Monday, February 16, 2009

Is there a future for handwriting?

From a commenter on my poll:

A digital classroom is on the verge to be here already. The only exception would be Elementary grades teaching writing by hand, which could turn into a useless learning in 20 to 50 years.

So, my question to you fair readers: Is Handwriting on the Way Out?


  1. I think it depends on what you mean by handwriting. Cursive? No way. I don't see a need for cursive writing in the least.

    Writing by hand. Sure, very necessary. Not necessarily for school though. A handwritten thank you note, jotting things down on a sticky note. But, of course, I have a "stickies" app on my laptop, an iPod Touch has a note feature, and in just a few short years, every student will have some sort of netbook under their own.

    There, take that, I haven't answered your question at all and I've taken up a couple words of computer space.

  2. It would be naive to think the ability to handwrite quickly and efficiently will ever - in the near or distant future - be a meaningless, useless skill.

    Computers and associated technologies are wonderful tools, but they will never entirely replace the ability to communicate via written - often by hand - language.

    Scribbling your loved ones name in the sand would no longer exist? Sad.

  3. No. I have seen a significant drop on note-passing though, with the correlation in the increase of unlimited texting plans purchased by my students' parents.

    I also don't think that cursive is necessarily dead either. I believe that it should be taught for the same reasons why future humanity majors need math and engineers need to read literature: they should be exposed to it. After that, they can decide whether they want their handwriting, their "style," their signature to be in print or cursive.

    There's also the art of writing, be it journal writing or calligraphy.

    And there is something in taking the time, patience, and care to write a note, a legible note. There is a sense of permanence to it, to be bound and kept and read years and years from now. That is not something we can say about e-mails and text messages, which makes the handwritten ones all the more precious.


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