Technology companies and their ecosystems are rushing toward the complete digitization of our society, with innovations like virtual reality and artificial intelligence, mobile shopping, and digital correspondence. Gadgets get smaller and less expensive with each iteration, and we are attached to our devices more than ever before.
As a child of the late 1980s and 1990s, it's alarming to see the iPad nannies we use to occupy young children of 2018. Rarely do they play outside unsupervised, learning and exploring and testing limits on their own.
And, the things we learned in school, which mostly happened away from pixelated screens, are being phased out too.
Many school curriculums have dropped handwriting and cursive instruction in favor of developing digital competencies, but handwriting will always be more authentic (a “signature”) and intentional (less editing ability) than typing on a keyboard or tapping on a screen.
Anyone else notice how terrible digital signatures look when written with your finger on a tablet?
Reverting back to analog methods presents a bevy of proven benefits, for both youngsters still early in their development, and adults who rarely put pen to paper in any serious way.
Psychological studies have linked handwriting to the positive development of fine motor skills. In learning to handwrite, the brain must locate each stroke relative to other stokes, learn and remember appropriate size, slant, and feature detail of each letter, and develop categorization skills.
Cursive writing is even more valuable because it is more demanding than standard printing, requiring a pre-plan on what will be written and how to connect the letters gracefully. Cursive is also faster and more likely to engage students to develop a personal style and ownership of their skill.
On a more spiritual, romantic level, handwriting is inherently human. From Master Penman Michael Sull, a cursive and handwriting instructor we have previously brought to Tampa for in-depth handwriting workshops:
"Handwriting is the intimate expression of emotions, wishes and dreams made visible on paper. Through this personal medium we have the privilege of sharing our humanity with everyone, or with no one at all. It is an intensely private occupation that can never be exactly duplicated, yet always reveals a glimpse of the writer’s soul.”
Some additional resources to read on pen writing vs. typing or tapping: