Quick overview: The BonPatron website (http://www.bonpatron.com/en) is designed to assist FSL students write in French by identifying spelling errors and grammatical problems in their written French texts.
What does it do? Using BonPatron, students type (or copy and paste) written French text into the website. However, as the BonPatron site is designed to be used in an educational context, it does NOT simply find French spelling and grammatical mistakes and spit out the correct answer. Instead, it will detect mistakes and offer suggestions how to fix them. This allows the student to know there is a problem but provides them with the “know-how” to fix the mistake themselves. For example if I write the following French sentence (see below) the BonPatron website will analyze the text, highlight the error, and offer a suggestion:
How can this be used in the classroom: The BonPatron site could be used to help your students become more autonomous in correcting their own mistakes when writing in French. (Source: Bob Thomas NFSB and Tom Stenzel RSB, ALDI Workshop)
Note: The site is free to use, however without paying for a yearly subscription for the “pro” version of the site, the students will encounter some small limitations and ads will be seen. Regardless, teachers have reported that they often use the free version of the site without any problems in their class.