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[Xmca-l] Re: Psychology of handwriting -- mobile app.


I'm in Australia right now, talking at the annual national meeting of the
Australian Systemic-Functional Linguistics Association (my other life is as
a Hallidayan linguist). The "hook up" between orthography and phonology is,
in my humble theoretical opinion, the hottest issue in literacy teaching
bar none, for three reasons.

a) Nether the "whole language" (teach only meaningful units) or the
"phonics" approach has delivered the systemic mastery of "spounding"
(spelling plus sounding) that lies behind mastery of orthography. (c.f. the
"Reading Wars" in the USA).

b) The theory of "realization" (that is, the idea that the relationship
between meaning, wording, and sounding is stratal but not causal and not
dualistic) is at one and the same time the most difficult concept to master
in the whole of linguistics and the first thing you must "know" if you are
going to read, and the best way I've found to teach it to children is not
through reading but through writing and the best way I've found to teach it
through writing is through deautomatizing it and making it once again a
kind of drawing.

c) Keyboards interfere with this process. But for kids today, writing
without a computer is oxymoronic; it's writing on the air, or in the sand
(which is how handwriting was taught in China for thousands of years,
because paper was too expensive to waste on children).

David Kellogg

On Wed, Sep 30, 2015 at 5:24 AM, Greg Thompson <greg.a.thompson@gmail.com>

> Huw,
> I'll give my two cents on this (primarily in hopes of prodding someone else
> to chime in).
> 1. Don't know, but my sense is that most of what is developed for children
> is not informed by anything but the simplest psychological theory. Most of
> the time the litmus test is whether or not it will keep the kid engaged for
> a few minutes so that the parent can run off and do XYZ.
> 2. I would suggest making it so that people pay by providing their data to
> be mined (you'll want to say it differently than that but you get the idea
> - also, note that there is a question of how you can be sure that you are
> tracking the right user - what if someone logs on as a user and then leaves
> the app open and someone else plays with it? okay, that's a little bit of
> cart before horse...). This might act as an incentive for do-gooder parents
> who are interested in contributing to research.
> 3. Can't help on this one.
> 4. I can't imagine why not.
> Also, I wouldn't worry about the hedging that you do at the beginning, I
> suspect it is unnecessary (even for this cynical bunch!).
> As a parent, I'm not sure that I would be terribly interested in a
> handwriting app. And I fear that I would probably subject it to the litmus
> test I mentioned above (will it keep my kids occupied for a spell?).
> Anyway, my two cents.
> -greg
> On Tue, Sep 29, 2015 at 6:13 AM, Huw Lloyd <huw.softdesigns@gmail.com>
> wrote:
> >  Dear All
> >
> > I am writing a smart-phone / tablet application for practising
> handwriting
> > and related activities and have a few questions (below) which some of you
> > may have some feeling for.
> >
> > The initial audience I had in mind for the application are children of
> > adults owning ipads and the like.  There are, I am aware, numerous issues
> > and scope for criticism with respect to promoting this kind of
> application
> > and pastime.  However, given that there is a young user base for
> tablets, I
> > reason that we might as well embrace the technology and try to put
> forward
> > some good products, rather than the 'pop the balloon' games that, I
> > imagine, populate many of these mobile devices.  I am currently at the
> > stage of implementing the main psychological component of the
> application,
> > which will initially be reminiscent of experiments undertaken by
> Gal'perin.
> >
> > What I am hoping for is to gather a large set of longitudinal
> > transcriptions of writing fluency across a potentially rather wide user
> > base (i.e anyone with a smart phone/tablet), in order to undertake a
> robust
> > microgenetic study of the development in handwriting and the analytical
> > skills that accompany it.  It is my also my thought that this study will
> > serve as a good exemplary model for applying the genetic analysis that I
> > have been sketching out.
> >
> > Given the challenges of implementing the application, I have not spent
> much
> > time trying to find out what presently exists within the apps domain or,
> > indeed, whether the psychological research has begun to embrace such
> > devices for collating data.
> >
> > Here are my questions:
> >
> > 1.  What's already out there in the mobile apps world?  Are they informed
> > by any psychological theory?
> >
> > 2.  Under what circumstances would you use or experiment with such an
> > application?  E.g. Does it need to be freely available or would a small
> > cost be indicative of quality?
> >
> > 3.  Are there any high profile studies of the psychology of handwriting
> > that you would want, or expect, the application design to be informed by?
> > Presently I am working along the lines delineated by Gal'perin, though I
> > hope to return soon to see what Luria has written about this too.
> >
> > 4.  Is this the sort of experiment that merits publication in a
> particular
> > journal?  It is my hope that I will get several papers published from
> this
> > effort as a whole.
> >
> > Best,
> > Huw
> >
> --
> Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
> Assistant Professor
> Department of Anthropology
> 880 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
> Brigham Young University
> Provo, UT 84602
> http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson