Does handwriting still matter?
The New York Times has an interesting piece on the role of handwriting on educational development:
In a study that followed children in grades two through five, Virginia Berninger, a psychologist at the University of Washington, demonstrated that printing, cursive writing, and typing on a keyboard are all associated with distinct and separate brain patterns — and each results in a distinct end product. When the children composed text by hand, they not only consistently produced more words more quickly than they did on a keyboard, but expressed more ideas. And brain imaging in the oldest subjects suggested that the connection between writing and idea generation went even further. When these children were asked to come up with ideas for a composition, the ones with better handwriting exhibited greater neural activation in areas associated with working memory — and increased overall activation in the reading and writing networks.
Purely coincidental, but I’ve been reverting to doing more handwriting over the last year. I have a physical notebook and an actual pen. And I’ve been using it. People who know me well, know this is very surprising. I’m digital everything.
But I’m seeing the benefits to writing more. I’m more engaged with my note-taking if I’m using a pen and paper (or even an Apple Pencil and iPad). It does feel different.
I would have been one of those people arguing that there’s little point to handwriting at this point in human history. But I’ve been reassessing that lately. And this research further highlights the fact that maybe it isn’t the right time to cast handwriting to the past.