Is handwriting still a key skill to have in 21st century learning?

Actual handwriting, Anglo-Saxon type with litt...

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I decided, after reading an article called “How Handwriting Boosts¬† The Brain” to do something that I haven’t done in all of the previous 285 posts in my Blog..I would handwrite it all out first.

I have to admit that access to technology and my rather simple two finger typing skills have sufficed so far to allow me to write and later edit my posts.

I was though, like most people of my age, brought up to write by hand all of my school essays and examinations. Over the years my handwriting has suffered somewhat in terms of presentation by lack of practice. The typewriter and now the keyboard has become an “easy” means to get my ideas in print (electronically and on paper with the help of a printer).

The article though says that handwriting is actually opening up parts of my brain that are “switching me on to learning” and allowing me to think deeper about what I am writing.

Well, having got to about one-third of the way down on the second page of my empty white piece of paper, I have to admit that I have not found the handwriting a barrier to expressing my ideas… whether it is actually helping me to develop my ideas better due to the physical process of forming letters I really cannot tell.
I find the physical side of correction as I go on to be useful, I can just cross out as I go and underline, rethink, look carefully at my spelling and not rely on the trusty wordcheck at the end. I was also able to put aide-memoirs on the first page so as I could remember things that I wanted to put in the post or use as references once this was typed up.

Here is a picture that I took of my hand-written first page:

I was interested that the article discussed the use of a stylus on an iPad using a program called “WritePad” I wonder whether this is not a useful way of combining the skills of letter formation and a personal handwriting style with our most up-to-date technology.

I feel that this is a really interesting topic for discussion and would certainly welcome any comments on this. If you are a teacher, do you encourage handwriting? Would you use a handwriting App such as WritePad? Are we now going down the road that says handwriting, for our students and their successors is defunct and needs to be seen only in a museum?

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