When we handwrite, our sequential finger movements activate parts of our brains that involve thinking, language and working memory. This is the same system we use for temporarily storing and managing information. During the writing process, Berninger continues, “Memory space is freed up for higher level composing processes; allowing us to better reflect on ideas and to structure our thoughts.” As a consequence when you handwrite, you’re more creative and better at composing thoughts and ideas.
I have to admit that I am a bit of a tech geek. I am more comfortable in front of a keyboard than I am with pen and paper. I believe part of that is due to my poor penmanship and my third grade teacher who encouraged my to stop using cursive writing and stick to printing. In the back of my head, I always felt like my handwriting was so poor, so I naturally gravitated to typing instead.
My problem is that I tend to forget that there are those students who prefer to hand write an assignment rather than type. Last week, I was having a meeting with one of my students and I asked them what they would like more of in the classroom. She immediately commented that she had to do her work on the computer and would prefer to write more. I promised her that she could do any of the assignments on paper if she preferred. I plan on letting students know that this is an option for anyone who wants to do that.
What do you think? Do we stress computer use over handwriting too much?