06 Aug Breaking down barriers to writing for pupils at St James’ Primary
Enabling levelling up for writing at St James’ Primary
“Kaligo is one of the most impressive classroom tools we’ve seen. Anything which provides individual learning, and this level of improvement for the class while saving teacher time is a must.”
○ Instant assessment of handwriting ability
○ Customisable to the school handwriting scheme
○ Time-saving, reduces the workload for teachers
○ An in-depth view of handwriting for each child
○ The bigger picture of class handwriting progress
Key information :
○ Primary School
○ Using Kaligo with students from Nursery to Year 3
○ Using Kaligo with 200+ students
About St. James’ C.E. Primary School
St James’ C.E. Primary is a school of 236 pupils aged 3 to 11 based in Chorley, Lancashire. The school’s motto ‘Committed to excellence, inspired by Christ’ is reinforced through the leadership team who work together to ensure that every child at St. James’ achieved their full potential.
The school is in a traditional northern market town, which has areas of deprivation and the school has a high level of pupil premium. St. James’ is a ‘Good’ school, ‘Outstanding’ in areas and nearly all pupils reach the expected level in phonics and reading.
Many pupils do not have the life experience as in other areas, and for some, reading and writing at home is not a priority. To improve reading further, the school wanted a real push on handwriting in the classroom, which is known to impact on a child’s ability to read. As Andrew Clark, Deputy Head explains: “As a class teacher it is impossible to watch every child form each letter. Letter formation is key to teaching writing to flow and make writing easy for the pupil. In the class you can teach it, you can model it but when they start to write the letter you cannot see how they form the letter and for younger children they can develop poor habits really quickly.”
The school decided to look at how EdTech could help in the classroom and discovered the Kaligo handwriting app. What attracted them was the independent learning aspect of Kaligo. Children from Reception to Year 3 could sit at a tablet and learn independently, self-correcting themselves.
Initially, the school introduced Kaligo for targeted interventions in Years 1, 2, 3, and 4, plus for the whole of years 1 and 2 as the more traditional methods were not working, says Andrew, “Using paper and pencil and teacher assessment just wasn’t an effective use of our teacher’s time. When using Kaligo, the teacher could see exactly how they were forming their letters. Importantly, the teacher could also see that they were forming the letters correctly, what progress they were making and what levels they had reached.”
“We could see whether the pupils needed any extra support or intervention; we could see whether they were where they should be.”
The Kaligo approach
The Kaligo app uses the latest AI technology to monitor a child’s handwriting as they use a stylus to trace letter outlines on a tablet.
Looking at how a child writes letters can provide teachers with an overview of any neurolinguistic processes behind a child’s own writing method. By seeing how they control the stylus on a tablet, and how long they take to form different strokes or letters, teachers can easily see where a pupil is struggling and where they are thriving.
During class, every child gets immediate, personal feedback with their handwriting this just isn’t possible without using technology. Using this information, teachers can see in a few minutes whether the pupil needs any extra support, or whether there are any areas they need to spend more time on.
Kaligo uses machine learning (AI) which provides pupils with real-time, automated, and corrective feedback. Based on six years of research at the Laboratory IRISA/INSA, Kaligo has collected and analysed 15,000 handwriting strokes. Each handwriting stroke is analysed based upon shape, direction, and order, and identifies any difficulties children as young as age three may have with forming letters, numbers or even if they have an issue with pencil control.
Making learning fun
Children really enjoy using Kaligo, as Andrew says “Kaligo makes handwriting fun. The children cannot wait to arrive in class and get the tablets out and start writing. As they get immediate feedback and can then make an adjustment and improve, they see the results instantly, which makes them much more engaged with handwriting. Outside of the classroom, they can jump on a tablet at home and practice using Kaligo at home.”
The impact of Kaligo is already delivering massive improvement at St James’, as Andrew says
“Kaligo delivers a programme that is well planned and shows progression, but it is also flexible. We can adjust it to meet a child’s needs and can hone-in on a particular handwriting issue. This is where Kaligo has the greatest impact. In a matter of lessons, you can see such an improvement; it’s really lovely to see a child who has sometimes struggled for a while overcome these barriers in a few tablet sessions.
“We still use traditional writing in school, that will always have its place. In our pupils writing books, the improvement has been incredible.”
“The improvement in our pupil’s handwriting in a very short space of time has been really impressive.”
For teachers, Kaligo saves time. There’s no lesson planning and no individual progress monitoring.
“In the classroom, it saved time for our teachers. There’s no planning as it’s all in the app. The children can move on at their own pace, and the app moves them on to the next level when they are ready. You don’t need to check progress as you can see where every child is.”
“Kaligo allows us to have fluency as it’s a consistent approach. Children work independently and self-correct to progress, which really empowers children to see the benefit of what they do. We had one child in year three who had a lack of confidence in writing. His cursive formation was incorrect, and this makes writing hard work. In just three weeks we saw an amazing difference, the handwriting went from big and spidery, outside the lines to lovely neat handwriting. The boy’s confidence has soared.”
“Kaligo ensures that no one slips through the net. We’ve even used it in juniors to nip any handwriting issues or bad habits in the bud.”
The school is hoping to demonstrate the impact that apps have on learning by showing parents how Kaligo is improving handwriting for their children.
“Kaligo is perhaps one of the most impressive classroom tools we’ve seen. Anything which provides individual learning, and this level of improvement for the class while saving teacher time is a must.”
“The improvement in our pupil’s handwriting in a very short space of time has been really impressive. It is helping to build a solid platform for writing and literacy for their future education.”
With exciting developments from Kaligo happening all the time, Kaligo will be moving to the Cloud from the autumn. “We can’t wait for the Cloud version release later this year. Children will then be able to login to the same account at school and home. This means that they can continue to practice when they are not in the classroom, and our teachers can check the continual progress both in class and at home.” Said Andrew.
Make sure to take a look at our other success stories.