ChapterPDF Available

Individualized Differentiated Spelling with Blogs - Implementing and Individualizing (IDeRBlog ii): An Example of a Learning Analytics Platform for the Text-Based Acquisition of Spelling Skills of Students in German



The paper depicts the Erasmus+ project “Individual DifferEntiated correct writing with Blogs - Individualizing and Implementing (IDeRBlog ii)”. IDeRBlog ii is a follow-up project evolving the result of IDeRBlog, a blogging platform for pupils aged eight and above. The project is an international cooperation between 3 countries in Europe. This paper presents an overview of possibilities in context of individualization of the exercises. Further, it covers the benefits of using the platform, e.g. learning about media competences, how to communicate online and the possibility to get individualized exercises for supported during their writing process by the feedback of the intelligent dictionary.
Draft originally published in: Leidinger N., Gros, M., Ebner, M., Ebner, M., Edtstadler, K. Herunter, E.,
Heide J., Pfeifer, S., Huppertz, A. & Kistemann V. (2020) Individualized Differentiated Spelling with
Blogs - Implementing and Individualizing (IDeRBlog ii). In: Zaphiris P., Ioannou A. (eds) Learning and
Collaboration Technologies. Designing, Developing and Deploying Learning Experiences. HCII 2020. Lec-
ture Notes in Computer Science, vol 12205. Springer, Cham. pp. 368-279
Individualized Differentiated Spelling with Blogs -
implementing and individualizing (IDeRBlog ii)
An Example of a Learning Analytics Platform for the text-based
acquisition of spelling skills of students in German
Nina Leidinger1 and Michael Gros1 and Martin Ebner2 and Markus Ebner2 and Kon-
stanze Edtstadler3 and Elisabeth Herunter3 and Jessica Heide4 and Sabine Peifer4 and
Annelies Huppertz5 and Vera Kistemann5
1 Landesinstitut für Pädagogik und Medien, Saarbrücken, Germany
2 Graz University of Technology, Graz, Austria
3 PH Steiermark, Graz, Austria
4 Grund- und Ganztagsgrundschule Saarbrücken, Dellengarten, Saarbrücken, Germany
5 Gemeindeschule Raeren, Raeren, Belgium
Abstract. The paper depicts the Erasmus+ project „Individual DifferEntiated
correct writing with Blogs - Individualizing and Implementing (IDeRBlog ii) “.
IDeRBlog ii is a follow-up project evolving the result of IDeRBlog, a blogging
platform for pupils aged eight and above. The project is an international cooper-
ation between 3 countries in Europe. This paper presents and overview of possi-
bilities in context of individualization of the exercises. Further, it covers the ben-
efits of using the platform, e.g. learning about media competences, how to com-
municate online and the possibility to get individualized exercises for supported
during their writing process by the feedback of the intelligent dictionary.
Keywords: Learning Analytics, Blog, Writing, Spelling, Orthography, Com-
1 Consortium
The partners perform various tasks within the project. The distribution of tasks and
milestones formulated in the application are discussed and evaluated in regular virtual
and face-to-face meetings. A precise allocation of the individual work packages has
already been made in the application. The PH Steiermark is mainly responsible for the
extension of the intelligent dictionary and didactic advice in the creation of spelling
exercises. Graz University of Technology is technically implementing the individual
work packages. The two practice schools test new functionalities and give feedback on
usability. Based on their feedback, adjustments to the system are made as required.
The LPM as coordinating institution is integrated in all work packages and creates
didactic materials for teaching such as lesson preparations for the individual spelling
categories. Like all other partners, the LPM is also responsible for the dissemination of
the project.
2 Writing lessons at school - analogue writing versus
digital writing in a blog
In school, a wide variety of texts are written in the classroom. In German lessons in the
area of writing, process descriptions, narrations and stories are written. In factual les-
sons, texts are written on the respective subject matter. Students also write texts in re-
ligion, visual arts and music.
All these texts are often written in analogous form in the booklet and then ideally
read and improved by the teacher. This requires the students to correct what they have
written until the text is finished, which in turn requires the complete rewriting of the
text again and again, which slows down the completion of the text. In addition, the
complete rewriting of the text is not motivating
Since the analogue text is only available in the booklet, it is not or rarely read by
others. The author of the text - in this case the pupils - has no audience. Unless the
teachers give other pupils the opportunity to read or present the resulting texts (exhibi-
tion, posters ...). This means that an essential aspect of writing texts is lost in analogue
text production. Texts are usually written for others to pass on information to the reader.
