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Handwriting training tool

For kids with poor handwriting
  (+9, -1)(+9, -1)
(+9, -1)
  [vote for,

Handwriting is about motor skills. Once the hand gets used to what it is doing you no longer have to think about it. Unfortunately a good number of children find it all quite boring and not terribly enjoyable. They never really develop a style that they can be proud of. This problem compounds itself as the more they are unhappy with their writing the less they write. This then knocks on to their studies, their confidence and self-esteem.

This idea combines hardware and software to make writing a little more enjoyable and productive. The hardware is a tough, touch sensitive screen embedded in a regular school desk. A stylus is also needed. The software consists of a series of exercises that take a learner through a writing course using the stylus on the screen. The aim is to provide the motor skills necessary for clear, acceptable handwriting.

The exercises will start with the learner having to keep the tip of the stylus in a dot on the screen. The dot will have a small arrow on it showing where it is heading. It will cross the page doing loops etc. If the stylus comes out of the dot the 'player' loses points and an alarm noise sounds. When they get to the other side a reward is provided (by points and a round of applause or something). The exercise is repeated until a certain level of ability is reached. The following exercises take the player through letter and word formation (a variety of handwriting styles can be selected). These exercises are designed to take several weeks, and would normally be used in a corrective way (in that they would only be used with children struggling to write neatly)

At some point the child will be able to use a keyboard to type in a story (or whatever it is they want to write) and the software will send the dot off, tracing out the shape of the typed words. The child then uses the stylus to 'write' the words they have typed, and then get to print what they have written.

The speed and size of the dot can be changed to change difficulty levels. Games could be incorporated. The system could be adapted to any writing system (I understand Chinese takes a long time to learn).

The whole point is that when the child then goes to use a pen or pencil on real paper they will find that their hand knows what to do.

Mony a Mickle, Nov 16 2008

Surf machine http://www.happyday...s.co.uk/surfing.php
Bright website [Mony a Mickle, Nov 17 2008]


       It could also be used to teach shorthand, sanskrit, arabic...
Mony a Mickle, Nov 16 2008

       surely learning how to write neatly is about hand-eye co-ordination and fine motor skills. I don't see it's a waste of time any more than learning to ride a bike.   

       btw, since using a keyboard at work more and more, my writing has become quite crappy...
po, Nov 16 2008

       end result: "Baby's First RSI" [-]
FlyingToaster, Nov 16 2008

       [rcarty] - I spend a lot of time trying to read other people's handwriting. I wholeheartedly disagree with you.
lurch, Nov 16 2008

       //The incessant drills are, or were, a waste of time// You are right there. This would try to take the form of creative game play. Background images, storylines, rewards etc
Mony a Mickle, Nov 16 2008

       I think [rcarty] probably spent a lot of time doing punishment "lines"
po, Nov 16 2008

       i think what the brain would learn is how to activate the hand muscles in concert with the movement of the proposed machine. I don't think anything would be learnt in terms of outputting writing script without that assistance.   

       if you got this to work you could have all kinds of learning 'machines' - for gymnasts, martial arts, surfing etc - but, there's a reason we don't have those already.
williamsmatt, Nov 17 2008

       Force them to use a tablet PC to write their papers.
Spacecoyote, Nov 17 2008

       //Force// There's this story about a man with a coat and the Wind and Sun having a competition...   

       They don't write 'papers' they are 9. They write 'What I did on my holidays', then draw a picture and colour it in. Lots of tongues poking out as they massacre pencils, paper and the English language.   

       [williamsmatt] Gymnasts use a big machine with a hoop to go around their waist. There is a rope attached to the hoop. The rope goes over a pulley and the coach holds the end. This way the gymnast can learn how to do somersaults. There is machine for surfers too, and no doubt one for martial arts. Are you suggesting that as soon as the participants go 'live' they fall over?
Mony a Mickle, Nov 17 2008

       This is more or less what DDR2, Guitar Hero, and a number of Wii games do. Which suggests with the right design and good production values, this could be a video game that people would love to play.
jpk, May 27 2009

       Guitar Hero doesn't teach you to play the guitar. It teaches you to play Guitar Hero.
BunsenHoneydew, May 28 2009

       A [+] from me. My handwriting is abysmal, and always was. It's a handicap - I can write legibly or fast, but not both. Often, my notes are illegible even to me; I'll waste time typing and printing a two-sentence note that could be written in a fraction of the time. If they'd had this when I were a lad, it might have helped. Actually, I'd buy it now.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 31 2009


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