If I told you there was a sticker that could turn any writing utensil - pen, pencil, crayon - into a stylus that would work on your touchscreen/tablet AND allow you to work on paper too, would you believe it? It's true - and for 1/10th of the cost of that super stylus pencil you've read all about!
Touchscreen and Tablet Technology
Tablet technology holds so much opportunity for learners both young and old! In our house, we have no fewer than iPad products: 2 minis, 1 "old-school" series iPad, 1 iPad Air, and 1 iPad Pro. That's a small fortune in tablet technology and I wish I could say my buying had stopped there...but we also have Kindles and the iPhone "Plus" models are mini tablets in and of themselves!
I'm not the only one finding convenience in tablets - from signing into school visitor logs, to checking out at the coffee shop, and viewing/marking up X-rays at the orthopedist (real life story!), tablets are quickly replacing some of the older ways of doing business with paper and pencil.
So here's the problem.
The struggle to replicate a quality version of your actual signature using a stylus or your fingertip is real. The sensory feedback just isn't the same, nor is the motor accuracy. My lines end up looking like paintbrush strokes and my clumsy signature just doesn't cut it for signing professional documents on-the-go. And, just like it's not convenient to drag along my iPad Pro vs. the mini, it's not feasible for me to go out and drop $100 on a fancy Apple Pencil.
The other reality is that unless you have a notetaking system in place that you are comfortable with for drawing diagrams, annotating, script notetaking (handwriting) and proficient typing skills, you're going to revert to dropping a stylus to pick up a pen/pencil, and switch between paper notes and onscreen supports.
The Problem with Styluses
Let's back up a second... as an occupational therapist and assistive technology specialist, I know that we all learn through sensory feedback. How we respond as individuals is what makes us unique. When we write, the sensory feedback we get from a traditional crayon versus a wide-tip marker versus playground chalk versus a traditional pencil versus a ballpoint pen is all very different. What you, as the user, prefer most will dictate the writing tool you prefer. The same holds true with how you access the technology you use - keyboard onscreen or actual physical keyboard? external mouse or trackpad? stylus or finger?
The latter of that last access question - stylus or finger - may not present a reasonable solution for some users like me. The reality is that the styluses are clumsy to use, they draw fat lines, and the rubber tip doesn't allow for fine precision. There are other fine-tip styluses on the market that, while possibly a solution, don't warrant the investment for me (or the kids I work with that are quick to lose anything that's of value!). My fingertip isn't exactly doing me any favors either. So, when the friendly people at Tip Stylus reached out with their new product, I was excited and intrigued by all of the possibilities!
TIPS Sticker Stylus is exactly that - a sticker that is applied directly on top of your writing utensil to turn any pencil or pen into a stylus. Basically, this Patent-Pending invention takes the energy from your physical touch and transfers it to your touchscreen device. IPhone, iPad, Microsoft Surface Tablet, Touchscreen Chromebook...you name it. If it's got a touchscreen, the TIPS Sticker Stylus will allow you to seamlessly shift from writing on paper to writing onscreen without having to switch out writing utensils/styluses. Better yet, it doesn't mark up your touchscreen!
Uses for TIPS Stylus
As you can imagine, there are countless apps and games that require writing strokes. OTs know of wonderful games to work on visual motor coordination and prewriting/letter formation practice. Everyday uses can involve marking up/signing documents, marking up/labeling images, and note taking - either with handwriting or handwriting-to-text conversion apps.
Here are a few apps that we love using the TIPS Stylus with:
These visual motor and handwriting games are fun no matter what you use to draw, print, or color! Add the TIPS Stylus over a regular pencil to train fine motor skills and reinforce grasp patterns in motivating ways. Use it directly over your student's favorite pencil grip too! It'll still work!
For middle and high school students, try using these apps to simplify the note taking process. Some of these convert your own handwritten letters/words to text while others work for math! Some allow for handwriting to be intact (MyScript Memo) just as though you were writing on lined notebook paper. Inkcredible allows for sketching and writing on graph paper, so no matter what your preference, there is an app that works with TIPS stylus to turn your handwritten notes into electronic notes!
TIPS Stylus is a wonderful, forward-thinking product that is affordable (6/$11.95, bulk pricing available), re-positionable, and customizable based on users' needs. We love that it works across adapted writing utensils so there's no need to recreate the wheel - if you've got a tool that works for your motor skills and sensory feedback needs, adding the Stylus Sticker is easy to do!
*While TIPS Stylus sent us their products to sample and share with you all, our opinions were not influenced by this sponsorship. Links provided in this article are for the convenience of our readers but may also result in financial benefit to this writer.