The Herbi WriteAbout Windows Phone 7 app
To get Herbi WriteAbout, go to the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace from your phone.
New for Version 2.0 - You can now add your own set of letters! Use this to...
Add a set in a style appropriate for your students.
Add a style from an alphabet other than English.
Add a set containing only the letters of a word that you want your student to concentrate on.
Add some letters or shapes to be appear randomly amongst one of the the default sets of letters.
Watch the Herbi WriteAbout - Add your own letters at YouTube.com
The following pictures show the Herbi WriteAbout app for the Windows Phone 7.
Version 2.2 adds a feature that was prompted by feedback relating to the fact that Herbi WriteAbout always moved on to the next letter if the student's letter was evaluated as incorrect. With version 2.2, you can say how many times the letter can be repeated when the student's letter is evaluated as incorrect, before moving on. For example, the student could retry the letter up to three more times. If the student's letter is evaluated as correct on any of the retries, they still score a point.
Check out Herbi WriteAbout showing non-English text. Support for specific non-English text was added in the following versions:
Herbi WriteAbout V2.2 - German
Herbi WriteAbout V2.3 - Japanese
Herbi WriteAbout's text will change when you change the Display Language on your phone. (Note that some languages aren't available on some phones.)
Today, the sample letter sets that come with Herbi WriteAbout are all English. At some point, the default letter sets will be appropriate to the current Display language. Until then, you can add your own custom letter set appropriate to whatever language you're interested in.
What is Herbi WriteAbout?
Herbi WriteAbout does a little bit of what the Herbi Writer software can do on a Tablet PC, Smartboard or desktop computer running Windows. This is what the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace says about Herbi WriteAbout:
Herbi WriteAbout is a handwriting development app in which the student writes
letters in the same way as sample letters shown. The goal is for all the
student's letters to be evaluated as being correct. Herbi WriteAbout starts at a
Beginner evaluation level, which is aimed at encouraging the use of the
technology. At Beginner level, the student's letter can be evaluated as correct
even if it differs from the sample letter significantly. Once the student is
comfortable using the technology, the evaluation level can be changed to
Intermediate and finally Advanced, where the student's letter must be a very
close match to the sample.
Herbi WriteAbout can show lower case or upper case letters, numbers, or shapes. It includes the following options, which can be changed by clicking the Personalize button.
1. Show or hide a dot which traces out the sample letter.
2. Present the letters in alphabetical order or at random.
3. Show blue ink on a white background, or use the phone's default colors.
4. Increase the size of the sample letter.
5. Show letters from more than one set of letters, (for example, form both
Numbers and Shapes).
Pressing the Go button will restart the game. After the student has written a letter over the sample letter shown, Herbi WriteAbout will evaluate the letter. If the letter is evaluated as being incorrect, the game pauses for one second and then continues with the next letter. If the letter is evaluated as correct, the Herbi character smiles for two seconds and then the game continues with the next letter. Once all letters in the set have been presented, the final score is shown on the screen.
Herbi WriteAbout is based on the Herbi Writer software available at Herbi.org. Herbi Writer is used by teachers and Occupational Therapists to help students develop their handwriting skills.
Handwriting on a phone
As with many phones, writing at the screen works best when using a finger. This means that you can't see the sample letter you're tracing over. But by using the "Bigger" setting to show a larger sample, this might still be useful in some situations.
Note: I've yet to find a stylus that works sufficiently well for writing on the phone screen. If I do find a usable stylus, I'll add related details here.
Feedback so far has included requests for the enhancements listed below.
The people sending the feedback also said:
But still a great thing. 5 Stars :) you earn them.
My kid (almost 4) is enjoying drawing letters (by following lines, just like you have with Herbi) on papers these days. I’d love to have him try things out on my or my wife’s WP7 phone.
Potential future enhancements
1. Have a "landscape" mode with the sample area to the side of where the student
writes. (This is already possible in the Herbi Writer software.)
2. Remove the buttons at the top of the screen, and have a "swipe" to get to the options. This would leave room on the main screen to have an even bigger sample if desired.
3. Options to move where things on the screen appear. (So Herbi doesn't appear
beneath the hand of a right-handed person.)
4. Have a way to make it more difficult to leave the app and return to the rest of the phone.
5. I'd prefer the counter in the left lower corner to show "solved/done/total".
6. When the letter is evaluated, an optional sound feedback or switching the background to "red" for half a second should help. Same for "success", switch the background to green. (Color is better than sounds.)
7. Offer bonus points if the student does give the right answer prior showing the red dot running along.
8. Establish a "high score list".