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posted by n1 on Wednesday June 04 2014, @09:37AM   Printer-friendly
from the nothing-but-illegible-scribbles dept.

The NY Times asks does handwriting matter? The Common Core standards stop teaching handwriting after the first grade, preferring a proficiency in typing after that.

However, studies are showing that children learn faster, are able to retain more information, and generate new ideas when they first learn to write by hand. The process of thinking about how to form a letter and putting it on the page stimulates more areas of the brain. This come from the inherent messiness in free-form writing, which can be a valuable learning tool.

 
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  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by WizardFusion on Wednesday June 04 2014, @09:42AM

    by WizardFusion (498) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @09:42AM (#50995) Journal

    Although I have bad spelling, and not the neatest hand-writing, I find that I do remember stuff much better when I write it down.
    It's also quicker to write notes and thoughts using pen and paper, instead of a keyboard in "notepad".

    Pen and Paper, it's the future.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Horse With Stripes on Wednesday June 04 2014, @10:41AM

      by Horse With Stripes (577) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @10:41AM (#51011)

      ^ I concur. All the notes for all the projects I work on are either written in a notebook first, or worked out on a whiteboard (with a pic taken after*). They are all eventually entered into my project management system, but they start 'by hand'.

       

      * These days it's easy to do with my phone or tablet. In the old days I would use a Polaroid Instamatic and put them in photo albums.

      • (Score: 2) by frojack on Wednesday June 04 2014, @11:48PM

        by frojack (1554) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @11:48PM (#51402) Journal

        Instamatic was a Kodak film camera.
        Polaroid made instant cameras but never called them that.

        But dittos for shooting the white board. I still have a few of those taped into my project books.

        The project books were just college ruled 9x6 spiral bound notebooks numbered 1 to N for each project we designed. The rule was you never tore a page out of the project book. We would fill them so fast we had to remember to date a page every morning. Invaluable. My only wish was that it could have been searchable. I've never found a computerized note taking app I liked. They all fail.

        --
        No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
    • (Score: 1) by Lazarus on Wednesday June 04 2014, @04:07PM

      by Lazarus (2769) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @04:07PM (#51171)

      I find that using a keyboard to take notes is MUCH faster than writing by hand, and does not result in the wrist/thumb cramps that go with extended periods of hand-writing. This has the additional advantage of being readable by anyone. It's a bummer if there's really a downside to only hand-writing very short documents and lists, and typing the rest.

      • (Score: 2) by DrMag on Wednesday June 04 2014, @04:22PM

        by DrMag (1860) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @04:22PM (#51189)

        I find that using a keyboard ... does not result in the wrist/thumb cramps that go with extended periods of hand-writing.

        Yep. You trade the cramps for carpal tunnel.

        On a less sarcastic note, I discovered some years ago that the size of my pen had a lot to do with the cramps. If I use a wide-body pen or pencil, I can write for much longer periods of time than I can with a narrow-body.

        • (Score: 2) by evilviper on Wednesday June 04 2014, @05:13PM

          by evilviper (1760) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @05:13PM (#51230) Homepage Journal

          Yep. You trade the cramps for carpal tunnel.

          He didn't specify an exact keyboard, so you really can't assert that. On crap keyboards, sure, maybe that will become a problem, but it's unlikely on anything decent, and extremely so on some of the awesome keyboards available out there. Some ergonomic keyboards are worse than regular junk.

          Start off with the TypeMatrix. It should reduce the stress in days: http://typematrix.com/ [typematrix.com]

          And you'll get a dramatic improvement if you switch layouts from QWERTY to Dvorak.

          Though, to tell you the truth, in many years of working in several large companies, with hundreds of high-speed data entry workers, I have yet to meet someone who has issues with carpal tunnel syndrome. I must assume that it is actually extremely rare.

          --
          Hydrogen cyanide is a delicious and necessary part of the human diet.
          • (Score: 1) by RobotLove on Wednesday June 04 2014, @06:50PM

            by RobotLove (3304) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @06:50PM (#51292)

            I'm just going to throw Colemak into the ring. It's got two key advantages over Dvorak:

            1. Cut/Paste/Copy/Undo are not moved. In Dvorak these all become two-hand gestures which means you must take your hand off the mouse.
            2. CAPS LOCK mapped to Backspace. This is an unbelievable game-changer. I own a TypeMatrix (and 3 MS Natural 4000s, and a Truly Ergonomic Keyboard and am building 2 Ergo Dox), and I couldn't use it because it's "more convenient backspace in the middle" wasn't half as nice as having it in the traditional CAPS LOCK position, and TypeMatrix doesn't really work with mapping backspace there.

