The value of handwriting tech in today’s digital classroom.

digital-handwriting-collegeThe nation recently celebrated National Handwriting Day, and for a brief moment, the world celebrated the age-old art of penmanship. But with keyboards and touchpads reigning supreme, should institutions of higher learning continue to emphasize handwriting?

Of course! The evidence doesn’t lie. Handwriting remains a critical communication skill. A 2013 study found that students who write out their notes on paper actually learn more. Participants using laptops were more inclined to take verbatim notes than participants who wrote longhand, thus hurting their ability to reframe lessons on their own. Specifically, participants who had taken notes with laptops performed worse on factual and conceptual tests, relative to participants who had taken notes longhand.

At Arizona State University, educators now encourage students to handwrite their notes. Both faculty and students cite positive results of this initiative, highlighting better exam performance and note-taking abilities. Additionally, deemphasizing handwriting’s importance puts our younger generations at an educational disadvantage. While good handwriting can elevate a mediocre test score from the 50th percentile to the 84th percentile, bad penmanship can drop it to 16th.

(Next page: Not a technology issue)

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