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Art student’s designs aimed at helping children learn to write


Talented students across a number of art disciplines in Aberdeen are putting the finishing touches to their final-year projects ahead of the annual Gray’s School of Art Degree Show, sponsored by BP. 

Lisa Galloway Product DesignDisciplines include Painting, Sculpture, Printmaking, Fashion and Textiles, Design for Digital Media, Visual Communication, 3D, Product and Graphic Design.

Product design student, Lisa Galloway (21) from the Spital has created an alphabet of silicone learning aids aimed at helping primary school children to write ‘joined-up’ or in cursive.

The alphabet is comprised of large cursive lower-case letter stencils in the shape of an object or animal beginning with the letter e.g. ‘a’ is an apple, ‘b’ is a bird.

Lisa explains:

“My silicone alphabet is designed to encourage children to learn how to copy the letters in cursive writing more actively in a new and fun way. The aids also have 3 words printed on them relevant to the stage of reading the children are at.

“My stencils specifically use cursive font instead of print so there are no mirror image letters such as ‘b’ and ‘d’ which often confuse children at an early age. The vowels are red and consonants blue to help distinguish them when constructing words. The letter ‘y’ combines the two colours to reflect that it can be used as both.”

As part of her research, Lisa visited three different primary schools across Scotland and observed how children from primary one to seven learn to write as part of the new Curriculum for Excellence – one of the hallmarks of which is a more active approach to learning core skills.

Her designs are made from a flexible silicone material which can be used with multi-sensory fabrics, pencils, crayons or paint and can be easily cleaned and stored in a classroom environment.

Lisa continues:

“After my initial research, I felt there weren’t enough learning tools for cursive writing in the market to support teachers when demonstrating this in class.

“I went back to the schools with prototypes over a three-month period for the pupils to try out my designs and give feedback. All ages enjoyed using the alphabet in different ways – with Primary 1 kids using paint and Primary 7 pupils creating more defined script with pen.”

Lisa is currently putting the finishing touches to her project and is looking to take the design to the next stage.

She adds:

“I’d like to conduct more pilot testing to improve and fine-tune the alphabet for the market in educational aids. I’ve enjoyed applying my design skills to a real problem and seeing children use them in classroom, helping them to learn in a creative way.”

Gray’s School of Art Degree Show 2012, sponsored by BP, will be launched on Friday 15 June. The show will then be open to the public from 16 to 23 June. For more information, visit: www.rgu.ac.uk/degreeshow.  

Notes to Editors:

  • Interviews with Lisa and more information is available by contacting Sarah Grieve on 01224 262206.
  • Photographs attached are of Lisa with her work at Gray’s School of Art.

Issued by:
Sarah Grieve
Communications Officer | Faculty of Design & Technology
Robert Gordon University
Schoolhill
Aberdeen
AB10 1FR
Tel: 01224 262206
Email: s.j.grieve@rgu.ac.uk.