IntuiScript : a digital notebook for learning writing in elementary schools
- Eric Anquetil
- Laure Gilbert
- Amélie Le Roux
Digital technologies are increasingly being used to support school learning, but few studies have assessed the effectiveness of these new teaching methods for very young students. The aim of the present study was to assess the impact of implementing a digital notebook application designed for a stylus-oriented tablet in kindergarten classrooms. This digital notebook was dedicated to the acquisition of handwriting skills by beginning writers. Using artificial intelligence to finely analyze the spatiotemporal characteristics of handwriting (i.e., shape, order and direction of the segments), the exercises were personalized, and extrinsic feedback was delivered at the end of each trial to inform learners of their results. A total of 22 kindergarten classes participated in a 12-week teacher-implemented program, half working exclusively with paper and pencil, and half partially undertaking their handwriting training with the digital notebook. A paper-and-pen writing task was administered as a pre-test and post-test to assess the progress of all the children. Data analysis showed that learning outcomes with the digital notebook were contingent upon the students’ initial handwriting level, as the benefits of training with the app were only demonstrated for children with a medium level at the start of the study. The results are discussed in the light of the literature on the impact of extrinsic feedback and learners’ initial levels.
The aim of this research was to assess the impact of implemented in a classroom context a digital notebook designed for stylus oriented tablet dedicated to handwriting skills acquisition of beginner writer. With the help of an artificial intelligence which finely analyzes the spatio-temporal characteristics of the writing (i.e, shape, order and direction of the segments), the exercises are personalized and extrinsic feedback is delivered at the end of each trial to provide knowledge of results to the learner. Twenty-two kindergarten classes participated in 12-week teacher-implemented program, 13 of them working exclusively with paper and pencil while the others realized partially their handwriting training on the digital notebook. All Students progress were assessed thanks to a paper-pen writing task as pretest and posttest realized on a wacom tablet. Data analysis highlights that the digital notebook can viably support the learning and teaching of handwriting and that learning outcomes are dependent on the level of the writers at the beginning of the study. The results are discussed in the light of the existing literature on the impact of extrinsic feedback and of learner characteristics.
The process of teaching and learning handwriting is complex and laborious. A digital learning environment in the form of a tablet app could enhance teachers' knowledge of writer characteristics and their management of classroom diversity. This study aims to identify the needs of cursive writing teachers from a survey of 164 kindergarten teachers in France teaching writing skills for children aged 5 to 6 years. The results provide insights into teacher needs and, therefore, can be used to identify the acceptability criteria of a tool designed to scaffold the teaching of writing gestures. The results of needs analyses have been interpreted in the light of new scientific findings on reading and writing skills, and there is a discussion on the potential of such a digital learning environment for the classroom, particularly during the training and skills assessment phases. Questionnaire answers show that the teachers interviewed rarely use digital tools in the classroom and this prompts reflection on the value and meaning that preschool children give to the digital trace.