to correct the mistakes along the way. You should identify 7 mistakes.
Margaret Thatcher was one of the most famous politician in the history of Great Britain. She was the leader of the conservative party for 15 years, and a Primer Minster of UK for 11 years. She got the nick name Iron Lady because of her tough leadership style.
Before becoming a barister, she was a research chemist. Thatcher became the first women to lead a major political party in the UK.
Exercise 3: Read this passage out loud. Is there something wrong with it? Then, retype it to correct the mistakes!
I have an inovative idea: lets practice mispeling and usage wrong gramar as much as possible. Who cares if people cant understand what I write? Ill leave it all to spelcheck to corect. I beleive in the prinsiple of freedom, we shouldnt waste time on proofraeding.
Exercise 4: Retype this text without reading it first. Try to correct the mistakes as you go.
It was realy cold yesterday. Everyone were wearing coats. There hands were cold and there faces unhappy. People were standing like statues waiting for the next bus, and they were verry quet to. Yesterday wasnt a good day.
Exercise 5: Make sure to correct the following sentences regarding proper use of apostrophe.
In my honest opinion, those were our table’s. However, Richards children looked so disappointed, that we had to look for another place to sit. We found four table’s near the windows and everyone was happy at the end. Seeing the childrens’ smiles was a precious moment for us, knowing that we did something good.
Be careful; don’t read these answers before you practice the exercises above. The point in practicing is to make your own efforts. With time, you’ll get better at proofreading and you’ll start writing much cleaner text. Now, check out the answers to the exercises above, and see if you got the right answers:
Answer to exercise 1
Do you think practice makes perfect? It does, but only when your practice is proper. When you’re used to wrong spelling, you’re continuously practicing the mistakes. If you have doubts of the way you spell, then you need to check a dictionary. Write the misspelled words in your personal dictionary and practice proper writing.
Answer to exercise 2
Margaret Thatcher was one of the most famous politicians in the history of Great Britain. She was the leader of the Conservative Party for 15 years, and a Primer Minister of UK for 11 years. She got the nickname Iron Lady because of her tough leadership style.
Before becoming a barrister, she was a research chemist. Thatcher became the first woman to lead a major political party in the UK.
Answer to exercise 3
I have an innovative idea: let’s practice misspelling and using wrong grammar as much as possible. Who cares if people can’t understand what I write? I’ll leave it all to spell-checker to correct. I believe in the principle of freedom. We shouldn’t waste time on proofreading.
Answer to exercise 4
It was really cold yesterday. Everyone was wearing coats. Their hands were cold and their faces unhappy. People were standing like statues waiting for the next bus, and they were very quiet too. Yesterday wasn’t a good day.
Answer to exercise 5
In my honest opinion, those were our tables. However, Richard’s children looked so disappointed, that we had to look for another place to sit. We found four tables near the windows and everyone was happy at the end. Seeing the children’s smiles was a precious moment for us, knowing that we did something good.
You’ll find chances to practice everywhere around you. Billboards, Facebook statuses, tweets, and blog posts – all these resources are great for finding spelling mistakes. Remember: every single thing you write makes an impression. When you want to leave an impression of a smart, well-educated individual, you have to proofread your text!
Author’s BioJoan Selby is an ESL teacher and blogger from sunny California. Former CalArts graduate and fancy shoelover. A writer by day and reader by night. Giving creative touch to everything. Find her on Twitter and Facebook