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Research at St Andrews

Digital pen technology’s suitability to support handwriting learning

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


School/Research organisations


While digital technology is entering today’s classrooms and learning
environments, handwriting remains primarily taught using regular pencil and paper. In our research we explore the potential of digital writing tools to augment the handwriting process while preserving its cognitive benefits. In particular, we are interested in (1) how the characteristics of digital writing tools influence children’s handwriting experience and quality, compared to regular pencil and paper and (2) what kind of feedback may be beneficial to digitally augment the handwriting process and how this can be integrated into handwriting technology. Here we describe findings of a study we conducted at a primary school to investigate how existing digital pens (iPad and stylus, WACOM tablet, and Livescribe pen) affect children’s handwriting quality and the handwriting experience. As part of this, we discuss our methodology for evaluating handwriting quality, an inherently subjective activity. Furthermore, we outline the potential design space that digital writing tools open up
when it comes to augmenting the handwriting process to facilitate learning.


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Impact of Pen and Touch Technology on Education
EditorsTracy Hammond, Aaron Adler, Stephanie Valentine, Mark Payton
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-15594-4
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-15593-7
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2015

Publication series

NameHuman-Computer Interaction Series

    Research areas

  • Digital Pens, Handwriting, Education

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ID: 212888068