            But other than that, I completely agree with you. :)

            • (Score: 2) by frojack on Thursday June 05 2014, @12:15AM

              by frojack (1554) on Thursday June 05 2014, @12:15AM (#51408) Journal

              I'm going to throw Dvorak into the trash.

              I've tried it. I once used it for an entire winter, (all 9 months of an Alaskan winter). In the spring, I went back to my summer cabin and the old QWERTY keyboard and was astounded at how much faster it was. So I started doing some research.

              It was best summed up in this article: [reason.com] (Yeah, you gotta answer a question to read the whole thing...deal with it).
              "The belief that the Dvorak keyboard is superior to QWERTY can be traced to a few key sources. A book published by Dvorak and several co-authors in 1936 presented Dvorak's own investigations, which might charitably be called less than objective. Their book has the feel of a late-night television infomercial rather than scientific work. "

              It turns out ALL the studies of Dvorak were rigged. Go read the the linked article.

              In my office, a large organization, we had over the years exactly one person demand a Dvorak keyboard. He was no faster or more accurate than any other clerk. But when he left, that's when I glomed on to his keyboard and tried to train myself to use it all for the next nine months. Junked it.

              --
              No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
              • (Score: 2) by evilviper on Thursday June 05 2014, @06:49AM

                by evilviper (1760) on Thursday June 05 2014, @06:49AM (#51522) Homepage Journal

                In my office, a large organization, we had over the years exactly one person demand a Dvorak keyboard. He was no faster or more accurate than any other clerk.

                The record-setting, fastest (alphanumeric) typists in the world use Dvorak keyboard layouts. End of story. Your little anecdotes are utterly pointless.

                http://web.archive.org/web/20100520063145/http://rcranger.mysite.syr.edu/famhist/blackburn.htm [archive.org]

                The Dvorak layout doesn't necessarily promise faster speeds and fewer errors, though that can be a byproduct. What it actually guarantees is: "63% of the finger motion required by QWERTY" for much less exertion and stress. That can greatly reduce medical problems for frequent typists.

                Your link is an utterly-mindless hit piece that makes Fox News look reputable by comparison... Their criticisms ALL amount to utterly and totally baseless speculation that SOMETHING dishonest might have been happening behind the scenes, in ALL the studies that found Dvorak superior, but of course they have ZERO evidence to back up their wild-ass speculation.

                Meanwhile, the very-few studies they use to support their claims, have widely-known problems, which they completely fail to ever even mention! And any studies done that favor Dvorak, that they don't have any easy way to try and discredit, they just DON'T MENTION at all, like this peer-reviewed paper:

                https://web.archive.org/web/20131031035039/http://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ458816 [archive.org]

                Finally, there's no reason at all to believe these two ECONOMISTS have any experience in the field that makes them capable of accurately evaluating the relevant studies. Instead, they make it clear their intention is only to undermine the claim that the free-market isn't always perfect, and they'll obviously stop at nothing to do so. They have NOT produced a peer-reviewed study on typing, just a long, extremely biased, opinion piece.

                --
                Hydrogen cyanide is a delicious and necessary part of the human diet.
                • (Score: 2) by frojack on Thursday June 05 2014, @03:51PM

                  by frojack (1554) on Thursday June 05 2014, @03:51PM (#51753) Journal

                  Whoa, nerve hit!

                  The truth is, there are hundreds of such re-analysis write ups on the web, but the Dvorak mafia simply scream "hit piece" and sing la la la la when there is any light shined on the hype. Go read "The Fable of the Keys".

                  --
                  No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
                  • (Score: 2) by evilviper on Thursday June 05 2014, @04:02PM

                    by evilviper (1760) on Thursday June 05 2014, @04:02PM (#51761) Homepage Journal

                    the Dvorak mafia simply scream "hit piece" and sing la la la la

                    Funny...

                    I'm the one who posted facts, figures, and sources which rebut your claims.

                    You're the one who's unable to dispute any of them, immediately resorting to ad hominem attacks.

                    Maybe you need to sing a little louder...

                    --
                    Hydrogen cyanide is a delicious and necessary part of the human diet.
                    • (Score: 2) by frojack on Thursday June 05 2014, @05:21PM

                      by frojack (1554) on Thursday June 05 2014, @05:21PM (#51804) Journal

                      I gave you a link to the seminal study in this field, far more rigorous than anything you've posted, a highly cited piece of economic research, and you stomped off calling it a hit piece.

                      Why would I dig up any more links for you?

                      Ask your self this:
                      With the electronic keyboard, there is ZERO additional cost to offering a Dvorak keyboard, and according to Dvorak, training takes but a week, and the costs are recouped in two or three months.
                      Dvorak keyboards are available for as little as $15.

