Thursday, 11 July 2013

Lernstift Pen Points Out Spelling Mistakes to Kids

Lernstift is a clever tech pen that helps kids learn to spell as they write. The pen analyses writing to detect spelling mistakes and vibrates to alert the writer to an error.

It also has a caligraphy mode to detect problems with handwriting and letter formation.

The team clearly have ideas to take the Lernstift pen further in the future with the addition of grammar checking.

Initially the pen will support two languages: English and German. The use of the Union Jack flag suggests that it will be British English that is supported rather than US English - or it may be customizable (customisable.) Lots more languages are planned for the future.

The Lernshift pen is currently available as a reward if you pledge to its Kickstarter project. 

 This is an interesting idea. My older son is a six and loves typing notes on a tablet or computer and finds the underlining of misspellings and alternative word suggestions very helpful. The concept of immediate feedback is very powerful. I know that there's currently an argument for not correcting young children's spellings too much as it spoils the flow of their writing, but I certainly see the value of an error being pointed out as it's made. My older son is very focused on his spelling, I think he would get a lot from a device like this.

The developers also anticipate an app ecosystem around the pen which will be able to provide additional information and interaction patterns. The pen has Wifi support and there will be an open API. It sounds like this could enable the style of interaction that my son enjoys in text editors with corrections and alternatives being presented as a child writes.

There are also suggestions of collaborative applications and even games.

Digitization of hand-written text should be possible which is an interesting option for maintaining kids handwriting skills while also allowing them to later work on their text in digital form.

The Lernstift pen fits in between the LeapFrog LeapReader pen for little kids who are learning to read and write, and adult digitizing pens.

The pen will have interchangeable writing tips so kids can progress from pencil to ballpoint pen to ink / fountain pen as their handwriting improves.

I like this idea a lot and would love to see it developed and taken to market with an app ecosystem around it. It will be an excellent device to bridge the gap between the need to get kids using technology but also ensuring that they develop handwriting skills.

PledgeLernstift Kickstarter

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