Reviewed by Grace

School Writing by demografix pty ltd is a fully-customizable and features-packed app that provides students with plenty of practice to perfect their writing of letters and numbers using their school font on the iPad.  But that is not all.  This app has the most powerful feature of letting you (the teachers and parents) create your own lessons on the iPad using both written and audio instructions as well as your own images. Students can similarly record their answers using handwritten and audio responses.

I’ve been playing with this app for about 2 weeks yet I’m still discovering the many features that it offers and how I can use its dynamic features to add value to the whole learning experience.  To prove its versatility, the developer has included in the app a great variety of lessons that you can use again and again, from pre-writing skills, shapes matching, math questions to learning Dolch words.  Watch this video to have an overview of this app’s capabilities.

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIO4NjYrbRU&feature=channel&list=UL’]

 

Writing activities
Briefly, the default lessons allow the students to see and hear the letters (uppercase and lowercase) and numbers with the associated names, tracings, images and phonetic sounds as they trace them.   Here are the options that are available for the writing activities in the app and why they are useful features:-

  • A choice of 17 US, UK, New Zealand or Australia approved school fonts (inclusive of individual cursive fonts).
  • A choice of 2 types of lined guidelines or no guidelines.
  • A choice of 3 ways to trace – connecting the dots, tracing over the letter/number or tracing within the outlines with the starting points and numbered strokes sequence shown.
  • A choice of 4 colored pencil thickness which can be used for drawing and coloring.
  • Ability to edit the default sounds which means your students get to hear the pronunciation that they can understand and the phonetic sounds that you teach (if different from the app’s).  This also allows you to use a non-English language for instructions.
  • Ability to replace the default images.  Students can find their own images as an assignment itself.
  • Ability to customize the teacher tracing animation.  This allows you to change the strokes sequence to suit your students’ needs for example, strokes are written separately to show the different parts that form a letter, letters are written in a continuous stroke or tracing for left-handed letter formation.
  • Ability to replay the student’s last tracing to check that proper stroke sequence has been executed.  This is especially important for writing of Chinese characters.
  • A ‘Reset’ counter that permanently records the number of times each letter and number has been traced.

My wish list for this section is to have variable height of tracing guidelines for writing so that younger students can learn to write smaller fonts as they progress and older students can opt to always use the smallest font for their work.  The addition of a black colored pencil would be nice too.  Ideally, (essential in my opinion but lacking in most apps) a writing app should have a palm protection pad (different positions for right and left handed students) so that a correct writing position can be maintained.

Creating lessons
There are 2 sections that you can use for creating your own lessons in the app.  For those that involve only the written forms (e.g. spelling and grammar exercises), you use the Words section and for all other tasks, the Whiteboard gives you ample space to flesh out your lessons.   The Whiteboard is such a versatile tool that I hope to see the workspace maximized, perhaps by hiding the items in the lesson folder during writing and reducing the number of characters allowed for the lesson descriptions.

Since you are able to use your own images, you are no longer restricted to your own original content.  You can take a photo or screenshot of your source of inspiration and include it in a lesson right away, easily and quickly.  On this image, you can even write or draw depending on what your instructions are for your students.  Over the years of teaching (and raising 4 children), I’ve accumulated many teaching materials and they suddenly become so much more popular with my youngest when they are transferred to the iPad.

 

Designed for Teachers (school or home based)
School Writing has all the features that a teacher needs:-

  • Ability to create and manage multiple profiles for all the students in a class.  At a glance, you can also see how many lessons have been completed by each student.
  • Automatic (optional) emailing of students’ work to the teacher’s email address after the work is completed makes for paperless and hassle-free submission of completed assignments.
  • The many options for teachers/parents to tailor their lessons for the students’ needs can be locked by password.
  • Ability to export the lessons (via iTunes, email, Dropbox and developer’s website) enables sharing of lessons with other teachers and mass delivery of lessons into students’ iPads.  At the same time, it allows you to email a completed lesson to the students’ parents.  In the coming update, there is even Bluetooth transfer capability!
  • Ability to import from iTunes, Dropbox and developer’s website.
  • Because each lesson folder can hold as many pages of assignments as you wish, you can actually put various assignments together to be exported for your students to complete in a session.
  • Spelling and dictation can be done at the student’s pace independently as he can tap to hear the word or sentence that he needs to write.
  • Depending on the content of the task, this app is suitable for users ranging from pre-k to adult.

