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Should students be taught typing instead of writing?

September 27, 2019

Technology is having an impact on children’s handwriting ability. But what does this mean for learning and development? Cast your mind back to the most recent thing you’ve written. Maybe it was a document for work, a message to a friend, or a simple shopping list. Did you use a pen? Or did you type it?

The Situation
In many schools, students come prepared to learn with their devices in tow. I am able to instruct students to research topics in class using their computers instead of sending them to the (gasp!) library. I am able to ask students to type essays and share documents quickly through Google Classroom and Turnitin.
Recently we are writing all vocabularies and notes by hand. But we are more rely on devices.
But now Students regularly take pictures of the slides in presentations or the notes on the board. They download notes from a website to read over it later. They rely on text that is given to them instead of processed by them.

The Research

Research has proven that writing notes by hand creates more neural pathways in the brain. Mental stimulation in the brain occurs when we write, and brain imaging suggests a connection between idea generation and handwriting.
According to Associate Professor, Anne Mangen, “Writing by hand strengthens the learning process. When typing on a keyboard, this process may be impaired.”
When students take notes from the board by hand, they are processing the information as they read. Through this processing, they are internalizing more information than if they were to just snap a picture to look at later.
As most of us know, writing something down creates a physical engagement with the information we are learning. Typing does not create the same engagement. Typing might allow us to copy down a larger quantity of information, but this is detrimental to students who need to learn to be selective in processing the information they receive.
After all I would say that we need to give more opportunities for students to practice writing rather than typing. 

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