Is Handwriting a dying art?

Cast your mind back to the most recent thing you’ve written. Maybe it was a document for work, a message to a friend, email to your professor or a simple shopping list. Did you use a pen? Or did you type it? Or did you use ctrl+c then ctrl+v ? or used voice typing?

Go back and have a look at your school notes. Do you really think your kids are gonna to have these fond memories?

Do you think upcoming childrens will draw aromatic benzene 1000 times in their JEE preparatory notes as we did ?


Touch Typing and Voice Typing are changing how we write

We’re told that writing is dying. Typing on keyboards and screens dominates written communication today. Even scribbling a signature has become rarer due to the prevalence of chip-and-pin credit cards.

We are in an age where we swipe, pinch and tap on smartphones and tablets from birth, is the “hand” in “handwriting” about to be removed forever? And are there any benefits to good old-fashioned pen and paper: artistic posterity, cognitive benefits, or something else?

Pen decline

Even letters to Santa Claus are increasingly sent by emails. Schools around the globe are spoiling handwriting by giving more importance to typing. Learning cursive, joined-up handwriting was once compulsory in schools. But now, not so much.

Countries such as Finland have dropped joined-up handwriting lessons in schools in favour of typing courses. And in the US, the requirement to learn cursive has been left out of core standards since 2013.

For all the free information now we have at our fingertips, digitalisation is also dumbing us down. And it’s partly due to the fact that we’re typing more than writing.

Still, there are technologies vying to replace even the typed word. Take voice recognition software (VRS), such as Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana.

But in the age of keyboards, touchscreens and voice-to-text, handwriting is as important as ever.

Why can’t handwriting be extinct?

What’s the first thing you do, when you have to solve a conceptual problem? Do you start by first drafting your ideas or do you dive right into the project?

Most of us would pick a pen and somerough sheets. Start fiddling with the pen while thinking about the topic. And record our ideas on rough sheets. Do we directly start typing?

NO, because the process of handwriting is “creating a mental picture of the world” and computer processing does not create the same picture in the brain.

“You never know what an ‘A’ is unless you’ve physically drawn it.”

I also feel that day is still very far when each and every person on earth will have access to technology and enough knowledge to use technology. The act of writing should not be forgotten. Aside from its charm for certain tasks it still has much more utility than it is often given credit for. In many ways, handwriting is still less restrictive than its digital counterpart and has many advantages both functionally and creatively. Additionally, handwriting still forms a unique part of our culture and identity that we should not forget about so easily.with this in mind it is necessary to look at the place of handwriting in the digital age, with the hope of sparking a discussion about its importance.


Few Reasons Why:
  • Cognitive Development and Mental Connectivity Many researchers have noted meaningful connections between handwriting and cognitive development and information retention.

Learning cursive forces the writer to be more deliberate in how the individual characters connect and how the words are spelled. Taking notes by hand instead of typing them helps the brain make distinctions about what was said and which information is worth recording. With these tendencies, handwriting is a valuable tool for learning, development and information retention, all of which are important aspects of the education experience.

Studies show that students who took notes on laptops performed worse on conceptual questions than students who took hand-written notes. Reason being that Hand-written notes is a slower process. This forces students to focus and recapitulate the core points of the information.

Difference between notes written by hand and typed by computer

Pam A. Mueller of Princeton University and Daniel M. Oppenheimer of the University of California, Los Angeles studied the difference between notes taken by hand and those typed on a computer.

The study found that when people type notes, they’re more inclined to try to record as much of the lecture as possible verbatim. On the other hand, students who take notes by hand are forced to be more selective with what they record since they can’t write as fast as they can type. This selective processing enables them to more effectively understand and remember what they’ve heard.

This mental process is called generative note-taking, which Mueller and Oppenheimer define as summarizing, paraphrasing and trimming content, essentially passing it through your own brain “filter” before writing down the content as notes.

  • Handwriting is more creative than personal While this may sound like a subjective statement on the “lost art” of handwriting, many accomplished novelists note that their creative process is more effective when they draft their writing by hand.

science supports that the process of writing is a more engaging way to compose thoughts, which uses more parts of the brain.This creates a snowball effect where each subsequent word is chosen more carefully and the brain is more thorough and thoughtful because it is more involved in the task-at-hand.

A handwritten note creates a lifelong memento and conveys more thoughtfulness and time investment than an email or text.

  • The many benefits of handwriting Whether you’re looking to retain more information in class, keep your mind sharp as you age, make your mark in professional or personal correspondence or simply compose better thoughts for yourself or for others, handwriting is a powerful tool.

It activates the brain in ways that no other form of thinking and communication can and creates a meaningful product for studying, self-reflection or communication with others.

Handwriting may boost fine motor skills in your hands and fingers, handwriting can stimulate visual recognition and memory retention.

So… what does the future hold for handwriting?

No, definitely not. Handwriting will never die. Its need may decrease because of technology. still there will be many areas in which handwriting will be needed. Handwriting will never completely die out, just as things like gardening, handicrafts, calligraphy, etc, didn’t die out. It’ll just be relegated to a hobby or niche interest.

Pick up a pen and paper today and see for yourself—you might be surprised at how it makes your brain feel.

Written by Rameshwar Dhakad
on January 10th, 2021

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