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SpellQuizzer

{rw_text}Giveaway of the day for November 22, 2008 is SpellQuizzer [1].
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Installation and registration was straight forward – no having to run anything as administrator.

SpellQuizzer is aimed to help students that have spelling words to memorize for the week. And such, the program is coded around that goal.

What this program does is that it allows a user (most likely a parent, but could also be a teacher) to create a ‘list’ of words. You input the word with a ‘reminder’ to help the person who is trying to spell the word correctly know what word you are talking about. This ‘reminder’ can be written – you can type in any reminder you want…just be sure not to type in the actual word because this reminder will be displayed onto the screen when the list is being used. Or this ‘reminder’ can be verbal – you can record (you must have a mic) the reminder and it will be played back when the list is being used (i.e. if you input the word ‘Test’ you can record ‘Test’ so that the person being tested knows what you are talking about). You can also set both if you wish.

What this program does not do is that it does not come with pre-defined lists meaning. You have to download them (click here [2]). Thanks Robert for pointing this out.

When you open the program, you are prompted with 6 options:

[3]

Aside from the 6 things mentioned above, there are also a few other options you have with SpellQuizzer.

  1. You can password protect any individual feature of SqellQuizzer. Go to File -> Edit Application Options -> Security.
  2. You can do ‘maintenance’ on your current database of words, cleaning up ‘orphaned’ words (words that are not associated with any list) or make the database ‘compact’ so it uses less space on your computer. To do this, Go to File -> Edit Application Options -> Database.
  3. You can set a sound to play when a word is spelled correctly or when a word is spelled incorrectly while taking a quiz on a list. You can also change what sound will be played when the quiz is finished with no errors. To do this, Go to File -> Edit Application Options -> Sound Effects.
  4. You can change the time limit allowed for verbal reminders. Default is set to 15 seconds, but you can make this is a short or as long as you want. To do this, Go to File -> Edit Application Options -> Audio Settings.

And that basically sums up all the features of SpellQuizzer. There are, though, a few places where I think SpellQuizzer can be improved:

  1. SpellQuizzer should come with some pre-defined lists instead of having to download them. You can download lists from here [2].
  2. Increase the character limit on visual reminders for words. Currently, I maxed it out at 50 characters. I think you should atleast be able to go to 100 or give you the option to set the character limit since it can be tricky to set visual reminders without actually giving away the word.
  3. Give the option to turn on a window that will pop up if you spelled a word correctly telling you that you spelled the word correctly.

There is one thing I would like to address. A poster on GOTD posted this comment:

Going by the awful grammar in the summary of this product I wouldn’t trust it with any spelling.

While it is true that given the nature of the program, the developer/website should try to have 100% accurate spelling and grammar, the comment above is kind of irrelevant because when you create a spelling list, you set the spelling of the word. When taking a quiz, the program checks the entered spelling with the spelling you set.

Free Alternatives:

Non-digital studying

If you think about it, this program does exactly what you can accomplish if you sit down with your kid (or a kid, or anyone) and go through a spelling list one by one. The only advantage this program gives, is that it kind of creates the studying into a ‘game’ for some kids, enticing some to study more then they would otherwise.

SpellingCity.com [4] (thx Kim)

This program basically does what SpellQuizzer does, but in an online fashion and it is always free – although you must register on the website.

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You can create and save your own weekly spelling lists for your child to use.
You can also use pre-existing Sample Lists, and turn them into your own weekly spelling words.
Your child will be able to find his or her list by doing a search of your list name, teacher’s name or homeschool name.

-SpellingCity.com

PMnet Verdict: This program can be very handy for parents with little children who are learning spelling words. This program can also be useful for people who are trying to learn a language and need help mastering how to spell many words. It is simple to use, and not very resource intensive. Good program, even though it has a small niche. If you need this kind of thing, it will be worthwhile to keep this program. Otherwise, you can check out SpellingCity.com for a free alternative, although I would feel kind of uncomfertable putting my child’s activity onto a website (but that is just me).

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