                      So how is it that no major corporation (other than the tiny Dvorak Inc.) has ever pursued this inexpensive avenue of profit by cutting wholesale over to Dvorak?

                      Quoting Economist Deirdre McCloskey:

                      I am looking out at the Sears Tower in Chicago. The company must employ--what?--5,000 typists in that building alone. They now work on computers, not Remingtons. The hardware change to a new keyboard is trivial. The retraining cost of the workers is small--what, a week? Two? For a big gain, allegedly, in typing speed. Why hasn't Sears done it? Or any company anywhere the world? We're talking not of a centralized, political decision like nuclear power…but thousands upon thousands of opportunities for profit allegedly spurned.

                      Nor is there any "lock in" for standard keyboards. Railway track gauge used world wide has a huge lock in, even thought the original choice of 4 feet 8-1/2 inches was purely arbitrary. The cost of relaying the world's rail lines locks in that gauge. Not so with Dvorak. They cost the same as regular keyboards, and learning to use it is easy.

                      So:
                      1) No significant cost to adopt Dvorak.
                      2) No significant retraining.
                      3) Supposed benefits accrue almost instantly, faster typists, lower medical bills

                      Yet the world ignores Devork, except a few fanatics.
                      Its been 78 years!!

                      The inescapable answer is that there is no benefit. None. Homeopathy has a better track record!

                      In fact, the economics strongly suggest that QWERTY is better.

                      --
                      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
                      • (Score: 2) by evilviper on Thursday June 05 2014, @06:29PM

                        by evilviper (1760) on Thursday June 05 2014, @06:29PM (#51829) Homepage Journal

                        I gave you a link to the seminal study in this field, far more rigorous than anything you've posted, a highly cited piece of economic research, and you stomped off calling it a hit piece.

                        "Seminal study" my ass... Right-wing think-tanks push out crap all the time. You want to promote it it because it agrees with you.

                        The "field" isn't even right. Economists know jack about keyboards, or analyzing studies on them. They're batting zero on evidence for their claims, anyhow.

                        The inescapable answer is that there is no benefit.

                        There are millions of possible answers. You picked one explanation that supports your biases, for which you have no evidence in support, and plenty of counter evidence.

                        In fact, the economics strongly suggest that QWERTY is better.

                        The economics strongly suggest that a Honda is vastly superior to a Mercedes-Benz, too. Economics is not useful when you want to know about science.

                        --
                        Hydrogen cyanide is a delicious and necessary part of the human diet.
                        • (Score: 2) by frojack on Thursday June 05 2014, @06:45PM

                          by frojack (1554) on Thursday June 05 2014, @06:45PM (#51837) Journal

                          There is no science behind Dvorak. NONE!
                          You've been duped. Face it. Your fad is ignored by the world.

                          --
                          No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
                          • (Score: 2) by evilviper on Thursday June 05 2014, @07:21PM

                            by evilviper (1760) on Thursday June 05 2014, @07:21PM (#51854) Homepage Journal

                            There is no science behind Dvorak

                            Not even the peer-reviewed scientific study I linked? Strange. I could swear it existed.

                            You just keep on singing...

                            --
                            Hydrogen cyanide is a delicious and necessary part of the human diet.
                            • (Score: 2) by frojack on Thursday June 05 2014, @07:54PM

                              by frojack (1554) on Thursday June 05 2014, @07:54PM (#51875) Journal

                              Your so called peer reviewed study is paywalled.

                              We don't eve know if the peers agreed or disagreed!!

                              In fact, that study was referenced on only one other study, which found at best, a modest 4% difference in "digraph speed" [santafe.edu], a contrived test using only keys that are pressed with the same hand. This didn't translate to over all typing speed.

                              So there you have it. The independent (non Dvorak inc) studies show 4% speed increase only on certain letter combinations, but no over all affect on prose typing speed.

                              Which is why the corporate world has ignored Dvorak. It yields no measurable improvement.
                              Spend the same amount of learning time on Qwerty and your speed will increase by much more than 4%.
                              Homeopathy!

                              --
                              No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
                              • (Score: 2) by evilviper on Friday June 06 2014, @07:30AM

                                by evilviper (1760) on Friday June 06 2014, @07:30AM (#52111) Homepage Journal

                                Your so called peer reviewed study is paywalled.

                                We don't eve know if the peers agreed or disagreed!!

                                You're sure helpless, aren't you?

                                http://www.worldcat.org/title/relative-efficiencies-of-the-standard-and-dvorak-simplified-keyboards/oclc/425403487 [worldcat.org]

                                The independent (non Dvorak inc) studies show 4% speed increase only on certain letter combinations

                                That's one study. There are many others.

