Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The importance of handwriting

There is enough documented evidence out there that shows students who take hand-written notes retain more than those who use a computer.

There are also enough studies out there that suggest student’s ability to spell is getting worse because of reliance on spellcheck versus simply learning to spell.

Imagine you see your favorite movie star or sports hero, and you want an autograph: can your tablet or smartphone be used as a pen? What happens if you need to write something down quickly and your electronic device is powered down or out of power?

Now back to the problem of education; my personal experience with students note taking on a computer is that their notes are often lousy, or worse they did not take them but instead had a friend send them a copy of the notes.

There is a phenomenon I see that is very prevalent amongst graduate students, and the result is they are not able to pass simple tests or exams because they have no notes to study. I have even allowed students to use handwritten notes during tests, and it is amazing how many students do not know how to take efficient handwritten notes, or try and pass off someone else’s photocopied notes as their own.

Do you remember receiving letters? Do you remember how pleasurable it was to get that envelope and read what was inside? How many of you now look forward to receiving emails? Not many I would guess.

How many of you memorize phone numbers now? How many of you have been in a position where you needed a number but your device was gone?

Now I am not saying a computer is bad, I am not saying typing is bad (my handwriting is terrible to read, doctors writing), but a computer is simply a tool, and like all tools if they are used incorrectly the results are also going to be incorrect.

Do we have to have the extremes we have right now where we are always plugged in, where everything has to be electronic? Your kids become zombies in video games and tablets due to screen addiction?

Young people on a date spend more time taking selfies and pictures of their food than talking and eating their food it seems.

Here are some things to try:

1.      Turn your phone off for a whole day and have fun (motorcycle rides can guarantee no phones)

2.      Carry a pen and paper

3.      Write phone numbers down first then put them in your phone

4.      If you are a student try handwritten notes for a semester and compare your grades

These are just thoughts, but I am sure others will add to this. I wish us all luck in this rapidly changing world, and I hope we never forget the basics.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam


  1. Thank you for this excellent article. I did share on my blog.

  2. I have this very discussion with my 4th grade students. They come back after talking with their parents who thank me for teaching handwriting as well as cursive. As a person who worked in corporate America we still use the pen and paper, signatures are still necessary for legal contracts and if/when the power is out the old way is still the most reliable.


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