This has a negative effect on the pupils' motivation to write. It is often very low due to
the missing readership of the text and decreases more and more in the course of school
attendance. Wanting to write often turns into having to write.
In the digital form of writing on a blogging platform the procedure is similar. Stu-
dents write their text. The teacher gives feedback. On the one hand, this can be in terms
of content. On the other hand, spelling can also be discussed in the feedback. The stu-
dents improve their text.
Here, a first advantage of writing with digital media becomes clear. Pupils do not
always have to rewrite the text after the teacher has corrected it, but can continue writ-
ing and improve the text once it has been written.
After completion of all improvements in the context of the writing conference be-
tween teachers and pupils, the text is published and is then available for reading to an
audience (fellow pupils within the class community, within the school community or
all users of the Internet). The resulting text thus gains an audience. Hence, the pupils'
motivation to write increases because the text can be read by others.
3 Relevance of Spelling
Spelling is of great importance in all areas of life. The legibility of texts is increased
and facilitated by standardized spelling. Misunderstandings are avoided if words are
orthographically correct. Especially in the school system, but also in professional life
in Germany, the importance of spelling is very high. In primary schools there is a sep-
arate grade for spelling and in secondary schools the results are rated one grade lower
if the spelling is not sufficient. In professional life, too, great importance is attached to
correct spelling in many professional fields. This goes as far as that applicants handing
in application documents with poor spelling are not considered when selecting potential
new employees.
4 IDeRBlog ii Tool for free Writing and Spelling
The blogging platform IDeRBlog ii picks up on this by enabling a phase of automated
spell checking after the creation of the text throughout the process of text creation de-
scribed above.
The procedure remains basically the same as described above. However, after the
text creation phase, students are given feedback on the text they have written and the
spelling errors it contains by clicking on "Check now".
The feedback is differentiated between that of the "normal" dictionary and that of
the intelligent dictionary.
In the "normal dictionary" a potential error is displayed. Students can use the normal
methods of finding the correct spelling of the word. They look words up in dictionaries.
They ask questions or they search the Internet for the correct spelling. After having
improvement their text, students can click on "check again" to see if the word is now
spelled correctly.
Fig. 1. Note of the general dictionary in IDeRBlog ii (Screenshot
The feedback from the intelligent dictionary relates to the mistake made by the stu-
dents and gives specific feedback on the error to improve the word. After reading the
feedback, students should be able to correct the mistake immediately using the feed-
back. This requires knowledge of spelling strategies.
Fig. 2. Note of the general dictionary in IDeRBlog ii (Screenshot
In this phase of spell checking the self-written text, students receive feedback on
their spelling mistakes. This makes it easier for them to improve their spelling skills.
At the same time, they apply the spelling strategies they have learned and internalize
them by applying them during the improvement process. The described improvement
process suggests an increase in spelling competence,
Ideally, the students improve their texts until they are presented correctly and then
hand them over to the teacher.
This correction process, which is carried out by the students, makes the teachers'
work easier, as they receive texts from the students that are ideally free of errors.
However, context-based spell checking is not available even in the dictionaries used
in IDeRBlog ii. Therefore, it is possible that teachers will find a few more mistakes in
the text and report them back to the students. This feedback will also give students an
insight into the finite nature of the digital improvement of texts due to the technical
structure of spell checkers, which will only allow a context-based improvement of mis-
spellings to a limited extent by 2020.
Apart from that, teachers mainly focus on content corrections of the text and give
students feedback on the content of their texts. By using the platform IDeRBlog ii, a
digital writing conference between teachers and students is possible. Due to the fact
that they can communicate with each other asynchronously.
The aim of the writing conference is to produce a well written text, which will be
published in the final step. Only the students can publish the text they have written after
the teachers have given their approval.
5 Digital Texts versus analogue Texts
The texts created and published by the pupils can be read by members of the class,
school-wide or by all users of the Internet, depending on settings made by the teacher.
Thus, the texts and their authors gain a potential readership. In addition, classmates can
comment on texts being read within the class or school community after registration.
Hence, the text loses its static character and becomes dynamic through the interaction
between reader and author. Readers and authors enter into an asynchronous dialogue
with each other.
6 Media competence
By writing with digital devices as described above, the pupils not only acquire German
language skills but also the media skills they urgently need for their future life in a
digital society.
