Pens are dead. Paper is dead. Handwriting is a relic

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JIM CURRAN
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Pens are dead. Paper is dead. Handwriting is a relic

Post by JIM CURRAN » Fri Oct 30, 2015 2:35 pm

Pens are dead. Paper is dead. Handwriting is a relic


A Bic UK study has shown that a third of teenagers have never written a letter. So what? They have Snapchat. They need pens as much as they need witch-dunking equipment



http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfre ... ting-relic

kenm
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Re: Pens are dead. Paper is dead. Handwriting is a relic

Post by kenm » Sat Oct 31, 2015 9:51 am

It's a short-sighted view to attribute the decline of handwriting to the smart phone. For me, it started in about 1964, when I first used a Flexowriter for preparing my computer programs on paper tape, with accompanying print. An IBM Golfball typewriter connected to a computer via a telephone line was the next step, in 1970. I started using a small, dedicated mini-computer for my correspondence in 1980 and have been using IBM PCs* since 1985. All my undergraduate essays from 1994 to 1998 were word-processed, so that using pen and ink for exams was a challenge. I prefer texting to telephoning but do more email than either.

* Other manufacturers since 1994, but still Windows OS for most purposes.
"... the innovator has as enemies all those who have done well under the old regime, and only lukewarm allies among those who may do well under the new." Niccolo Macchiavelli, "The Prince", Chapter 6

chew8
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Re: Pens are dead. Paper is dead. Handwriting is a relic

Post by chew8 » Sat Oct 31, 2015 12:51 pm

I still do some writing by hand - e.g. in my voluntary work hearing children's reading at two schools, I'm expected to write comments in their record books (teachers, TAs and parents do likewise) and I also keep handwritten notes on each child for my own records. Another situation where I make handwritten notes is at conferences.

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Elizabeth
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Re: Pens are dead. Paper is dead. Handwriting is a relic

Post by Elizabeth » Wed Nov 11, 2015 9:53 pm

I have often heard that there is evidence to show that writing words by hand helps pupils learn to spell. Can anyone tell me where to find this evidence?
Elizabeth

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Debbie Hepplewhite
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Re: Pens are dead. Paper is dead. Handwriting is a relic

Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Thu Nov 12, 2015 8:18 pm

I'm passionate about good teaching of handwriting so I have a dedicated thread on my Phonics International message forum for 'Handwriting' and I've also developed free handwriting resources, guidance and video guidance for joined handwriting. There are references to research linked to handwriting on this forum:

http://www.phonicsinternational.com/for ... 553e057570

I have to say that I am extremely concerned about the teaching of handwriting in many schools.

When I ask the question regarding the most 'fit-for-purpose' resources and conditions for handwriting, every teacher will pause and then say, 'Paper and pencil activities sitting at a desk'.

Then how can it be that so much handwriting is taught and practised via mini whiteboards with children sitting on the floor?

It's a travesty.

We have a whole generation of young people holding writing implements which don't even resemble the tripod-grip - but instead there is a wide variety of ways to hold a pen or pencil many of which are nothing less than grotesque, obscure the words being written -and cannot be healthy for sustained handwriting.

The evidence is there in abundance, just visit any classroom of any age pupils in the land.

See http://www.debbiehepplewhitehandwriting.com

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maizie
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Re: Pens are dead. Paper is dead. Handwriting is a relic

Post by maizie » Thu Nov 12, 2015 10:23 pm

Prof. Kerry Hempenstall has kindly given me permission to reproduce a series of references, focussing on handwriting, which he sent to a mailing list that I am on.

I hope that people might find these useful:
A few quotes on writing’s contribution to literacy:

“In this debate about the importance of motor conditions when learning to read and write, the results of the present study are in agreement with those showing that writing letters facilitates their memorization and their subsequent recognition (Hulme, 1979; Naka and Naoi, 1995)” (p. 75).
Longcamp, M., Zerbato-Poudou, M.T., & Velay, J.L. (2005). The influence of writing practice on letter recognition in preschool children: a comparison between handwriting and typing. Acta Psychologia, 119, 67-79.
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(Traditional spelling programs) do not focus on making the spelling image of a word memorable through the use of all senses by simultaneously presenting grouped words orally, visually and through the motor movements of writing (Hulme 1981; Montgomery 1981; Moats & Farrell 1999) (p.328).
Post, Y. V., & Carreker, S. (2002). Orthographic similarity and phonological transparency in spelling. Reading and Writing. An Interdisciplinary Journal, 15, 317–340.
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“Writing is an immensely important and equally complex and sophisticated human skill commonly ascribed a fundamental role in children’s cognitive and language development, and a milestone on the path to literacy. Nevertheless, compared to the vast field of reading research, there has been less scientific attention devoted to the act and skill of writing. … A large body of research in neuroscience, biopsychology and evolutionary biology demonstrates that our use of hands for purposive manipulation of tools plays a constitutive role in learning and cognitive development, and may even be a significant building block in language development. Furthermore, brain imaging studies (using fMRI, i.e., functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) show that the specific hand movements involved in handwriting support the visual recognition of letters. Considering the fact that children today or in the near future may learn to write on the computer before they master the skill of handwriting, such findings are increasingly important. In this article we present evidence from experiments in neuroscience and experimental psychology that show how the bodily, sensorimotor – e.g., haptic – dimension might be a defining feature of not only the skill of writing but may in fact be an intrinsic factor contributing to low-level reading skills (e.g., letter recognition) as well, and we discuss what a shift from handwriting to keyboard writing might entail in this regard (p.386).
Mangen, A., & Velay, J-L. (2010). Digitizing literacy: Reflections on the haptics of writing, Advances in Haptics, In Mehrdad Hosseini Zadeh (Ed.), InTech. DOI: 10.5772/8710. Retrieved from: http://www.intechopen.com/books/advance ... of-writing
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“Writing helps in many ways. First the physical act of forming the letters forces the child to look closely at the features that make one letter different from another...Second, writing letters (left to right) trains the ability to read left to right. Third, saying each sound as the letter is written helps anchor the sound-to-letter connection in the memory” (p.239).
McGuinness, D. (2004). Growing a reader from birth: Your child's path from language to literacy. New York: W.W. Norton and Co.
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Thus, replacing handwriting by typing during learning might have an impact on the cerebral representation of letters and thus on letter memorization. In two behavioral studies, Longcamp et al. investigated the handwriting/typing distinction, one in pre-readers (Longcamp, Zerbato-Poudou et al., 2005b) and one in adults (Longcamp, Boucard, Gilhodes, & Velay, 2006). Both studies confirmed that letters or characters learned through typing were subsequently recognized less accurately than letters or characters written by hand. In a subsequent study (Longcamp et al., 2008), fMRI data showed that processing the orientation of handwritten and typed characters did not rely on the same brain areas. Greater activity related to handwriting learning was observed in several brain regions known to be involved in the execution, imagery, and observation of actions, in particular, the left Broca’s area and bilateral inferior parietal lobules. Writing movements may thus contribute to memorizing the shape and/or orientation of characters. However, this advantage of learning by handwriting versus typewriting was not always observed when words were considered instead of letters. In one study (Cunningham & Stanovich, 1990), children spelled words which were learned by writing them by hand better than those learned by typing them on a computer.
Mangen, A., & Velay, J-L. (2010). Digitizing literacy: Reflections on the haptics of writing, Advances in Haptics, In Mehrdad Hosseini Zadeh (Ed.), InTech. DOI: 10.5772/8710. Retrieved from: http://www.intechopen.com/books/advance ... of-writing
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“In a series of studies, Hulme and Bradley (Bradley, 1981; Hulme & Bradley, 1984; see also Prior, Frye, & Fletcher, 1987) demonstrated the superiority of the Simultaneous Oral Spelling method, in which children learn to spell a word by pronouncing a word written and spoken for them, pronouncing the name of each letter while writing the word, and then repeating the whole word again (see Bradley, 1980, 1981). In a test of the efficacy of the components of the Simultaneous Oral Spelling method, Hulme and Bradley (1984) found that for a normally achieving group of young children, the motoric element of the method seemed to be the important factor (children performed better when writing the words than when using letters on cards to spell them); whereas for an older group of reading-disabled children, the combination of writing and letter naming seemed to be critical. Hulme (1981; Hulme, Monk & Ives, 1987) has carried out an extensive series of studies demonstrating that the motoric activity involved in tracing or writing various stimuli can facilitate young children's memory performance (see also Endo, 1988). These results are congruent with the work on word learning and led Hulme et al. (1987) to tentatively conclude that "It is, perhaps, not unreasonable to speculate that the motor activity involved in learning to write may be beneficial to the development of basic reading skills’” (p. 159).
“ … spelling is usually conceived of as a task that requires a more complete and precise orthographic representation than that required by reading (see Ehri, 1987; Stanovich, 1992). Thus, it may be that reading does not expose subtle differences in the quality of the orthographic lexicon in the same way that spelling does, perhaps because the advantages of redundancy are greater in the former task and thus the existence of precise orthographic representations is less critical” (p.162).
