Why handwritten training is so important
Children and adults alike learn more and remember better when they write by hand. This suggested that steps should be taken to ensure that children should receive at least a minimum of handwritten instruction, even in times of digital advancement.
Why is it so important that children are still handwritten in today’s digital age? (Image: Rido / Stock.Adobe.com)
Handwritten recordings help people learn and remember more, according to a study by researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. The study was published in the English-language journal “Frontiers in Psychology”.
Handwriting improves learning
The results of various studies have already shown that children and adults learn more and remember better when they write by hand. The current investigation seems to confirm these results. The researchers found that handwriting helped improve learning and memory performance compared to using a keyboard.
The brain activity of participants was examined
The recently published study looked at the brain activity of twelve young adults and twelve children. The team explains that there were no comparable studies on children before. Brain wave activity was measured and recorded using over 250 attached electrodes.
The electrical impulses of the brain were measured
The brain produces electrical impulses when it is active. The sensors in the electrodes are very sensitive and pick up the electrical activity that takes place in the brain. Each exam lasted 45 minutes per person.
Brain more active when writing by hand
The results showed that the brain is much more active when typing in young adults and children than when typing on a keyboard or touchscreen, the researchers say.
Handwriting activates many different senses
“Handwriting creates a lot more activity in the sensorimotor parts of the brain. Many senses are activated when you press down on paper with the pen, see the letters written, and hear the noise you make as you write. These sensory experiences create contact between different parts of the brain and facilitate learning in the brain, ”says study author Professor Audrey van der Meer in a press release.
Children must be trained by hand
The results underline the importance of motivating children to draw and write from an early age, especially at school. In today’s digital age, however, kids spend a lot of time in front of smartphones and computers typing on the keyboard. The smartphone is a constant companion these days, closely followed by the PC and the tablet.
Digital learning has advantages and disadvantages
Children already spend many hours in front of the screen in their free time; this is now reinforced by the growing emphasis on digital learning in schools, the researchers say. Van der Meer believes that digital learning has many positive aspects, but he also advocates handwritten training.
Do we forget how to write by hand?
“In view of the developments in recent years, we risk that one or more generations will lose the ability to write by hand. Our research and that of others show that this would be a very unfortunate consequence of the increase in digital activity, ”continues Professor Van de Meer. The author of the study believes that national guidelines should be introduced to ensure that children receive at least a minimum of handwriting training.
Only digital learning in schools?
There are already schools in Norway which operate entirely digitally and where no value is placed on handwritten training. Finnish schools are even more digitized than in Norway. Only very few schools offer handwriting training, the researchers report.
Benefits of digital writing
In the school-based writing or keyboard debate, some teachers feel that keyboards are less likely to cause frustration in children. They indicate that children can write longer texts earlier and are more motivated to write because they master the keyboard better, the team explains.
Benefits of writing by hand?
“Learning to write by hand is a slightly slower process, but it is important that children go through the arduous phase of learning to write by hand. The complex hand movements and the shaping of the letters are beneficial in several ways, explains Van de Meer.
Hand writing promotes fine motor skills
“If you’re using a keyboard, use the same movement for each letter. Handwriting requires mastery of fine motor skills and the senses. It is important to get the brain into a learning state as often as possible. I was using a keyboard to write an essay, but I was taking notes by hand during a conference, ”Van der Meer advises.
The brain must be challenged to its full potential
“The brain has evolved over thousands of years. He has evolved to be able to act and direct appropriate behavior. For the brain to develop at its best, we need to use it for what it does best. We have to live an authentic life. We need to use all of our senses, be outdoors, experience all of the weather, and meet other people. If we don’t challenge our brain, it can’t reach its full potential. And this can have an impact on academic results, ”adds the author of the study. (as)
Author and source information
This text conforms to the requirements of specialized medical literature, medical directives and current studies and has been verified by health professionals.
Eva Ose Askvik, FR (Ruud) van der Weel, Audrey LH van der Meer: The Importance of Cursive Handwriting Over Typewik for Learning in the Classroom: A High-Density EEG study of 12-year-old children and young adults, in Frontiers in Psychology (published July 28, 2020), Frontiers in Psychology Norwegian University of Science and Technology: Why Handwriting Makes Kids Smarter (published October 1, 2020), Norwegian University of Science and Technology
This article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. It cannot replace a visit to the doctor.