Why writing by hand is still important

In a digital predominated world, it is no surprise that the art of writing with a pen has become so forgotten. With the ease of using typing and a range of devices, technology has replaced writing by hand. However, handwriting has many advantages both functionally and creatively.

Improves our memory

Studies by Mueller of Princeton University and Oppenheimer of UCLA found that handwriting trumps typing when it comes to remembering, recalling and understanding information. They found that the brain processes different information when recorded. Their studies showed that in a lecture, people who typed their notes, processed the information more shallowly, whilst those who had hand-written their notes, were more selective in recapping key ideas.  Those who jotted down ideas digested, summarised and understood the point of the lecture, helping them to retain the information. Therefore, they performed better in examinations, compared to those who typed up their notes.

Improvement in intelligence School Planner - boy writing by hand

As technology becomes more and more popular, people are becoming more and more reliant on its abilities. Spelling and grammar tools correct their work, instead of them having to think for themselves. When using a pen, the person must correct their own errors, improving their intelligence. A study by Berninger at the University of Washington focusing on primary school students, found that students who handwrote a creative story outperformed those who typed a response, with more complete sentences, longer essays and at a faster pace. The Wall Street Journal published that to keep the mind sharp, put pen to paper by jotting down ideas, write stories, complete puzzles or learn a new language. Finally, the Journal of Early Childhood Education and Development found that a study of 1000 preschool students who handwrote notes outperformed those who learnt on a device, in both reading and maths, and had better handwriting skills and overall grades.

Brain development

Psychology professor Karin James of Indiana University notes the benefits of handwriting for brain development. Her studies focused on children who couldn’t read or write. She asked them to reproduce a letter, typing, drawing or tracing it. She then put them into an MRI brain scanner while studying their reproduction. Results showed that the children who drew the letter activated three areas of the brain, while those who traced or typed it, didn’t experience the same effect. These results highlight the benefits of brain development when using handwriting.

School system

In schools, students generally get examined by completing an exam using a pen. Throughout the year, they have been writing with a pen, and possibly typing up notes or assignments. The question, set by many universities, is it time to move to typing exam responses? Studies by the University of Edinburgh have found that the those who type may generally be faster, however, they do not always score higher. Whereas those who handwrite, may not write as much, but as their work is thorough and time is spent planning paragraphs, sentences and content, the score is generally higher. Using a pen has slowed down their response time, but it is giving them time to think about what the question is asking, time to structure their response and interact more with their though process. Overall the studies produced the conclusion that the practise and final assessment should use the same medium to ensure the best outcomes for the students.

Even though we are moving more towards a technological world, the importance of handwriting cannot be forgotten. It develops our intelligence, creativity and brain development. The importance is even more evident with young learners. The art of handwriting is essential to ensure skills and intelligence is developed.

At the school planner company we try to encourage students to pick up a pen and take control of their learning. Since 1999, schools around the UK have been using our customised school planners to give young learners a tool to help them plan and organise their school day. Our printed planners can be customised to your schools’ needs and can include notes, diary and homework pages for students and parents to write in.

Our customised school planners help ensure your students regularly write by hand throughout their school day. With our planners you determine the content of every page. We design your customised planners to be entirely specific to your school. Request your free information pack to get started: see schoolplanner.co.uk