Tuesday, 12 October 2010

New website design

Welcome to Spellzone's new website design. Its been a long time in the making and we are very excited about it. Here is a round up of the new features:
  • New look page design.
  • New menu system.
  • More general information about the course and how to get the best from it.
  • Word lists section.
  • Look, cover, write, check tests for all word lists..
  • Many Look, cover, write, check tests placed throughout the course.
  • Vocabulary lists and many more still to come.
  • A dictionary on the Spellzone website which is linked from all word lists.
  • Teachers can create and share word lists.
  • Translations of all word lists and dictionary definitions making Spellzone much more user friendly for users whose first language is not English.
  • Spoken voice recordings of ALL word lists and dictionary terms.
We hope you like the new site and find the new features useful. Please let us know if you have any problems or feedback.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Are dying languages worth saving?

Every 2 weeks one of the world's 6000 languages is lost!

Should we be concerned about this? Is it important to preserve these languages or is it more important that we learn languages that will help us communicate in a global environment?

Read more about this here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-11304255

Friday, 20 August 2010

Broadband connections take centre stage in Australian elections

In the Australian election sluggish broadband speeds have become a key battleground.

The Labor government plans to create a National Broadband Network based on fibre optics at an estimated cost of A$43bn. It would offer download speeds of 100 megabits per second that would reach 93% of Australian homes and premises.

The opposition is suggesting a cheaper alternative: a A$6.3bn network, based on upgrading existing copper networks. It would reach 97% of the population, be rolled out sooner, but the broadband speeds would be slower - a minimum of 12 megabits per second.

The opposition claims the National Broadband Network will be a "great big white elephant". The government claims the opposition is offering Australians a "second-class" broadband network, which will leave the country in the "digital dark ages".

As far as Spellzone is concerned 12 megabits is plenty both for our course and for most educational use, in fact for almost all internet use it is fine. I guess the argument is more about the future of the internet in Australia but still I would imagine 12 megabits will remain fine for most users for quite a few years. As with all elections the argument becomes polarised, perhaps the best solution is to go with the cheap option, especially in the current economic climate and then gradually move to the fibre optics solution over a period of time - isn't that happening in the UK? Or does the installation of fibre optics take so long that the job needs to be started well in advance of it being operational?

Monday, 25 January 2010

The Gender Gap

I have just been sent a very interesting article on Twitter.

The Article explains that popular belief is that girls are at a disadvantage in the classroom - however recently it seems to be boys who are disadvantaged with girls getting better results.

There are different theories as to why this may be so, such as: measures to better serve the needs of girls have put boys at a disadvantage, a lack of reading material for boys, a lack of male teachers and also less time for play in busy schedules at school.

Another theory is that literacy has in recent years has been pushed onto earlier years and it seems girls pick up reading earlier. Perhaps boys can fall behind at this early stage and once boys have fallen behind it maybe difficult to catch up.

Whatever the reasons the article suggests 3 steps for helping boys with their literacy and spelling:
- Make reading and writing guy friendly
- Increase opportunities for recess
- Tap into private tutoring

I believe that Spellzone can help here, either alongside a private tutor or just as a course to help a student along with their spelling. It is possible to let a student work their way through the Spellzone course with either a minimum of supervision or with help from an adult and all their results and progress will be stored so that parents, tutors and teachers can regularly assess their progress.

The article can be found here:


Sunday, 24 January 2010

Spellzone gets blogging

Welcome to the Spellzone blog.

The Spellzone team consists of Shireen Shuster who has written the successful Spellzone course and many successful books such as 'Spelling essentials' and 'Stile dyslexia', Barry Perks who is responsible for our marketing and design and Tarot Conway (thats me) the Spellzone web designer.

We are passionate about the teaching of Spelling and the teaching of the English language in general. We believe the same basic learning principles apply to the teaching of english and spelling to children, teenagers and adults regardless of whether this is for use in schools, homes, language schools or for business.

In future blogs we hope to address various issues which pop up in the news regarding spelling and new research which becomes available. In fact there has recently been quite a lot of exciting developments which I hope to report on here very soon. However for the moment I shall just introduce the Spellzone team (done that) and the Spellzone course.

Spellzone is an online course to help people improve their spelling. It is aimed at older students and adults - in general ages 11 upwards. However younger students have successfully used the course and it can be useful for advanced students younger than 11 years. Also the course is not only for native English speakers - it is very useful for students learning English as a foreign language although their English first needs to be at quite an advanced level. It is very common that students of English as a foreign language can have good spoken and even written skills but their spelling still needs some work. Spellzone allows them to work on their spelling skills individually at their own speed and this is why many language schools have been using Spellzone.

for more information visit www.spellzone.com