                                Besides, you need to get off the "speed" kick. I've already said that speed/accuracy aren't necessarily benefits. LESS STRESS always is, which reduces pain and injuries, and is precisely what the above study found.

                                --
                                Hydrogen cyanide is a delicious and necessary part of the human diet.
                      • (Score: 2) by urza9814 on Thursday June 05 2014, @10:58PM

                        by urza9814 (3954) on Thursday June 05 2014, @10:58PM (#51952) Journal

                        Nor is there any "lock in" for standard keyboards. Railway track gauge used world wide has a huge lock in, even thought the original choice of 4 feet 8-1/2 inches was purely arbitrary. The cost of relaying the world's rail lines locks in that gauge. Not so with Dvorak. They cost the same as regular keyboards, and learning to use it is easy.

                        How many data entry clerks do you know who know where the setting is to change the keyboard layout? Sure, the company could have their IT guys do it, but good luck finding people willing to use a different layout at home and at work. Might have been feasible a few decades ago before home PCs were common, but no way that's gonna fly today. Not to mention that most companies would rather pay a bit more every week than pay a lot up front to retrain all their staff. How often have we heard the story of the company that destroyed its future because it looked good on next quarter's balance sheet?

                        And it's a *global* standard; are you seriously implying there's no inertia to that? Generally when anyone else sees my Model M with the keycaps arranged for Dvorak, they first ask 'what the hell is that?' And after I explain that I changed the layout, they then react with 'You can do that?!?' When I hand my computer to someone else and forget to change the keyboard layout, the reaction is 'Hey, your computer is broken, I swear I didn't do it!' Sure, it's easy enough to change *to us*, but to most people QWERTY is just the way all keyboards are.

                        Personally, I've been using Dvorak since highschool. I get the same speed I used to get on QWERTY (just north of 100WPM -- not that speed tests say anything about real-world usage) with slightly better accuracy. But more importantly, my wrists don't hurt from typing anymore. That used to happen almost every single night. But I can't recall it happening even once since switching. Even on the crappiest of laptop keyboards (The Lenovo T400 I'm using at work is absolutely atrocious; I do have a Model M on my ancient desktop at home but mostly I'm using a laptop with "chicklet" keys)

                        Oh, and just for fun regarding the thing about railways -- it was my understanding that railway gauge wasn't arbitrary at all, it was based on the jigs already used by wagon makers (who were making the early train cars) and those jigs were based on the ruts in old Roman roads (if your wagon didn't fit those ruts you were likely to break an axle) and the width of the Roman chariots was based on the width of a horse's rear. That could be an urban legend or something though.

    • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Thursday June 05 2014, @03:27AM

      by Reziac (2489) on Thursday June 05 2014, @03:27AM (#51456) Homepage

      Teachers used to know this. It was the main reason why starting in about the 6th grade, we were required to take notes. It was universally understood that we'd probably never look at those notes again, but the act of writing stuff down sufficed to get a reasonable chunk of it into our heads such that we at least halfway understood it (it wasn't just mindless recording). Mind you this was in a state then tied for the best educational ranking in the U.S.

      --
      And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.
    • (Score: 1) by Hyperturtle on Thursday June 05 2014, @11:10PM

      by Hyperturtle (2824) on Thursday June 05 2014, @11:10PM (#51959)

      I cannot agree more.

      When I go to meetings, I bring a pad of paper and a pencil or pen.

      It serves a few functions -- most people bring a laptop. Many get distracted, and even more say they can't understand how I can take notes that way.

      The reality is that I rarely retrieve the notes I take--unless I make a diagram of some kind. The act of writing it down does reinforce the topic for me. When I write notes on the computer, it takes much less effort and I think as a result, I remember much less of it.

      I think the readily available search engines have done a similar thing to society's desire to learn new things. I know many people that don't bother because they believe someone has their answer if they only phrased their search correctly--or that it can't be done.

      I think both both R'ing and W'ing TFM is a lost art... in IT and elsewhere.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by tathra on Wednesday June 04 2014, @10:56AM

    by tathra (3367) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @10:56AM (#51016)

    kids are still learning how to write (it says it right there - they learn writing in the first year), so this article must be whining about the loss of cursive. good fucking riddance to cursive. i had stopped writing in cursive long before high school (and have long forgotten even how to do it in the past 20 years since) because it was ridiculously slow. and if its not whining about that, its giving a pass to parents for not being parents. (naturally i dont plan on reading it)

    throwing away cursive is a good thing. its slow write and hard to read, and serves no purpose in a digital world.

