A child’s success is governed by their ability to master basic reading and math skills early in life. Yet due to location, costs, class sizes and other issues, many children never have the opportunity to learn these fundamental skills. E-learning is trying to remove some of these barriers by offering quality, individualized lessons (often free or for a low cost) through the Internet.
While schools and parents are embracing e-learning and happily incorporating technology into children’s lives, the majority of the available options are predominantly computer based and rely on the keyboard and mouse, which is not necessarily good for young people working on basic reading and math skills.
A recent study by the University of British Columbia found that students who use mechanized writing have a harder time retaining new ideas. Children using computers osculate between using their two hands and manipulating the mouse. While students handwriting their answers are less distracted because the pencil allows them to focus on a single point. Additionally, the researchers found that handwriting requires students to use visual, cognitive, and motor skills: look at the paper in front of them, remember the shape, and actually form the symbol, while the keyboard requires less of these skills.
With touch screens, smartphones, and tablets becoming more prevalent in young people’s lives, it is now possible to incorporate handwriting into educational apps. Knowing the advantages of handwriting, it is easy to guess that this is the next revolutionary step for e-learning.
myBlee is an example of an early pioneer of this technology. We have created over 50 teaching apps for 6-15 year olds that uniquely require users to write the answers on the iPad’s screen. Using handwriting recognition technology by Vision Objects®, myBlee found that simply by handwriting answers rather than typing them, children have more fun and feel better engaged in learning.
Technology can open amazing doors to learning, but at the same time it does not mean leaving behind the traditional ways. By incorporating handwriting recognition in an iPad app, the learning experience rapidly becomes that much more interesting for everyone.