What is truly unique about School Writing is that you not only get to mark the written work submitted by your students but you can also watch the whole process of how it was done and even hear them record an answer to your question.  All these options are available to you when creating your lesson.  Such individualized assessment of students’ work would have taken a sizeable amount of time in class but now it can be done more effectively without sacrificing curriculum time.  With the iPads being increasingly used in classrooms, School Writing’s versatility will ensure that it will have a place in the classrooms of the future.

Even though it has many functions, the app is easy to use and supported by a detailed Help page, in-app instructions and demo videos.  The layout is clean and non-distracting.  Access to the developer’s website, feedback channels and social media can be disabled in the settings page which is locked in the Students Mode.    There is also a new iPhone version called School Fonts which has all of the features in this iPad version except the Whiteboard.

Overall, School Writing is an indispensable teaching tool for any classroom (school or home based) that uses the iPad for teaching.  From learning to write to writing to learn, from creating to managing your class’ assignments, it gives you total control of your lessons on the iPad.   It is worth your time to check it out and see the endless possibilities of how you can use it in your classroom and home.

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School Fonts – Learn to write – demografix pty ltd

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Requirements: Compatible with
Size: 0 MB

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School Writing – Learn to write and more. – demografix pty ltd

School Writing - learn the abc School Writing - learn the abc by demografix pty ltd
Category: Education, Utilities
Requirements: Compatible with iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74, iPad75-iPad75, iPad76-iPad76, iPad812-iPad812, iPad834-iPad834, iPad856-iPad856, iPad878-iPad878
Size: 53.57 MB

$4.99USD

Please use our App Store button above if you decide to buy this app. It doesn’t cost any extra and a small portion of the cost goes to support the work we do here at The iMums!

DISCLAIMER: A fee was received to expedite this review to the top of our waiting list but this payment has not influenced the objectivity of the review and all opinions have been offered honestly.

 

Code drop December 2014

School Writing has different versions in different app stores so please pick the one that is available in your app store the codes won’t work in the wrong country and will be wasted if you click on them

UK version of school writing

Code Drop Dec 24th 2014

1. http://redeem-now.com/46163ac093d6
2. http://redeem-now.com/328041d4cab7
3. http://redeem-now.com/255e14e93546
4. http://redeem-now.com/a56e6ff6bf38
5. http://redeem-now.com/e6f9d42b2061
6. http://redeem-now.com/4fcbfa9f12ad

 

Code Drop Dec 19th 2014 for School Writing – Learn to write and more. (Australia/New Zealand) – demografix pty ltd 


2. http://redeem-now.com/39fb4f96a007

School Writing - learn the abc School Writing - learn the abc by demografix pty ltd

Price: $4.99 USD

An education created app that contains the education approved fonts for your school, including individual plain and cursive letters, used in the United States of America schools – Zaner-Bloser and D.

 

Code drop Dec 24 for Literacy – demografix pty ltd


Literacy Literacy by demografix pty ltd

Price: $3.99 USD

* Reading, writing, listening and speaking, viewing and representing.

Literacy contains the education-approved handwriting fonts used in all UK, US, Australia and New Zealand schools.

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1. http://redeem-now.com/55fabeaf16e2
2. http://redeem-now.com/cc60d73374eb
3. http://redeem-now.com/75d3935fd9b5
4. http://redeem-now.com/85e0cf1ea6a7
5. http://redeem-now.com/5ca90e9801b0