As a teacher in the classroom teaching people how to show students how to learn handwriting you probably never thought you could teach it online. This article will show you how to do just that.
The most important factors to teach handwriting online are:
- Software tools
- Hosting platforms
- Online resources
Now you know what you need to create an online course about handwriting. Let’s take an in-depth look at every aspect to understand its importance.
To start an online course you need certain hardware. There is some common equipment for all courses as well as some optional and extra equipment specifically for your course.
Hardware for teaching handwriting online is:
- Laptop or Computer
- Microphone (optional)
- Webcam (optional)
- Stable Internet Connection
- Scanner or Mobile Camera,
- Tablet with Stylus
- Graphics Tablet
Laptop or Computer
Generally any computer less than 4 years old of around $500 will do for this style of training. For most training online an i3 or i5 Intel processor with 4gig of RAM with a solid-state disk (SSD) or 8 gigs so RAM with an older style hard drive is more than enough. If it is a laptop it will come with a builtin webcam and microphone.
As a teacher, you will need a decent microphone but your students will just need any one they can get their hands on that is a headset style. Why this is optional in your specific instance is that if you are teaching handwriting online you may not need to physically talk to them.
If you are not running live classes with a single or groups of students then having a microphone is not that important. However, I would recommend live online classes to build a relationship with your students and this would require a microphone.
It is also great for recording audio responses to your student submissions instead of just text-based responses. This is a great way to show students you care with one on one feedback. It is also for some people quicker than typing.
My personal preference for peripherals is Logitech and you can use any type that you like. The specific headset I recommend is on the Recommended Tools page.
While not strictly required to teach handwriting online which is why it is optional. But if you want to create better connections with your students, seeing each other humanizes the training. This means your students will engage better and it will increase your completion rates with this personal touch.
Even though most of the laptops have an integrated webcam, it is the same situation as with the microphone. I strongly advise you to avoid using the built-in webcam due to poor video quality. A dedicated webcam does not cost an arm and a leg. Therefore, you can find a decent webcam for an affordable price and my recommendation on the Recommended Tools page.
Stable Internet Connection
When you are teaching using a Learning Management System (LMS) you don’t need any speed internet connection. When you are streaming video and audio live with students you need a stable internet connection with about 10mb up and 1mb download speeds. You can test your connection with the many online speed tests like the Ookla speed test.
Scanner Or Mobile Camera
When teaching handwriting online, you need a scanner that will help you upload your handwriting samples online. You can use it to scan papers that contain handwritten notes. You can also use it to scan any kind of paper that your students will benefit from during the learning process.
If they don’t have a scanner they can use a scanning mobile application or just take a photo of their handwriting as well. A scanner is just easier if there is a lot of writing to submit as work.
Tablet with Stylus
Students and teachers having a tablet with a Stylus is a great idea as it gives them the ability to write how they normally would but then save and upload directly from the tablet. For teachers, they can provide written examples and the students can give their written responses for assignments.
A graphics tablet will prove helpful whenever you encounter a task that involves drawing, handwriting, or working with graphical content. These were around before actual tablets and are still used by people wanting to attach a graphical drawing interface to their laptop or computer. They are fairly cheap and a good entry option.
There are heaps of handwriting recognition applications available on the Internet. Most of them are downloadable software solutions that you have to install on your laptop to use.
The most popular software tools used for teaching handwriting online are:
- Note Apps
Nebo is an application available on both Windows and in both mobile app stores.. Its purpose is to allow people to save handwritten notes. Though, it can be used to practice handwriting during online courses.
It also features a keyboard assistant. Students can enter in information either using the stylus (handwriting) or the keyboard (typewriting).
If you want to see the Nebo software in action, watch this video.
You can purchase the Nebo application directly from Microsoft here or download it from either app stores for tablets or smartphones.
Plumbago is a free application that can be used as a digital notebook. Its users can take handwritten notes with realistic ink. It simulates real handwriting and should be used along with either a graphic tablet, a tablet, or a touchscreen laptop.
One of its main advantages is that it allows users to synchronize their notes across multiple devices and store them with Microsoft OneDrive. Moreover, they can share notes and handwriting samples with their handwriting teacher.
You can download Plumbago for free here.
All of the notepad apps on mobile devices also have websites to use as well for sharing written notes. The most common is Google Keep, Evernote, and One Note. As the note types, they can share handwritten notes and these can be shared with other people. You can download them from the app stores for Apple and Google.
There are various solutions to host your online handwriting course. The most commonly used course hosting providers are:
- Training Websites
- Learning Management Systems
- Moodle Open Source LMS
- Blackboard Learn LMS
- Canvas LMS
You should choose the hosting platform depending on what works for you. Using one of these popular websites is how you can get a market to sell too if you don’t already have students.
Skillshare is one of the most well-known websites for online courses. There are thousands of students taking various courses. It offers you a great opportunity to share your course and get maximum exposure with minimum costs.
Udemy is the world’s most well-known video tutorial website so it can provide you with the same thing as Skillshare. The difference is how they do commissions for enrolments. This is worth checking into to see which one works well for you.
Learning Management Systems
If you are already teaching students and just wish to take your classes online then you will need a Learning Management System (LMS) to host your content. There are many LMS you can choose from and you can do from the free open source to the paid ones.
From the LMS above you can choose an open source for free or a paid one for technical setup and maintenance support. The paid ones generally have a few more features built-in but you will pay for each feature.
If you don’t know the difference between the LMS then here are some articles to help:
ARTICLE: Moodle vs. Blackboard
ARTICLE: Canvas vs. Moodle
When you are teaching handwriting online you can use various resources that are available on the Internet. Keep in mind that you have to adapt these resources to your students’ learning style using your teaching expertise and handwriting experience.
The most popular websites that contain handwriting-related content are:
- The Reading Corner
Among the above-mentioned platforms, the most commonly used is TeachHandwriting. It features a comprehensive guide to teaching handwriting that addresses not only teachers’ requirements but also those of the parents.
The platform provides resources sorted by the age of the students in five stages:
- Foundation Stage (4 – 5 years old)
- Key Stage 1 (5 -7 years old)
- Key Stage 2 (7 – 11 years old)
- Key Stage 3 (11 – 13 years old)
- Key Stage 4 (13 – 16 years old)
The website provides the training material as well as the course curriculum for the teachers.. The latter can be purchased by key stage and includes term timetables and lesson plans as well as more than 1,000 printable worksheets that can be used for handwriting assessment.
There are heaps of resources that you can use in the ‘Teach Handwriting Resources’ section such as:
- Children’s handwriting progression
- How to teach handwriting
- Handwriting difficulties
- Key strengths needed for handwriting
- More fun handwriting activities
You can use the resources hosted on TeachHandwriting to create assignments for your students as well. The website also features a section that explains how to identify the causes of handwriting difficulties and provides suggestions to overcome these issues.
The Reading Corner
The Reading Corner is a company designed for teaching various subjects to preschool children. On their website, you can find various helpful resources for your online course related to handwriting.
Apart from the worksheets and activities, you can read relevant articles exposing tips for teaching handwriting. For example, if you want to find out 10 must-know tips for teaching handwriting, you should check this article.
The Commonwealth Learning Center is a non-profit educational center founded in 1998 that offers one-to-one tutoring facilities to children and adults. This teaching style ensures a customized plan that meets the needs of every student.
Their website contains helpful articles that provide guidance for online teachers that provide handwriting courses. For example, if you want to get a better understanding of teaching handwriting in the digital era, take a look at this article.