Many rightly argue that tablets cannot completely replace pen and paper in schools, as the fine-motor skills used for writing are continuously required across all subjects, plus the limits of writing with a stylus do not yet truly replicate the experience. Technology is advancing, and now with the added implementation of Bluetooth, the stylus is getting closer to a workable substitution to the index finger when working on the tablet. Fans of the stylus can also be frustrated with palm interference when trying to produce something precise – so these challenges need to be met before teachers would even consider replacing pens or pencils in the classroom.
So we were delighted to receive a parcel from New York recently, as Paper53 prepare to launch their Bluetooth stylus to the UK market (planned for April 2014). We have been fans of the Paper53 App for a while now, providing a great versatile bank of writing and drawing tools, but we have been frustrated mainly on two counts: Firstly is our inability to draw (really…rubbish); and secondly the inability to be precise with our work, mainly due to the palm touching the screen momentarily, therefore adding patterns to the page where they were not wanted!
The Bluetooth stylus from Paper53 thankfully solves one of the two issues we have had. The weight and precision of the stylus are perfect – it feels like a pen or pencil; it’s easy to hold. However, it has not improved our ability to become artists (as you will have seen from the top image), but the stylus now does allow us to create note books, making legible notes, without random lines appearing elsewhere on the page. For artists who have got some ability, this stylus will be perfect, and the ideal accompaniment for the Paper53 app. Cheekily, we also tried it out with a note-taking app (Notability), finding the stylus to work equally as well. What stood out was the ability to be able to see what you are writing, as the design of the pen does not hide your scribblings whilst you are using it (this review was completed by a right-handed person, but also asked a left-handed colleague to try it out – they found similar results).
We will be testing out the stylus further over the next few weeks, preparing for a more considered, real-world review in the UKEd Magazine. Watch this space. We will also let you know when the stylus is available to the UK market.