Cunningham, A. E., & Stanovich, K. E. (1990). Early spelling acquisition: Writing beats the computer. Journal of Educational Psychology, 82, 159-162.
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“A cursory and cross-disciplinary glance at the current state of writing research yields the impression that writing is mainly, if not exclusively, a mental (e.g., cognitive) process (MacArthur, Graham, & Fitzgerald, 2006; Torrance, van Waes, & Galbraith, 2007; Van Waes, Leijten, & Neuwirth, 2006). Cognitive approaches to the study of writing focus predominantly on the visual component of the process, and how it relates to cognitive processing. However, as evidenced by research in neuroscience, and as phenomenologically experienced by the writer him- or herself, writing is a process that requires the integration of visual, proprioceptive (haptic/kinaesthetic), and tactile information in order to be accomplished (Fogassi & Gallese, 2004). In other words, the acquisition of writing skills involves a perceptual component (learning the shape of the letter) and a graphomotor component (learning the trajectory producing the letter’s shape) (van Galen, 1991). Research has shown that sensory modalities involved in handwriting, e.g., vision and proprioception, are so intimately entwined that strong neural connections have been revealed between perceiving, reading, and writing letters in different languages and symbol/writing systems. (James & Gauthier, 2006; Kato et al., 1999; Longcamp, Anton, Roth, & Velay, 2003, 2005a; Matsuo et al., 2003; Vinter & Chartrel, 2008; Wolf, 2007) Current brain imaging techniques show how neural pathways can be differentially activated from handling different writing systems (p.389).
Mangen, A., & Velay, J-L. ((2010). Digitizing literacy: Reflections on the haptics of writing, Advances in Haptics, In Mehrdad Hosseini Zadeh (Ed.), InTech. DOI: 10.5772/8710. Retrieved from: http://www.intechopen.com/books/advance ... of-writing
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Current brain imaging techniques show how neural pathways can be differentially activated from handling different writing systems: logographic writing systems seem to activate very distinctive parts of the frontal and temporal areas of the brain, particularly regions involved in what is called motor perception. For instance, experiments using fMRI have revealed how Japanese readers use different pathways – when reading kana (an efficient syllabary used mainly for foreign and/or newer words, and for names of cities and persons), the activated pathways are similar to those used by English readers. In contrast, when reading kanji – an older logographic script influenced by Chinese – Japanese readers use pathways that come close to those used by the Chinese. (Wolf, 2007) (p.389).
Mangen, A., & Velay, J-L. (2010). Digitizing literacy: Reflections on the haptics of writing, Advances in Haptics, In Mehrdad Hosseini Zadeh (Ed.), InTech. DOI: 10.5772/8710. Retrieved from: http://www.intechopen.com/books/advance ... of-writing
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In fact, it has been reported that learning by handwriting facilitated subjects’ memorization of graphic forms (Naka & Naoi, 1995). Visual recognition was also studied by Hulme (1979), who compared children’s learning of a series of abstract graphic forms, depending on whether they simply looked at the forms or looked at them as well as traced the forms with their index finger. The tracing movements seemed to improve the children’s memorization of the graphic items. Thus, it was suggested that the visual and motor information might undergo a common representation process. Various data converge to indicate that the cerebral representation of letters might not be strictly visual, but might be based on a complex neural network including a sensorimotor component acquired while learning concomitantly to read and write (James & Gauthier, 2006; Kato et al., 1999; Longcamp et al., 2003; 2005a; Matsuo et al., 2003). Close functional relationships between the reading and writing processes might hence occur at a basic sensorimotor level, in addition to the interactions that have been described at a more cognitive level (e.g., Fitzgerald & Shanahan, 2000) (p.395-6).
Longcamp, M., Zerbato-Poudou, M.T., & Velay, J.L. (2005). The influence of writing practice on letter recognition in preschool children: a comparison between handwriting and typing. Acta Psychologia, 119, 67-79.
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“The implication of the direct path finding is that instruction in word recognition skills will transfer more to handwriting than instruction in handwriting skills will transfer to word recognition. Instructional research is therefore needed to evaluate whether covariances or direct paths best characterize the relationships between handwriting and word recognition in literary instruction. This research is especially needed because multisensory approaches to language remediation (e.g., Birsch, 1999) tend to assume that integrating handwriting with word recognition instruction facilitates the learning of word recognition. However, the results for the direct paths in both structural models yield evidence of bidirectional, reciprocal relationships between word recognition and spelling. Training spelling should influence word recognition and training word recognition should influence spelling” (p.45).
Berninger, V.W., Abbott, R.D., Abbott, S.P., Graham, S., & Richards, T. (2002). Writing and reading: Connections between language by hand and language by eye. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 35, 39-56.
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“This phenotypic study (see Berninger, Abbott, et al., 2001, for additional details about method and findings) provides additional support for the claim that reading and writing systems draw on common as well as on unique processes (cf. Berninger et al., 1994; Fitzgerald & Shanahan, 2000). This study also lends support to the hypothesis that strong links between the reading and writing systems exist at the word level (word recognition - spelling) and at the text level (comprehension composition)” (p.48).
Berninger, V.W., Abbott, R.D., Abbott, S.P., Graham, S., & Richards, T. (2002). Writing and reading: Connections between language by hand and language by eye. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 35, 39-56

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