Getting that @PaperLike feel

According to a survey [reported here], one in ten Britons has not handwritten anything at all over the past year. Thanks to the embracement of technologies, preferring to write on a computer, tablet or phone – citing communication speed and efficiency among the main reasons why.

Technological advancements have built-in capabilities to allow people to handwrite onto their devices but, for me, they have never felt natural, are prone to error, and are unworkable. As an iPad user, I was delighted when the Apple Pen was introduced as I saw it as a potential additional tool to engage handwriting skills in younger people. But, due to the unnatural feel, never took the idea further.

Now, thanks to a 3-in-1 screen protector for iPad – PaperLike – the potential of the Apple Pen and the iPad can now be realised. Handwriting onto the iPad finally feels more like writing on a piece of paper. Having used the PaperLike layer, I have found three main advantages, making the iPad experience even more enjoyable.

  1. Acts as a screen protector for the iPad,
  2. Reduces glare and light reflection on the iPad and, most importantly,
  3. Makes writing on your iPad, with the Apple Pen, feel more natural and controllable.

The PaperLike is an additional layer that you place onto the iPad screen, with a low-duct adhesive that sticks in place. Placing the PaperLike onto the iPad demands time, a good (dust-free) location, and needs to be done in a very good light. I will admit, it took me two attempts, with the first attempt ending up in the trash.

Contents of the pack

The inventor produced a step-by-step video guide to show how to place the film on your iPad, but the dust was my enemy in the first attempt. Fortunately, each pack comes with two layers, and my second attempt was a lot more successful – apart from one pesky dust particle that irritated me for a couple of hours. I did carefully remove a corner of the PaperLike, caught the particle with the ‘dust remover’ tool, and successfully re-applied the PaperLike with no air bubble or dust particles in sight. Hooray!

I was stunned by the result. My first handwriting experience was with the native Apple Notes and quickly felt that everything was more natural.

Apple Notes converting handwritten notes into digital text

OK, so far so good. I went over to another app – Notability – and things got even better. However, the experience with the app Nebo finally made me realise the potential of handwriting with the Apple Pen, PaperLike and the iPad. Thanks to Nebo, my handwritten notes could be transferred into text, which could then be copied into different apps and was really rewarding.

The experience with PaperLike, the iPad, the Apple Pencil, and the different apps highlighted to me the potential in schools. Handwriting is still a main skill taught in schools, but the advances in technology sometimes may the skill seem less important. However, I advocate that handwriting is a skill that should still be given attention, as the mindful benefits can be quite cathartic.

The PaperLike comes in different sizes, for the different iPad models available, and is a fantastic innovation that makes the iPad just that little more accessible. I would be interested in seeing how the product is developed, using more environmentally sustainable and recyclable materials.

Disclaimer: UKEdChat received a free pack of PaperLike, for the sake of review. No payments were made, and the editorial content in this article reflects an impartial review.

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About @digicoled 422 Articles
Colin Hill - Founder, researcher and editor of ukedchat. Also a bit of a tech geek! Project management, design thinking, and metacognition.

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