Day 18 – Who needs handwriting anyway? #28daysofwriting – Assistive Technology

Having poor handwriting in the grown up world is not taboo – not like being unable to read anyway. We tend to joke about bad handwriting; doctors and teachers are professions renowned for scruffy handwriting.

For a child with illegible writing in school however it can be utterly miserable – there’s no pride, just shame, frustration and pain as they tire more easily.

I teach handwriting and it can be improved (I find particularly around 14, instruction in cursive writing can make a difference). One idea courtesy of Neil McKay from Action Dyslexia (donhttp://www.actiondyslexia.co.u k) is shaded lined paper – either made in Word or with a ruler and highlighter – just highlight half the line. This makes a real difference for those with visual perceptual difficulties. Some schools have asked the reprographics department to print booklets for students.

While I advocate the teaching of reading and handwriting I still maintain that barriers should be removed as much as possible to level the playing field.

Most schools allow students to word process these days, in fact if the student is to type for exams, they must, as it needs to be their normal way of working.

Typing on a laptop however does not allow (without considerable effort anyway) the student to fill in worksheets, exam papers or forms.

If only there was a way to take a picture of a form and then type into it……there is and it’s free.

Snaptype has been designed by Occupational Therapists and it’s fab (Thank you to @fiona_peters1 for telling me about this app).

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There is also ClaroPDF which does cost but is a bit fancier – you can upload a PDF, type in it and then use Daniel to read it out to you in text-to-speech.

I’m wondering how long it will be before this can be used in exams – would be perfect for many students.

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So please look out for those students with illegible handwriting – are they reaching their full potential? Or are they in a lower set due to being judged on handwriting rather than ability? Can we take the handwriting out of the equation to see how well they do without it?

Would love to hear any good news stories about these apps and how they’re used in schools.

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