    • (Score: 2) by quadrox on Wednesday June 04 2014, @11:19AM

      by quadrox (315) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @11:19AM (#51023)

      The whole point of cursive is to be faster than to write individual letters. And although I too prefer not to write cursive, claiming that cursive is slow is simply stupid.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04 2014, @11:24AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04 2014, @11:24AM (#51028)

        Even faster it is to write with meaningless squiggles, but fastest is not to write at all. Writing spoils the memory and makes the mind weak.

        • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Kell on Wednesday June 04 2014, @12:02PM

          by Kell (292) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @12:02PM (#51050)

          Except that's not what numerous studies about hand writing and memory have shown. The mental process of transcribing ideas into motor actions helps embed the idea in the memory.

          --
          Scientists ask questions. Engineers solve problems.
      • (Score: 2) by tathra on Wednesday June 04 2014, @11:39AM

        by tathra (3367) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @11:39AM (#51037)

        just because its "meant to be" doesnt mean it is. of course, my own experience isnt everyones, but cursive is being removed from schools because its been falling out of use for decades, and its just not worth wasting everyone's time with it when only a few people still use it by the time they reach junior high.

        cursive should just be relegated to calligraphy and nothing else (and cursive will never die because once its removed from schools, it'll take off as calligraphy and become an art form)

        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by physicsmajor on Wednesday June 04 2014, @02:59PM

          by physicsmajor (1471) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @02:59PM (#51117)

          I used to agree with your sentiment. The problem, I think, is that people learn them as two separate languages instead of realizing that cursive is the logical endpoint if you start with plain hand writing, and try to be as fast as possible without raising the pen from the page.

          I disliked cursive because I thought I knew handwriting better, and was faster at it. Then all through college, I took notes using plain handwriting. Guess what? By the end, I was a lot faster - and what I was writing had morphed about 70% of the way toward cursive. Completely organic change, I didn't realize it until I really looked at what I was putting on the page. I'd independently re-invented cursive, sans a few of the weirder capital letters.

          So I do think it's a useful thing, but it's a continuum instead of two separate languages. Teaching it as two separate things is a really crappy way to go about it. Also when teachers grade on how 'pretty' cursive letters are, that doesn't help. Cursive can be flowing and pretty, sure, but it's designed to be fast. That method of teaching makes it slow, which means students (completely rationally) won't see the point and won't use it.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04 2014, @04:02PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04 2014, @04:02PM (#51164)

            Cursive is what separates men from women, TTYs and other dumb devices.

      • (Score: 3, Funny) by Buck Feta on Wednesday June 04 2014, @12:22PM

        by Buck Feta (958) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @12:22PM (#51054) Journal
        > claiming that cursive is slow is simply stupid

        Of course it's slower, there's so much more to write:

        Non-cursive: The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.

        Cursive: The quick-as-fuck asshole fox jumped his ass over the son-of-a-bitch lazy-ass dog.
        --
        - fractious political commentary goes here -
      • (Score: 5, Informative) by Nerdanel on Wednesday June 04 2014, @12:58PM

        by Nerdanel (3363) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @12:58PM (#51067) Journal

        Cursive was invented for writing with ink, the sort that comes in a bottle and to which a pen is dipped. You don't get so many ink blots when you keep the pen on the paper. This also makes writing with ink faster, as you don't have to be so constantly careful.

        The situation is completely different with pencils and ballpoint pens. Inkblots aren't a problem. You don't have to be careful about lifting a pen; you just do it. The hand movement required to draw a letter is what matters. Flowery shapes are counterproductive for that. You can even move a pencil faster through the air than over the paper, as there is less friction and less fine motor control required. Raising and then lowering a pencil a few millimeters does take a little bit of time, but you don't need all that much distance on the paper to make up for that. You also make your pens last longer.

        • (Score: 1) by CoolHand on Wednesday June 04 2014, @01:46PM

          by CoolHand (438) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @01:46PM (#51079) Journal

          +1 insightful... :)

          I never looked at it from that historical perspective. I've never even heard of that reason, as I'd always heard the reason for cursive's invention being born from the "need for speed." I will have to google your perspective, to see if the all knowing interwebz agrees with this historical tidbit.

          --
          Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job-Douglas Adams
          • (Score: 3, Informative) by CoolHand on Wednesday June 04 2014, @02:12PM

            by CoolHand (438) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @02:12PM (#51091) Journal

            While doing my research, I came across the following article (and a lot of comments) that has taught me a few great points both for and against teaching cursive..

            https://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/ball/cursive-handwriting-philip-ball/ [prospectmagazine.co.uk]

            Personally, I think it should no longer be mandatory. Possibly, it could be a strongly suggested class once students can pick electives. Or possibly, it could be allowed to fulfill an art requirement.

