Have you ever grown tired of finding ways to make spelling interesting to students? Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to make a game out of it? Well, Spell Up with Google has done just that. Spell Up is an add-on for Chrome browsers (works with all but iOS version). You can also try it out on the live Spell Up with Google site.
Once you download the free App from Google Store, it asks to use your speakers and microphone. Then it gives you words to spell and adds letters to the screen as you speak them. You work to build a tower of words, and students can compete to see who can build the tallest tower. Some students may find this frustrating, but it is a wonderful way to get students used to speech recognition.
Spell Up is also somewhat intelligent, able to adapt to harder words if the student shows herself capable. There is a dictionary and a translation if the student cannot decipher the verbal prompt. The male voice, with a light British accent, is easy to understand.
I tried Spell Up with a group of 4 students who finished their in-class project before others. It works in a noisy environment, which is the achilles heel of Speech Recognition. They started passing the laptop around and I could not get them to quit. They wouldn’t give me my laptop back until after class, when they had all leveled up. Please share your experiences with Spell Up in the comments. I’d like to know how others use it. (An inter-class competition?)