The Student News Site of Mayfield Senior School

The Mayfield Crier

The Student News Site of Mayfield Senior School

The Mayfield Crier

The Student News Site of Mayfield Senior School

The Mayfield Crier

Is Typing Really Best? A Case for Handwriting

Cartoon by Rowan Procter


Walk into any Mayfield class, and you will find many students taking notes by typing on their computers or on their iPads.

Many students find this method of note-taking easier because they do not need to have a separate notebook for every class and because their notes and assignments are not easily lost. According to such students, studying becomes easier when all of their materials are in one place.

But is typing really the best way to take notes?

Two studies conducted in recent years suggest that typing might not be the best way to take notes.

Dr. Karin James at Indiana University found that when children write letters rather than tracing them or typing them, more regions of the brain were used. From her research, James concluded that children who wrote letters rather than simply typing or tracing them, activated more regions of their brains because it required greater effort for the children to write the letters themselves.

A study conducted by Pam Mueller and Daniel Oppenheimer found that students did better when tested on a lecture after studying their handwritten notes rather than their typed notes. Mueller and Oppenheimer suggested that this could be because when students take notes by hand, they must be more judicious about the information they write down, while when students type, they are able to type what they hear verbatim. Typers do not process information they are hearing, they simply copy it.

As more studies are conducted regarding the benefits of handwriting, more and more schools are switching to one-to-one technology programs, using iPads, laptops, or Chromebooks. Standards that public schools all over the nation must comply with called Common Core emphasizes handwriting only in kindergarten and first grade. After that, emphasis is placed upon typing.

Although it seems more convenient to type notes in class, studying for your next test off of your handwritten notes will allow you to remember more than if you were studying off of your typed notes because of the processing of information you did while handwriting your notes.

Standardized tests such as the SAT as well as Advanced Placement exams include essay portions that must be handwritten, and students who type all of their notes might find it difficult to write by hand what they are used to typing.

It is crucial for the next generation to be able to read and write cursive as well as printed handwriting because if they cannot read cursive, it will become obsolete, as if it were a dead language. The Constitution, the Bill of Rights, Grandma’s letters, and countless other treasures of the past will be illegible, and people will not be able to fully understand history.

Computers and iPads are important tools; everywhere we go it seems to be imperative that you have your tablet, computer, or smart phone, but handwriting too is an important tool. It is a better way to take notes, a better way to learn, and an important piece of history.