Why You Should Value Handwriting in an Age of Digital Notes
Evernote is probably the most used app on my iPhone. With the ability to store, organize, and tag all my notes in the cloud, I’m much more organized than I ever was before.
There are countless benefits to digital note-taking. For example, I use Evernote to remind me who showed up for assistance during activity period, grades I need to update, grocery lists, ideas for blogging, and much more.
Some broader benefits of digital note taking include:
- Note retrieval in Evernote takes seconds rather than the minutes it used to take me to find in a physical journal.
- Tagging content allows me to search notes by keyword and organize them much more efficiently.
- Virtual notebooks replace bounded notebooks, therefore minimizing clutter, damage, and loss.
- Notes are easily accessible from any MacBook, PC, or compatible smart phone device.
- Digital notes can be composed of multimedia, not just text.
But what does digital note-taking often come at the expense of? Handwriting.
My goal was once to eliminate all pencil and paper from my life and focus strictly on digital forms of note-taking. Ironically, in an age of where this is possible, I now want to write more.
Why? Recent studies suggest that handwriting:
- Develops children’s motor skills
- Contributes toward successful goal completion
- Engages the brain in learning
- Requires active participation with the brain to create letters, whereas keyboarding involves pushing individual buttons to form letters
Even more ironic is that in an age of digital note-taking, apps on mobile devices like the iPad allow users to develop their handwriting. I think this is outstanding, but still strikes me as interesting. From my observations, it always seems that technology hits a tipping point where we then begin to value and preserve the “old way” of doing things, albeit far more fashionably.
Yes, I will continue to use my mobile device for note-taking, and likely at an increased rate. But, I’ll also throw some handwriting in, even if it is just “meaningless” writing. Preserving the art of handwriting shouldn’t be done just because it’s a past time for countless generations – it should also be done because it’s critical towards our development.
So, writing “I will not misbehave in class” 500 times for poor behavior may be doing more good than we once thought. Kids, that’s no excuse for getting into trouble, but certainly something to consider should trouble find your way.