In addition to basic skills such as orientation on the computer keyboard and the ba-
sics of writing with digital devices for example punctuation, the basic handling of the
input device is also trained. Switching on and off as well as the correct operation of the
browser will be learned. These skills are more likely encompassed in the area of „oper-
ation and use “.
But also, competencies in the area of "acting safely and thinking about media" are
addressed by using the platform. Dealing with each other in digital communication is
not only theoretically trained, but also applied in acting on the platform. The effect of
texts can also be discussed in class, as can the way we deal with each other on the
Internet. Likewise, competences in the safe use of the Internet are trained while using
the website. The competent use of passwords can also be addressed while working with
the platform in class. At the same time, students directly apply the acquired knowledge.
In this way, the platform pursues a subject-integrated approach in which digital
knowledge and skills are imparted in German. The acquisition of skills goes far beyond
the basic skills of the operator and user. A particularly large number of skills are devel-
oped in the area of „communication and safe handling when acting on the Internet “.
7 Easy Usability
Despite all the complexity of the platform, attention is paid in all areas to increase the
usability of the platform. Navigation within the platform is kept as simple as possible
so that students have little difficulty in using the platform. Usability tests were carried
out in the first phase of the development of the platform with students who gave im-
portant hints for the improvement of the platform. Whenever new functionalities are
programmed into the platform, they are tested by the practice schools and their feedback
flows back into a continuous improvement process.
8 Learning Analytics and IDeRBlog ii
The learning Analytics approach, first systematized by Mohamed Chatti and colleagues
in 2012 [1], plays a major role in the IDeRBlog ii platform.
Chatti and colleagues [1] describe learning analytics (LA), or Educational Data min-
ing (EDM), as a process of collecting and evaluating data in digital environments and
provision of materials to the learner based on the evaluation. IDeRBlog ii has imple-
mented this approach of LA or EDM.
All of the words of the intelligent dictionary are assigned to 22 spelling categories.
The systematics of the different spelling phenomena were developed by the project
team, as well as the intelligent dictionary that picks up the spelling phenomena. All
misspelled words of a student in the intelligent dictionary are evaluated and assigned
to the corresponding error categories. After a certain number of misspellings (50) and
written words (500) a qualified statement can be made about the spelling problems of
the student. This evaluation is made available to each student.
Fig. 3. Evaluation display of the error focus for students of general dictionary in IDeRBlog ii
(Screenshot 22.01.2020)
Students will be provided with "online exercises" or "worksheets" for the individual
error foci of the students, which may vary from student to student. These can be worked
on in exercise phases and thus improve their spelling competence in their individual
error focus.
To refresh knowledge, one online course is available for each error category, which
is to be worked on by the students. The individual courses are all structured in the same
way. They offer a mixture of knowledge transfer and application of the knowledge ac-
quired within the course. In all courses, care is taken to alternate analogue and digital
practice phases.
On the first page, the spelling phenomenon is explained. The knowledge acquired
on page 1 is to be applied on the second page by the students working on a correspond-
ing online exercise which focuses on the respective spelling phenomenon. On the third
page there is a phase of knowledge transfer paired with an offline exercise in which the
students apply their acquired knowledge. On page 4 the students are provided with an-
other online exercise to work on. Finally, the students can download and print out a
worksheet, which can also be worked on at home.
Thus, IDeRBlog ii makes an important contribution to individualized spelling learn-
The evaluation provided to the students can also be viewed by the teachers. In addi-
tion, the teacher's view shows the spelling mistakes of the individual students, sorted
by spelling category, so that the teacher can see a detailed performance level of the
students. This allows an individualized support of the students in other teaching sce-
narios as well. Teachers can also view the performance of the entire class. This gives
them important information for planning their lessons.
Fig. 4. Example of a directory of misspelled words by female students (Screenshot 22.1.2020)
The evaluation adapts to the learning progress of the students and is not static. This
means that it changes automatically according to the texts written by the students.
Hence, the student evaluation loses its static character and is always up-to-date through
the use of the platform. This is a great advantage for teachers and makes their work
easier, because they do not have to evaluate the spelling skills of the individual students
anymore, but can always access the current evaluation with one click.
9 Exercises in IDeRBlog ii
The exercises and worksheets used in IDeRBlog ii are mostly the result of online re-
search. Researched exercises (online or print) were assigned to the corresponding
spelling categories and sorted by level of difficulty. In the IDeRBlog project, the PH
Vienna has created and published exercises in areas where few or no exercises were
found. The same happened with worksheets by the LPM in the first phase of the project.
