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Writing in the digital age: Keyboard versus pen in adolescents

Writing in the Digital Age - Keyboard versus Pen in Adolescents with Handwriting Difficulties

Up to 90% of referrals to Children’s Occupational Therapy (OT) are for difficulties with handwriting and as part of the OT process, alternative modes ie keyboarding are often recommended. In secondary school, these recommendations inform access arrangements where students can apply to use a word processor in examinations. However, no study has examined whether a word-processor has a positive impact on writing (composition) performance, compared to writing by hand. In addition, little is known about the contextual environment (policies/practices) and how key stakeholders (students/OTs/educators) experience the process of handwriting accommodations.

Description

This mixed-methods project (n=100) will:

  1. Quantify the impact of writing modality (keyboarding versus handwriting) on writing performance

Measure factors that predict writing

  1. performance
  2. Obtain the views of key stakeholders to understand local policies/practices

The project will create a much-needed evidence-base for supporting secondary school students with handwriting difficulties.


Meet the Principal Investigator(s) for the project

Dr Mellissa Prunty - Mellissa is a Paediatric Occupational Therapist and qualified from the MSc (pre-reg) programme at Glasgow Caledonian University in 2010. She previously completed a BSc (Hons) in Kinesiology at Memorial University of Newfoundland in Canada, while on athletic scholarship for women’s basketball. She completed her PhD on handwriting difficulties in children with Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), which she undertook at Oxford Brookes University under the supervision of Prof. Anna Barnett, Dr. Mandy Plumb and Dr. Kate Wilmut. Mellissa has worked in a variety of childrens' services since qualifying as an OT and specialises in working with children with coordination difficulties. She runs a research clinic at the university which investigates key skills and participation in childhood including handwriting, activities of daily living and cycling. Separate to this Mellissa co-leads the development of wheelchair basketball and disability sport on campus. She has organised a series of inter-professional training days for health care students and has incorporated wheelchair basketball into the occupational therapy curriculum. The wheelchair basketball project has now expanded into the local community and a new club for children and adults is now underway (Brunel Bulls). Mellissa joined Brunel University London as a Lecturer in October 2013. http://www.brunel.ac.uk/occupational-therapy/research/kidspace http://www.brunel.ac.uk/life/sport/community-activities/Wheelchair-Basketball

Related Research Group(s)

Cognitive Neuroscience

Cognitive Neuroscience - Fundamental and applied research into brain function using techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), electroencephalography (EEG), electromyography (EMG), eye-tracking, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), transcranial direct-current stimulation (tDCS), infrared thermography together with psychophysics and cognitive behavioural paradigms in health and disease.


Project last modified 21/06/2021