St Andrews HCI Research Group

Digital Pens and Handwriting


Anne-Marie Mann, Uta Hinrichs and Aaron Quigley

Learning how to write is considered an essential skill that forms the foundation of education. The early years of education are therefore dominated by learning how to hold a pencil and how to form letters and words. As technology has developed, so too have expectations toward the skill sets children need to acquire over the years. However while digital technology is entering today’s classrooms and learning environments, handwriting remains taught primarily 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 how the characteristics of digital writing tools influence children’s handwriting experience and quality, compared to regular pencil and paper and what kind of feedback may be beneficial to digitally augment the handwriting process and how this can be integrated into handwriting

Handwriting Samples

Children’s handwriting quality changed when writing with different devices


Mann, A-M , Hinrichs, U & Quigley, AJ 2014, ‘Digital pen technology’s suitability to support handwriting learning ‘. in WIPTTE 2014 The Eighth Workshop on the Impact of Pen and Touch Technology on Education. WIPTTE 2014 Workshop on the Impact of Pen and Touch Technology in Education, College Station, Texas, United States, 12-15 March.