All exercises have been reviewed and checked by the partner consortium. Special
attention was paid to the correctness of all exercises and worksheets. Other criteria in-
cluded common file formats in the print exercises and age-appropriate explanations in
the online exercises.
All exercises referenced in IDeRBlog ii can be accessed by students in the student
area "Practice" as well as by teachers in the adult area without registration at IDeRBlog
10 The Adult Site on the Platform
In principle, the platform is divided into the "Children's World" ( and
the "Adult Site" ( The structure of the
children's page and its possibilities for pupils were discussed above. On the adult site,
teachers in particular, but also other users or interested parties can get an overview of
the platform.
Besides the provision of the above mentioned online (
erwachsene/uebungsdatenbank-online/?no_cache=1) and print exercises
( sorted by
spelling mistake categories, users can get an insight into the structure of the platform.
A total of 15 videos describing how to use the platform are available for teachers
( In addi-
tion, teachers have access to a manual describing how to use the platform. A user man-
ual for pupils can also be downloaded and made available to pupils when they use the
platform ( Another sup-
porting material is the digital self-learning course, which also explains the basic use of
the platform (
Teachers are also provided with an overview of the idea and the main features of the
platform as well as the basic requirements that students should meet before they start
working on the platform.
In the materials section, teachers will find information about possible scenarios for
using IDeRBlog ii. It is explained how and in which teaching scenario IDeRBlog ii can
be used. The goals to be achieved in the field of media education when using IDeRBlog
ii are also presented in the adult area.
Especially interesting in this context are the writing occasions
( The 100 writing events contain
ideas about what pupils can write on the platform if they have no idea what text to write.
Fig. 5. Writing occasions sorted by topic (Screenshot 22.01.2020)
The writing events are arranged according to topics and contain not only suggestions
for what the pupils can write about but also tips on what the pupils should think about
during the writing process.
The writing events are published digitally, but can also be downloaded collectively
and used as flashcards. This gives the pupils the opportunity to choose topics for writing
in other lesson sequences and to use them in an analogue writing process.
Fig. 6. Example: Writing occasions (Screenshot 22.01.2020)
Teachers can subscribe to the IDeRBlog ii newsletter, which informs about news
and is published monthly. Teachers can also get an overview of the next training dates
in the area of further education.
11 News in IDeRBlog ii
The IDeRBlog ii platform will be funded as part of the European Erasmus+ project
from 2018 to 2021. The follow-up project is divided into different work packages. In
the following, the changes of the platform that will alter the use of the platform will be
In order to expand the user groups, a second design of the platform will be created,
so that older pupils can also use the platform with an appropriate design according to
their age.
The process of writing on the platform will be didacticized so that pupils can enter
the headline in an extra field. This way every text has a headline, which is also better
displayed on the platform.
Texts can be provided with keywords so that they are easier to find. This additional
function makes it easier to find texts as well as to work with the pupils in media educa-
tion. Keywords or tags can be discussed in class. By using this function pupils become
aware of the necessity of keywording content to make it easier to find it.
The teacher's comments after the text has been submitted by the pupil are high-
lighted. This allows students to find teachers' improvements or comments more quickly
and incorporate them into their text.
Copyright free images can be incorporated into texts, so that the appearance of the
texts and the blog changes. By implementing images, the aesthetics of the individual
blog posts is increased. Additionally, other teaching scenarios become possible. For
example, it is possible to describe images and thematize their appearance or content in
blog posts. The possibility of adding images to the blog allows media-pedagogical con-
tent to be discussed with the pupils when using the platform. Copyright aspects in the
use of images on the Internet are taken into account in the lessons.
Fig. 7. Screenshot 25.01.2020
Blogs that are created should also be able to be used in other digital scenarios. For
this purpose, an export function of blogs or individual contributions will be pro-
grammed. The exports can then be processed digitally. An export as a word processing
file is planned in order to be able to further process blogs. This makes it possible to
create a student magazine from blogs. The possibility of a PDF export is also planned.
Or teachers can export blogs or blog posts in EPUB format so that they can be read in
other contexts.
In IDeRBlog ii the intelligent dictionary will be extended. While about 500 words
have been included in the dictionary so far, the vocabulary will be extended to 1200
words. The selection of words is based on an analysis of the blog posts written by stu-
dents. In addition, the words to be recorded are compared with the total vocabulary and
the number of words in the existing spelling categories to ensure a valid spelling anal-
ysis of the students.
