Using Kaligo technology to improve handwriting on paper at The Royal Guildford Grammar School Dubai

“We needed a new approach for delivering effective handwriting lessons, and Kaligo is just that.  The impact is brilliant.”

Benefits

  • Immediate feedback
  • Instant assessment of handwriting ability
  • Reduces the workload for teachers
  • An in-depth view of handwriting for each child
  • The bigger picture of class handwriting progress
  • Improvement in handwriting transfers to paper

Key information:

  • The best British International School in the UAE
  • Located in Dubai
  • Boys and girls aged 3 to 18 years

About The Royal Grammar School Guildford, Dubai

Hailed as The Best British International School in the UAE, The Royal Grammar School Guildford Dubai (RGSGD) campus is designed for boys and girls aged 3 to 18, accepting primary pupils (ages 3 -11).  The school embodies the ethos and values underpinning the Royal Grammar School Guildford in the UK for over 500 years.  These, combined with a spirit of innovation and development, will prepare pupils for the challenges of the 21st and 22nd centuries.  The school leads by example, staying true to its values, innovating, collaborating, and striving to be the best they can be.

Time for a new approach

For Katy Taylor, a key Stage 1 Teacher at RGSGD, focusing on literacy and handwriting is an essential foundation for her KS1 pupils.  But, something that hinders the teaching of handwriting is that, unlike maths and art, which have embraced digital technologies, until now, the traditional methods of handwriting have primarily remained the same.  The teaching method, which involves copy or trace activities, hasn’t progressed in many years, despite the advances in research and technology.

So, Katy felt that a new approach was needed.

“Teaching handwriting in the traditional method has its challenges,” says Katy, “It’s not physically possible to stand over every child as they form a letter, so you only see the end result.

“The result could be a marvellous neat looking ‘M’, but the pencil could be held incorrectly, or the formation could be in the wrong order.  You can’t stand over and observe every child in your class at all times, so you don’t see the process.  Whilst this may not seem a huge issue, a teacher knows that these errors can cause great problems further down the line if not caught early.  It can also impact whether or not a child then enjoys handwriting.”

How Technology Helps

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.  Observing how a child forms letters can give a teacher an overview of any neurolinguistic processes behind a child’s 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.

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 on shape, direction and order and identifies any difficulties children as young as three may have with forming letters, numbers or even if they have pencil control issues.

Improvement on-screen transfers to paper

“Let me start by saying that we are not saying that technology should not replace pencil and paper.  But technology can help ensure that every child forms their letters correctly.”, says Katy,

“I saw Kaligo and was amazed by the technology and couldn’t wait to try it.  English is not the first language for some of our pupils so the alphabet may be different for them.  Also, for our left-handed pupils, we found that by using Kaligo, we could set it for left orientation, so there was no curved wrist or smudging.

“For some children, writing letters reverse can be a challenge, and with Kaligo, this has been easily remediated in most of the children I teach.  It’s been great to see the impact of Kaligo on screen and how the improvement transfers onto paper.”

 

Getting to grips with the Kaligo stylus

Kaligo has also developed its stylus, which is suitable for young pupils to hold, as Katy explains:

“The Kaligo stylus is brilliant, not too heavy, too long or slippy, just perfect weight and suitable for child’s muscles.“

“We also found that due to the impact of the pandemic, formalised letter teaching and pencil control were lacking for some of our younger pupils who had been out of school for some time.  The Kaligo stylus is perfect for young pupils.”

 

Outside of the classroom

Kaligo has been particularly helpful this year, where children spent time learning remotely or catching up with handwriting practice at home.  Katy says that “Parents love Kaligo.  We set the pupil spellings and handwriting practice tasks, and the child completes them at home without parental input.”

“Kaligo is a great handwriting app that children can pick up and run with at home.  Parents tell us they like extra handwriting practice for children at home.”

“With Kaligo, we can see that any learning gaps quickly close as they get back on track with their handwriting and the improvement transfers onto paper.”

“The instant feedback provided means that children are kept engaged.  Using Kaligo creates a fun way to learn and motivates children to write.  The pupils love seeing how many stars they can collect as they get the letters correct.”

Katy continues, “I had two pupils who struggled with handwriting, and they now love it.  Using Kaligo, they have a newfound enthusiasm for handwriting, take pride in their work, and enjoy it.”

 

Next steps

The next steps for Kaligo at RGSGD are a planned rollout of Kaligo from years  1 to 3  and the use of Kaligo in higher years for interventions.

“As a teacher, with my pupils using Kaligo, I can see the impact on their handwriting on paper in a few weeks.”

Make sure to take a look at our other success stories.