            --
            Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job-Douglas Adams
            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 05 2014, @04:13AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 05 2014, @04:13AM (#51480)

              Yes, that article makes very good points, if by "good points" you mean a giant blank white rectangle about 5000 by 500000 pixels.

        • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Wednesday June 04 2014, @02:20PM

          by kaszz (4211) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @02:20PM (#51095) Journal

          Interesting perspective!

          "Hey teacher, we have pencils and ballpoint pens these days if you missed it.. doh!"

          Pencils - discovered 1565, in wide use since 1790
          Ballpoint - Launched 1888

          Will it take more than 224 years to update curriculum? ;-)

          What feature will these calculators sized as big as a house using copious amount of staff and electricity have? ha! All students must learn to be the fastest slide ruler [wikipedia.org] calculator they can or they won't have any career .. You must also learn to respect the all important bean counters, they rule everything. Or do you expect to bring that calculator house with you in your pocket and ask others for help from it? ;)

        • (Score: 2) by frojack on Thursday June 05 2014, @12:32AM

          by frojack (1554) on Thursday June 05 2014, @12:32AM (#51412) Journal

          Plus 1.

          When choosing a pen, I favor those brands that have the LEAST rolling resistance. (PaperMate InkJoy is one of my current favorite el-cheapo (don't care if I lose it) pens. I could care less how long they last. There's 7 more in the box just like the last one.

          --
          No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
      • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Wednesday June 04 2014, @05:40PM

        by Grishnakh (2831) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @05:40PM (#51252)

        That may be the intent, but it's not what really happens in practice.

        There's two ways to write cursive: legibly, or illegibly. Legible cursive is very slow to write, slower than regular print. Fast cursive is illegible by anyone who isn't the writer (and maybe even him/her). My mom wrote in cursive, and frequently couldn't read her own writing.

        • (Score: 2) by urza9814 on Thursday June 05 2014, @11:25PM

          by urza9814 (3954) on Thursday June 05 2014, @11:25PM (#51964) Journal

          Hah! Reminds me of a few of my college classes, where I'd get so lazy with my writing that a cursive lower-case F for example -- or hell, sometimes even *entire words* -- would just turn into a single vertical line. They'd end up as TALL lines though, expanding from my normal 1 line in the notebook to a full three or four. Of course, I never once actually read my notes after the fact in any class except math, so that was perfectly fine. The act of taking notes kept me paying attention...which ironically meant I only ever needed to look something up if I hadn't been taking notes.

          But man, I could write those lines *fast* ;)

          On a more serious note, I feel like cursive -- even neatly -- lets my hand be a lot more relaxed while I'm writing. If I'm printing, all five fingers are exerting pressure somewhere. Even my pinkey is pressed tightly against my index finger, which is pressed tightly against the pen. If I'm writing cursive, my pinkey and index finger often don't even touch the pen. But I'm pretty certain that's just me.

    • (Score: 2) by scruffybeard on Wednesday June 04 2014, @02:00PM

      by scruffybeard (533) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @02:00PM (#51088)

      The article addresses cursive, and says that it may be beneficial for people with dysgraphia. Regardless of whether you use cursive or print, writing by hand is still a valuable skill.

    • (Score: 1) by gidds on Wednesday June 04 2014, @02:32PM

      by gidds (589) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @02:32PM (#51103)

      Not sure if I agree with your reasoning (maybe you'd have got faster if you hadn't given it up 'long before high school'?), but I fully agree with your conclusion!

      I did cursive up until my final year at uni, when I had such trouble reading my notes that I did a complete redesign of my handwriting. All the testing I did then suggested that while neat printing takes very slightly longer than neat cursive, printing stays much more legible as I speed up, and so I worked out a style of printed handwriting that's stayed with me ever since, and has gained several appreciative comments.

      (I also found that ascenders and descenders were best kept very short, the middle parts of the letters relatively wide and rounded, the letters within each word relatively close, and letters like x and w in simple straight-line forms. Century Gothic is the closest common font I've seen.)

      It surprises me, though, just how opposed people are to the idea of printing. It's not necessarily childish, and it's no bad thing to write in a way that's clear, simple, and easily legible! If my experience is any guide, then with practice it's really not much slower than cursive. So there's no good reason to dismiss it the way people seem to.

      Also, there are many more styles of cursive to interpret: roundhand, italic, copperplate, etc. etc., some of which are radically different from each other. Printing is more of a common standard!

