Changing the Herbi Writer settings


You can change the settings to make Herbi Writer more personalized for your student. For example, you can have the student's name appear, or the ink can be shown in the student's favorite color. You can also change the settings as required based on the current level of your student's handwriting ability.


To change the Herbi Writer settings, click the "Settings" button near the top right of the window. Then select the tab for the settings that you'd like to change. To learn more about the available settings, click one of the links below.


Student settings

Layout settings

Customize settings

Sounds settings

Colors settings

Feedback settings

Game settings




Student settings tab


Herbi Writer Student settings window



Use the Student settings to have the name of the student shown at the top of the Herbi Writer window, as shown in the following picture.


You can also select the evaluation level to be "Beginner", "Intermediate", or "Advanced". At Beginner level, a student's letter is considered to be correct if it's roughly the same size as the sample letter. This encourages the student to want to use the computer. Once the student consistently writes letters that are correct, you can change the level to Intermittent. At Intermittent level, the student's letter must be formed in a similar way to the sample letter in order for it to be considered correct. At Advanced level, the letters must be very similar to the sample. 



Herbi Writer showing the student's name





Layout settings tab


Herbi Writer Layout settings window



If you're using a Smart Board, then it can be difficult for some students to reach the lines where they write their letters. If so, check the "Move the background lines to the bottom of the sample letter area" checkbox, to have the lines appear lower on the screen. You can move the lines down regardless of whether you're using a Smart Board if you prefer. The following picture shows the lines appearing near the bottom of the screen.


Herbi Writer showing lines near the bottom of trhe screen



For left-handed students you may want to have the writing area appear to left of the sample letter area. This prevents the student's hand from covering the sample letter when writing. To move the writing area, go to the "Sample letter should appear" list and select "To the right of the student writing area". The following picture shows the writing area to the right of the sample area. To move the sample letter area back to appear to the left of the writing area, select "To the left of the student writing area" in the list.


Herbi Writer showing sample letter area to the right of the writing area



By using the other settings in the window, you can have the sample letter area appear above or below the writing area, and move some of the things that show up to be on whichever of these areas that you prefer. The following picture shows one arrangement set up by changing these settings.



Herbi Writer showing custom layout settings





Customize settings tab


Herbi Writer Customize settings window



Use the Customize settings to select which set of letters you want to appear. The sets "Lower case letters", "Upper case letters" and "Numbers" are probably the most useful in Herbi Writer today. The "Shapes" set of letters will be available to help students who have yet to progress to writing letters, but further improvements need to be made to Herbi Writer before the Shapes set is usable in practice. The two remaining sets, "Words" and "Worldwide", show the potential for Herbi Writer to help writing words or non-English characters, but are not also usable in practice today.


The following pictures show Herbi Writer with letters from other than the "Lower case letters" set. The title area of the Herbi Writer window always shows which set of letters is currently being used.


Herbi Writer showing upper case letters



Herbi Writer showing numbers



You can use the Customize settings to select a different background to appear behind the letters. For example, if you click the Browse button and then select the file "Background_TwoLine.bmp", only two lines will appear, (rather than the default of three lines), as shown in the following picture. 


Herbi Writer showing a background with two lines



Alternatively, if you're interested in using the "Shapes" letter set, you can select that letter set and then select the "Background_Shapes.bmp" background image file, as shown in the following picture.


Herbi Writer showing Shapes letter set



You can also use the Customize settings to control which letters should be shown from the current set. This feature only works for the letter sets containing the 26 English letters. So say you want only the letters of the word "michael" to appear. Type the letters in the relevant settings field as shown in the picture below. Only these 7 letters will appear now, either in a game or when no game is in progress. To revert to allowing all letters to appear, clear the settings field of all text.


Herbi Writer settings window controlling which letters appear





Sounds settings tab


Herbi Writer Sounds settings window



Use the Sounds settings to have phrases spoken by the computer after the student's letter is evaluated. For example, you might want the computer to say "Great job!" when the letter is evaluated as correct. This speech feature is only available if your computer has the latest speech support software from Microsoft. If you computer does not have that support software available, then the buttons on the Sounds settings window will not be enabled. You can get the necessary support software, (called the ".NET Framework",) for free from Microsoft at install .NET Framework.


If you add more than one phrase, then a phrase will be chosen at random from the list. The following picture shows two phrases to be used when a letter is evaluated as correct. There can be a small delay when first speaking a phrase after the program is run. If you would like to have a sound file played when a letter is evaluated rather than using speech, click the appropriate "Select file" button and pick the sound file. For example, you might have a sound file for a round of applause.


If you clear the fields, then no there'll be no speech and no sounds file played.


Any speech will be made using the default voice on the computer. If you have more than one voice available on your computer, then to can select which is the default voice from the Control Panel. You can launch the Control Panel to set the default voice by clicking the "Speech settings" button. If you only have one voice on the computer, and it is not a high quality voice, you probably won't want to use the Speech feature in Herbi Writer. 


Herbi Writer Sound settings with phrases





Colors settings tab


Herbi Writer Color settings window



Use the Colors settings to pick your preference for the colors used to show ink, text, and the trace start dot. The following pictures show some custom colors being used.


Herbi Writer Settings window with custom colors


Herbi Writer using custom colors



If your student finds it easier to see light letters on a dark background, you can change the colors to be a light color and select the "Background_HighContrast.bmp" background file. The following picture shows the "Background_HighContrast.bmp" being used, but other dark backgrounds can be created if they would be useful.


Herbi Writer show high contrast colors




Feedback settings tab


Herbi Writer Feedback settings window



You can use the feedback settings to change some of the visuals and timings related to the feedback that the student sees after writing a letter. (These settings actually allow control of some things not specifically related to the feedback too.) You might change some of these settings if you'd prefer a smaller delay when moving between letters during a game, or you'd like the sample letter to be drawn faster.



Game settings tab


Herbi Writer Game settings window



When a game is completed, you can have some additional text shown to emphasize that the game is complete. Depending on the size of your screen, you may need to break up the text into more than one line to make sure it fits on the screen. The following picture shows the example text from the Game settings window above, appearing in the Herbi Writer window.


Herbi Writer showing game complete text