How to use Herbi Writer
Installing Herbi Writer on your computer
Changing the Herbi Writer settings to make it more useful for you
If Herbi Writer is set up on your computer, you can run it by double clicking the icon on the desktop or by selecting it from your Start Menu. When Herbi Writer is run, the window shown below will appear. To close the program, click the "Close" button at the top right corner of the window.
If you have any questions or requests for changes, you can send me e-mail by clicking the "Contact" button.
Writing a letter
Whenever Herbi Writer starts, it will show a sample letter being drawn on the screen. You cannot write in the same white area as where the sample letter is drawn. You can only write in the other white area. Once you've written the letter being shown, your letter will be moved up to the top right corner of the window, and Herbi will smile. If your letter is considered to be different from the sample, your letter will be moved off towards the left, and Herbi will not change. As you do this, a score is updated to show how many of your letters were considered to be correct.
Note: When you first start the game, the evaluation level is "Basic", which means that your letter can be considered to be correct even if it looks nothing like the sample, (so long as it's roughly the same size as the sample). Beginner level is aimed at encouraging the student to want to use the computer. Other more advanced levels can be used later which require that the student's letters really are a close match for the sample.
If you write your letter higher or lower than the sample letter such that it doesn't appear on the background lines as the sample does, then your letter will be considered to be incorrect. It doesn't matter how far you write your letter to the left or write on the screen.
After writing a letter a few times, it's worth getting familiar with the buttons and checkboxes at the top left of the window.
Pick a letter
Select different letters from the "Pick a letter" list. Whenever you pick a letter, it will appear in black briefly in the sample letter area, and then it will be shown being drawn. As it is drawn, a faded grey version of the letter will appear in the background.
If the "Random Pick" checkbox is checked, then after your letter had been evaluated as being correct, a different letter will automatically be picked for you. So the sample letter will keep changing without you having to select a letter from the "Pick a letter" list.
If you want the sample letter to be drawn out again at any time, you can click the "Show me" button.
If the "Repeat show" checkbox is checked, then the sample letter will continually be drawn out. This helps the student who might not have seen the sample letter being drawn out when it first appears.
When you click the "Start game" button, the student's score will be reset to zero, and a count of the numbers of letters to be written is shown. By default this will be 26, but advanced users can change this to focus on specific letters. When playing a game, if a student's letter is considered to be incorrect, the student repeats the letter until it is considered to be correct.
The following picture shows the score at the start of a game. You'll notice the "Start game" button has become the "Stop game" button, and you can click that to stop the game at any time. To start a new game, always check that the button says "Start game" when you click it.
As you write letters, you will see the score go up and the count of letters to be written go down, as shown in the following picture.
Once you've written all the sample letters, a final score appears, as shown in the following picture.
If the "Trace" checkbox is checked, then only one white area appears in the window. The aim now is for the student to trace the sample letter, rather than write it at a distance from where the sample letter appears. The sample letter is never shown being drawn out when the "Trace" checkbox is checked. Instead a dot will appear behind the start of the letter to show the student where the start of the letter is.
The following picture shows a letter waiting to be traced. A game can be played when tracing letters in a similar way to when writing letters at a distance from the sample.