You’ve probably gotten wind of the argument that “cursive is dead.” For the record, I think that kids should still be taught cursive… the United States Constitution is written in cursive, for goodness’ sake. And then this morning I saw this, a letter to Santa that is simply a link to an Amazon wish list. (If you haven’t seen it, seriously check out that link.)
The transformation from hand-written communication to digital expression has been accelerated as technology is handed to children at a younger and younger age. E-books and tablets are being used in elementary schools, and cell phones and computers are increasingly accessible in the home. And as cursive is being erased from schools’ curriculum, I would not be surprised to see computer skills take precedence over writing in the near future, especially as the future generation is raised with a primarily digital experience. While there are many advantages to this new age of education (clearly I am blogging from a computer right now, although you can see in the photo some of my handwritten notes for this post), I firmly believe that some things are more effective -and satisfying – when left to pen and paper:
To-Do and Grocery Lists
There’s something about physically crossing things off a list that gives you a real sense of achievement. To-do list apps can be out-of-sight, out-of-mind, and extremely distracting to toggle between things to see your list. I keep post-it notes at my desk at work and at home, and make a list each morning about things I want to complete by the end of the day. Likewise, I’m pretty good about writing out a list and keeping it in front of me in the grocery basket. Lists keep you focused and handwriting them is quick, easy, and motivating as you check off each item.
Editing and Revising Papers
In college I was always editing people’s papers and resumes, and my current job requires me to write up workpapers for every assignment I complete. While these papers are typed out, for me to edit them I prefer to print it out and make revisions by hand. Many others use the “Track Changes” option in Microsoft Word, but I am more effective at catching errors when I am reading it physically and marking it up with a brightly-colored pen. Later I will revise the document on the computer, and if I need another draft I will print it out again. Long live the printer!
Taking Notes & Brainstorming
You are more creative when you are hand writing things. It is a fact. You are not subject to the boundaries of a computer program – you can write, draw pictures and diagrams, easily arrow between two ideas, and never fear that your work will not be “saved.” Also, I personally am more creative when things are not online – until I see fit, I am able to write down whatever my heart pleases without the looming judgment of the public eye. Also, handwriting things engages the brain and helps to internalize concepts. This is why, when I am interviewing people for work, I take notes by hand rather than typing into a template. Also, the fact that later on I have to type up my notes for my coworkers forces (enables?) me to review the notes a second time.
Personal Notes and Letters
Hand-written notes are intimate. Would you rather a typed, cookie-cutter thank you card, or one that someone took the time to write by hand? Can you imagine if your mom put store-bought notes into your school lunch? Do yourself a favor this Christmas and send hand-written Christmas cards to everyone on your list. Maybe include the same photo or even a printed holiday card, but add something handwritten (besides just a signature). Not only will you feel more connected to those on the receiving end, you might find yourself really caring about and wondering what is going on in THEIR lives!
That’s all I have for today. What do you think? Are you more comfortable behind a keyboard or pen and paper?