In IDeRBlog ii, own exercises are programmed to enable students to work on the
spelling phenomenon they encounter individually e.g. to work with exactly the words
they misspelled. The exercises are additionally displayed within the evaluation and can
be worked on by students during the exercise phases. By programming and providing
own exercises it is also possible to provide students and teachers with an evaluation of
the exercise results.
In addition to purely technical changes, IDeRBlog ii also creates other pedagogical
materials that are made available to teachers for their lessons. For each spelling cate-
gory, lesson preparations are made available that can be integrated into the spelling
lessons of the respective class. Each teaching unit is designed for 10 lessons and can be
adapted or adopted by teachers. The teaching units correspond to the latest didactic
requirements. During the preparation of the lessons, great importance is attached to
teaching students in analogous teaching scenarios. However, phases are also included
which enable digitally supported learning. This must always be seen in relation to the
equipment available at the school.
In order to illustrate the use of the platform, another 15 videos will be produced
which explain and discuss the use of the new functionalities. These videos will be inte-
grated into the platform at appropriate places, but are also available in the teachers' area.
12 Scientific Aspects in the digital storage of data in
IDeRBlog ii
By storing the data in the IDeRBlog ii platform, many different scientific statements
can be made in the field of research for writing and spelling in German. The amount of
data and submitted texts is much higher than in normal studies. This also allows for
more valid evaluations, because the validity of the data increases due to the large
amount of data. At the end of 2019, 12000 texts were available for evaluation.
The total number of data can be analyzed in many different ways, some of which are
described below. The selection of analyses should be seen as an example and does not
claim to be complete.
With the totality of all written texts, statements can be made about the length of texts
depending on the age group. The assumption is that older students write longer texts
than younger students. By evaluating the written texts, however, more precise state-
ments can be made on the basis of the available data.
The texts as a whole can be used to analyze the active vocabulary of students. Since
the texts are not always influenced by the teacher's instructions, an exact evaluation of
the vocabulary in its entirety is possible. Regional differences can also be worked out
when evaluating the data.
A regional analysis of the spelling performance of students using IDeRBlog ii is also
possible. Thus, it may be possible to make statements on the different spelling perfor-
mance of students depending on the regional dialect used. It is also possible to make
statements on the spelling performance of students in different federal states.
If IDeRBlog ii is used continuously, the change in spelling competence of students
can be assessed in long-term studies. Likewise, the change in text length when using
IDeRBlog ii can be determined. And these are just some possible scenarios.
13 Summary
To sum up, the blogging platform IDeRBlog ii encompasses three out of four aspect of
German language learning. Pupils can write, read and comment on texts. They are sup-
ported during their writing process by the feedback of the intelligent dictionary, in order
to improve their spelling abilities. In addition, students enhance their media compe-
tency while working with IDeRBlog ii, ranging from the proper handling of their pass-
words to acquiring adequate online communication skills. What is more, is that from a
research point of view the platform offers through the implementation of learning ana-
lytics not only an analysis and evaluation of each students or every single classes or-
thographic abilities, but a whole new level of data concerning orthography research.
Hopefully, allowing researchers to gain new insights into the acquisition of spelling
The IDeRBlog-project and the IDeRBlog-ii project are funded by the European
Commission in the framework of Erasmus+ (IDeRBlog: VG-SPS-SL-14-001616-3,
2014-2017; IDeRBlog-ii: VG-IN-SL-18-36-047317, 2018-2021).
1. Mohamed Amine Chatti, Anna Lea Dyckhoff, Ulrik Schroeder and Hendrik Thüs (2012). A
reference model for learning analytics. International Journal of Technology Enhanced
Learning (IJTEL), 4(5/6), pp. 318-331.
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Recently, there is an increasing interest in learning analytics in Technology-Enhanced Learning TEL. Generally, learning analytics deals with the development of methods that harness educational datasets to support the learning process. Learning analytics LA is a multi-disciplinary field involving machine learning, artificial intelligence, information retrieval, statistics and visualisation. LA is also a field in which several related areas of research in TEL converge. These include academic analytics, action analytics and educational data mining. In this paper, we investigate the connections between LA and these related fields. We describe a reference model for LA based on four dimensions, namely data and environments what?, stakeholders who?, objectives why? and methods how?. We then review recent publications on LA and its related fields and map them to the four dimensions of the reference model. Furthermore, we identify various challenges and research opportunities in the area of LA in relation to each dimension.