What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Hanx Writer is produced by actor Tom Hanks, who often signs his name "Hanx." The app turns the iPad into a replica of a typewriter, with the sounds of the tapping keys and carriage return and the imperfect look of typewritten text. The free version is mostly a novelty, a way for kids to hear and get a glimpse of what typewriters were like. In-app purchases unlock additional features such as text alignment and colors, making it more word-processor practical. The free version does include the ever-necessary delete key, so there's no need to worry about Wite-Out on your iPad screen. Documents can be emailed as PDFs.
What kids can learn
Language & Reading
- multiple forms of expression
- using and applying technology
Health & Fitness
- fine motor skills
Engagement, Approach, Support
The design is sleek and impressive, mimicking the look, text styles, and sounds of typewriters. Beyond typing, there's nothing all that exciting to do.
Though Hanx Writer isn't designed for learning per se, kids may find their writing muse as they play around with the typewriter format.
Work can be saved and organized into folders with multiple pages lining up like a printed-out manuscript. Documents can be shared as PDFs.
What's it about?
The iPad screen becomes a typewriter, and kids can type pages of text with the modern convenience of the delete key. New pages can be added to folders and saved in-app, or pages can be emailed as PDFs. Each of the three typewriters available has a different look, both of the typewriter and keys as well as the font. The Hanx Prime Select is included with the free download. The Hanx 707 features a bolder font, and the Hanx Golden Touch is sleeker and a bit more modern. Those are offered individually or in a bundle as in-app purchases.
Is it any good?
Upon opening HANX WRITER, kids will find a typed note from Tom Hanks explaining the inspiration behind the app. The letter closes with, "You already know how to work them," referencing typewriters, but that may not be true for most kids. They do know how to use an iPad, though, and that's close enough. The interface is totally intuitive, even though it looks like a typewriter. Kids can type on the touchscreen or use a Bluetooth keyboard. They won’t get the feel of a typewriter's keys, but they will experience the sounds of the clacking keys and clicking returns. Playing around with the typewriter will be a little fun, but the nostalgia will be lost on them, and they'll likely prefer to stick with more familiar and fully featured word-processing options.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about how word processing has changed since the days of typewriters. Parents (or grandparents) can share stories of correction fluid and double spacing.
Find an old typewriter for kids to explore hands-on, feeling the weight of the keys on the return bar.