Bottom Line: This writing method is solidly designed both on and off the device from the classification of letters based on the start of their designs to imagining the lines on paper as the sky, clouds and grass. Each letter is created with a hero character that creates a short story to make that letter to help kids remember the process while having some fun.
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Handwriting Heroes is a complete handwriting learning system and the app is one of the tools used. The app opens to a home screen where teachers and kids have access to several areas of the app. In the upper left corner, users can be created by name. Settings is also located in this section and music, sound effects and voice/narration can be turned off or on. The difficulty for each child can be adjusted from easy, medium or difficult. The number of practices can be chosen from one, two or three and letter groups can be selected or unselected for each user as well. The information section located nearby is guarded by a math problem to deter little fingers from accessing the external content located on the developer's website as well as their Facebook page.
The app and learning program have divided the lower-case letters into groups based on letter-formation. There are the skydivers (l,t,k,i,j), the canon pops (c,a,d,o,g,q), the bouncers (h,b,r,n,m,p), the skiers (v,w,x,y), and the surfers (s,u,f,e,z). Each of the groups have a super-hero story for the formation of each letter as well as a cute little theme song. For a letter formation story example, "Y yodels down a short slope and yelps down a long one too" as the the skiers perform the activity. The font used in the app was chosen to use a few strokes as possible while introducing to children and no capital letters are introduced because it is believed that introducing them after fully learning the lower-case letters actually speeds the learning process.
As previously mentioned, during play, children are given a memorable story that is demonstrated by the characters. Next, children are given the narration again, while the children complete the letter creation. Then, the letter is shown over lines that are illustrated with sky blue for the top, clouds for the dotted lines and green for the base line and children are shown a starting point to begin writing without narration. Finally, the lined paper is shown more traditionally, the letter is shown to the left and all that is given to the student is the starting point. Depending on app settings, lifting a finger while writing or going off the line causes the letter to be incomplete and gently nudges the user to try again.
While tinkering with the app, I found no bugs nor errors. The app is solidly designed and easy to navigate and to create users with little effort. I also appreciate the abundance of materials that are available through the developer's website to bring the characters to life on paper including print-outs, line-paper, cards, finger puppets and even crowns.