      --
      [sig redacted]
      • (Score: 2) by frojack on Thursday June 05 2014, @12:39AM

        by frojack (1554) on Thursday June 05 2014, @12:39AM (#51413) Journal

        Ditto this.
        My normal writing style is mostly printing, with a few instances of "convenient cursive" thrown in.
        Words like "the" and "on" seem to flow from the pen in cursive, while most everything else gets printed. My dad always favored printing, and even as he aged, and his hand shook, you could read his printing, but never his cursive.

        --
        No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04 2014, @02:56PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04 2014, @02:56PM (#51116)

      Cursive becomes even worse than useless when you start doing math.

    • (Score: 2) by Angry Jesus on Wednesday June 04 2014, @04:32PM

      by Angry Jesus (182) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @04:32PM (#51196)

      Wow, I have just the opposite experience. If I write with block letters I go much slower and get hand cramps much sooner than if I use cursive. I try to avoid hand-writing all together because I was never very good at it (in fact it was one of the main arguments I made to my parents to get an atari 800 - I could do all my school essays on there and never get marked down for bad handwriting) but when I do have to write I vastly prefer to use cursive.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04 2014, @05:56PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04 2014, @05:56PM (#51257)

      throwing away cursive is a good thing. its slow write and hard to read, and serves no purpose in a digital world.

      Cursive CAN'T be thrown away unless you get rid of paper checks altogether.

      Check's need signatures on them to cash them and they are ALWAYS -- as far as I know -- written in cursive.

      Unless you can get by with 'X's or 'squiggles' of some sort as a signature.

      • (Score: 2) by efitton on Wednesday June 04 2014, @07:26PM

        by efitton (1077) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @07:26PM (#51306) Homepage

        Of course you can get by with squiggles for a signature. In the "old days" when they told people to make their mark (as most were illiterate) it wasn't an x. It was a simple pattern or design. That and if you look at most checks (those that aren't just done over the internet) you can't actually read the signature anyhow.

      • (Score: 2) by urza9814 on Thursday June 05 2014, @11:44PM

        by urza9814 (3954) on Thursday June 05 2014, @11:44PM (#51971) Journal

        Both of my parents use pretty much the same signature -- first initial, last initial, squiggly line. And the initials are printed.

        My brother uses some sort of design. Basically just merges a bunch of letters from his name into a single symbol.

        Your signature can be literally anything you want. It doesn't even have to be your name really. ANYONE could just write your name down. The important part to your signature is that you should do it the same way each time. $RANDOM_IDENTITY_THIEF can certainly write your name in cursive, but they won't know what your normal signature looks like unless you've given it to them before. The best thing you can do is make your signature NOT just your name written in cursive, as then if someone else just signs your name it's pretty easy to prove at least that it isn't your normal signature. Make it a drawing of an egg or something. It really doesn't matter.

        That's why, for example, you're supposed to sign the back of your credit cards. When you buy something, the clerk SHOULD check that the signature on the receipt matches the signature on the card (most don't, because it's cheaper for small purchases to just eat the loss if you claim fraud). For checks, the bank makes you sign when you open the account, so they can then compare your signature on your checks to the signature they have on file. If you don't have access to a known good copy, a signature is worthless.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04 2014, @10:57AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04 2014, @10:57AM (#51017)

    I type faster than I write by hand, with fewer spelling errors and higher legibility.

    Handwriting is obsolete. Transcribing is the machine's job.

    • (Score: 1) by gargoyle on Wednesday June 04 2014, @11:25AM

      by gargoyle (1791) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @11:25AM (#51029)

      How much do you recall a month after writing the note without having to refer back to it?

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04 2014, @11:29AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04 2014, @11:29AM (#51031)

        All of it, by remembering the act of typing things I typed a month ago.

      • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04 2014, @11:48AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04 2014, @11:48AM (#51043)

        Before comparing what he remembers from typing with what you remember from hand writing, you need to be aware that this stuff works different for different people.

        I never wrote down any notes in school. Except for one subject, where for unknown reasons I did. In that one subject, I learned absolutely nothing, except for the one day I tried not taking notes. I can still tell what I learned that day, but nothing about what I learned the rest of the year.

        • (Score: 2, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04 2014, @11:56AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04 2014, @11:56AM (#51046)

          No no no, everyone must learn the same way, or the Common Core won't work properly.

    • (Score: 2) by tathra on Wednesday June 04 2014, @11:31AM

      by tathra (3367) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @11:31AM (#51033)

      you really do learn better when writing stuff by hand. i remember essentially nothing when i'm typing because my mind never enters it - like how people normally converse, words just flow out through my finger half-consciously (now, if only i could use my voice that way). writing stuff out by hand engages several parts of the brain at once and you spend more time thinking about it, so you're more likely to remember it. i've seen studies on this kinda thing before, but i dont care enough to sort through google for any of them since i already know its true from personal experience.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04 2014, @11:38AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04 2014, @11:38AM (#51036)

        my mind never enters it - like how people normally converse

        And herein lies the problem. Normal people do not communicate to exchange information. Normal people converse to control each other. Normal people are SHIT.

