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Should students be taught typing instead of writing?

September 27, 2019

Should students be taught typing instead of writing?

This is the world our children are experiencing. The way they are becoming literate in the 21st century is so different to the way most adults today became literate.
We became literate in a time when literacy was reading, writing, speaking and listening, and life moved a little slower. (When I started my career we used the phone to speak to someone who was in a different location. Now I text or email more than I actually speak on the phone. )
But today 21st century texts are increasingly multimodal. They are created using different modes working together. A picture book is an example of a very simple multimodal text (images plus written text) whereas a webpage, or a movie, are both very complex multimodal texts with images, sound, movement and written text (even movies use writing in titles and credits and don’t forget subtitles). Children of today do not know a world without mobile phones, tablets and computers. They often learn to swipe a touch screen before they learn to hold a pencil. So where is this taking us?

As digital natives have begun to make their way through the educational system — effortlessly wielding mobile devices and navigating the web for independent research — more people have begun to wonder about the future of handwriting.
The first blow dealt by technology has been to cursive writing. Earlier this year, teacher supplies retailer Really Good Stuff released a survey that found that “41 percent of elementary school teachers no longer incorporate cursive writing instruction into their curriculum.”
While cursive has been the first pillar of student handwriting to fall, it seems likely that print handwriting will take a backseat to typing as well.

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