Part 2: Is The Pen Mightier Than The Swipe?

There is a hum of a counter argument brewing which positions the pen at the pointy end of learning encounters! And it’s not just from the old edu-romantics!…its coming from academic researchers.

Virginia Berninger, professor of educational psychology at the University of Washington in Seattle, says it’s important to help children acquire the skill of writing by hand almost as they would a second language.

“I think it is wise to continue teaching handwriting,” Berninger says. “We need to continue to help kids be ‘bilingual’ by hand.”

Berninger and her colleagues conducted a study that looked at the ability of students to complete various writing tasks — both on a computer and by hand.

The study, published in 2009, found that when writing with a pen and paper, participants wrote longer essays and more complete sentences and had a faster word production rate.

Richard Gentry, Ph.D., an expert on childhood literacy, reading, and spelling, and author of Raising Confident Readers: How to Teach Your Child to Read and Write says that,

“Handwriting is crucial because recent brain scan studies have shown that early handwriting skill helps kids learn to read. Keyboarding doesn’t have this effect. With a language such as English with its difficult spelling system, early handwriting practice and writing down messages and thoughts helps kids break the code.”

So, is it the art of nice legible linked script that is important here or is it something deeper that we need to explore? Could digital pens potentially provide a bridge between the analogue thinking and digital world?

Stay tuned for part 3.

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One thought on “Part 2: Is The Pen Mightier Than The Swipe?

  1. This is a topic that’s always really interested me. I was a literacy teacher many years ago, and whilst I didn’t have the research to back it up, I believed strongly in the connection between fluency of hand and fluency of thought. Handwriting is more than simply a mechanical task. It is an expression. I’ll be interested to see how this develops.

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