Handwriting vs. Typing
In a entitled \”The Pen is Mightier than the Keyboard,\” researchers Pam Mueller and Daniel Oppenheimer found that students who take notes by hand perform better on conceptual questions than students who take notes on laptops. They concluded that students who type their notes tend to transcribe the lecture and to process the lecture only on a shallow level. Student who take notes by hand actually digest the content and reframe it in their own words—a process that increases both understanding and recall. By analyzing numerous studies, researchers found that teaching handwriting is strongly correlated to improvement in the quality of writing (not just the legibility of the handwriting, but the quality of the composition). The writing process involves a number of \”low-level\” skills—such as handwriting, spelling, and grammar—along with a number of \”high-level\” skills—organization, strategy, considering the parameters of the topic and the needs of the reader, etc. When students aren\’t proficient at the low-level skills and have to work hard just to get words onto the paper, they don\’t have enough brain power left to execute the high-level skills.
But when student have fluent handwriting, they are free to concentrate on the high-level skills we associate with good writing. As Graham and Santangelo point out, even with the presence of computers, much of the writing done in primary school will necessarily be done with pencil and paper, so students who fail to develop fluent handwriting will suffer. While the benefits of handwriting can be observed in student performance, they can also be observed in the brain itself. using fMRI technology showed that writing letters, as opposed to viewing them on a screen, is associated with more advanced brain function. Preliterate children who actually wrote a letter showed brain activation in areas associated with reading and writing in adults, while children who viewed the letter on a screen did not. And, according to neurologist, the neurological benefits of writing by hand are with cursive writing. БCursive writing, compared to printing, is even more beneficial because the movement tasks are more demanding, the letters are less stereotypical, and the visual recognition requirements create a broader repertoire of letter representation.
Б Researcher Diane Montgomery that the connected letters and fluid motion of cursive handwriting are especially beneficial to students with disorders such as dyslexia and dysgraphia. Yet many fail to recognize the value of cursive. The authors of the, regarding old-fashioned writing as antiquated in the modern age, leave little time for handwriting instruction, filling students\’ and teachers\’ time with other substantive subjects. Cognitive and Motor Skills Development : Because handwriting is a complex skill that involves both cognitive and fine motor skills, direct instruction is required to learn handwriting (it is not good enough to just give a workbook to students and hope for the best). However, the result of good instruction is that students are benefited both in their cognitive development and in developing motor skills. Literacy Development : Handwriting is a foundational skill that can influence students\’ reading, writing, language use, and critical thinking. Students without consistent exposure to handwriting are more likely to have problems retrieving letters from memory; spelling accurately; extracting meaning from text or lecture; and interpreting the context of words and phrases.
Brain Development : The sequential hand movements used in handwriting activate the regions of the brain associated with thinking, short-term memory, and language. In addition, according to Virginia Berninger, Ph. D. , professor of educational psychology at the University of Washington, cursive in particular is linked with brain functions around self-regulation and mental organization. \”Cursive helps you connect things,\” Dr. Berninger said in an interview. Memory : The act of handwriting helps students (and adults) retain information more effectively than when keyboarding, mostly likely because handwriting involves more complex motor functions and takes a bit longer. One study comparing students who took notes by hand versus classmates who took notes by computer found that the hand writers exhibited better comprehension of the content and were more attentive and involved during the class discussions.
Written Expression : Elementary-age students who wrote compositions by hand rather than by keyboarding, one researcher found, wrote faster, wrote longer pieces, and expressed more ideas. Learning Disabilities : Handwriting instruction can be especially valuable to many students with disabilities. As one professor of occupational therapy has written, \”One of the first things educators can do to ensure that students with special needs develop good writing skills, besides teaching them spelling and basic writing processes, is to provide them with formal handwriting instruction. \” Students with learning disabilities are more likely to need extra support to improve their handwriting, but improved handwriting can both help improve academic outcomes and help in fine motor skill development. And you never know when cursive will be useful. For instance, the technique proved crucial in this year\’s murder trial. Later, Zimmerman\’s defense team attempted to discredit Martin\’s childhood friend\’s testimony. she wrote to Martin\’s parents, bringing into question if she could truly write in cursive.