The Case for Handwriting and Technology that Supports It

With tablets and laptops replacing notebooks and pens, we’ve seen a shift in note taking among students. Many students are using these devices to take notes, making the process far more efficient than it used to be. Despite the fact that students can capture more content by typing, there’s a strong case to be made for handwriting and there are several tech options to support handwriting.


Recent research has shown that college students who type their class notes keep up with lectures better and capture more content. However, these students retained less information in the long run. By contrast, students who took handwritten notes retained information longer. These students captured less content and often used shorthand but digested that content to do so. In short, the students who wrote out their notes performed better when tested later than those who typed their notes.


For younger students, handwriting—especially cursive—has been shown to improve fine motor skills and a host of other skills. Children who learn to use cursive retain more information, have a larger vocabulary, and show increased creativity. Unfortunately, many school districts have removed cursive from their curricula to make room for other topics. Parents who see the value in having their children learn cursive in districts where cursive has been removed from the curriculum are left to find other ways to teach their children this valuable skill.


While technology seems to have taken over and pushed handwriting aside, there are ways to leverage technology to support handwriting. Several tech solutions give students at all levels the opportunity to handwrite. For example, older students will benefit from tablets that capture and convert handwritten notes. Tablets such as the Microsoft Surface enable the use of a stylus to capture and convert handwritten text. Other devices, like the Wacom Bamboo Spark and Boogie Board eWriters allow you to save your handwritten notes and artwork. These devices are great for younger children who are learning to handwrite. With all these devices at our disposal and strong research showing the merits of handwriting for students of all ages, it makes sense to find ways to leverage tech that enables handwriting and encourage students to continue to write.


By Mike Agerbo

August 02, 2016