        • (Score: 2) by carguy on Wednesday June 04 2014, @02:26PM

          by carguy (568) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 04 2014, @02:26PM (#51097)

          And herein lies the problem. Normal people do not communicate to exchange information. Normal people converse to control each other. Normal people are SHIT.

          Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

          ...and after reading this quote/meme for years, I finally searched and found that it's from Simpsons, doh.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04 2014, @11:54AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04 2014, @11:54AM (#51045)

        writing stuff out by hand engages several parts of the brain at once and you spend more time thinking about it, so you're more likely to remember it.

        No, YOU are more likely to remember it. Because YOU learn that way. I don't. I can't learn and concentrate on taking notes at the same time. I've tried it in school, and I learned absolutely nothing in that subject. Except for the one day I didn't take notes, I still remember what we learned that day.

        • (Score: 2) by aristarchus on Wednesday June 04 2014, @07:34PM

          by aristarchus (2645) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @07:34PM (#51313) Journal

          I've tried it in school, and I learned absolutely nothing in that subject. Except for the one day I didn't take notes, I still remember what we learned that day.

          Ah, I remember that day! We took the ferry, and I wore an onion tied to my belt, as that was the fashion at the time. Or was it that you wore blue, and the Nazis wore gray? Play it again, Sam!

          I am always amazed at how well people remember having learned nothing. Nothing must really make an impression.

    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by cmn32480 on Wednesday June 04 2014, @11:35AM

      by cmn32480 (443) <cmn32480NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday June 04 2014, @11:35AM (#51035) Journal

      I disagree. Something of value IS lost.

      I receive Thank You notes from customers for help that we have given on a regular basis. The typed ones that come in via email are appreciated, but they get filed. The very few hand written ones that I get mean a lot more, and get hung on the bulletin board because somebody too the time to actually site down and write it.

      There is value there, and it is a shame that people seems to think it is a skill that can be thrown away.

      --
      "It's a dog eat dog world, and I'm wearing Milkbone underwear" - Norm Peterson
      • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04 2014, @11:41AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04 2014, @11:41AM (#51038)

        You treat a handwritten note as a proxy for kissing your ass? What a queer life you lead.

      • (Score: 2) by khchung on Wednesday June 04 2014, @12:44PM

        by khchung (457) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @12:44PM (#51064)

        I bet you would value it more if the "Thank You" were chiseled on a piece of rock or wood, but that doesn't mean it is a good idea to have EVERYONE spent a year or two in school to learn how to do it.

        Yes, there is value there, but is the value worth the time of every school child?

      • (Score: 2) by Leebert on Wednesday June 04 2014, @07:56PM

        by Leebert (3511) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @07:56PM (#51329)

        The very few hand written ones that I get mean a lot more

        I note that you said "hand written", not "written in cursive".

        A note can be hand written in print. I know; I've written a lot (including love letters!) in print.

  • (Score: 4, Informative) by WillAdams on Wednesday June 04 2014, @12:09PM

    by WillAdams (1424) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @12:09PM (#51052)

    If children don't learn how to write cursive, then they lose their fluency in _reading_ it as well --- for an extreme look at this, look at Turkey which switched from using the Arabic writing system to Latin --- people have to hire scribes to transcribe their parents and grandparents letters so as to be able to read them.

    Moreover, having nice handwriting gives one a boos on one's SAT scoring: http://blogs.bostontestprep.com/2006/10/should_your_sat.html [bostontestprep.com] (tldr; the 15% who submitted in cursive had higher scores)

    For those who want to work on improving their own handwriting, Kate Gladstone's materials are much better than her website indicates: http://handwritingrepair.info/ [handwritingrepair.info]

    • (Score: 2) by VLM on Wednesday June 04 2014, @12:33PM

      by VLM (445) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @12:33PM (#51060)

      Talk to the genealogy people. I haven't written cursive in at least a decade now, and I also find it nearly impossible to read simple census documents.

      I know cursive "used to be" faster to write back when people used it, but I wonder if it was always considered basically illegible or if thats a modern characteristic.

    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by hojo on Wednesday June 04 2014, @12:40PM

      by hojo (4254) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @12:40PM (#51063)

      There's always the potential confounding factor of "which came first" when you you study things like "nice handwriting improves SAT scores."

      E.g.: Students who study cello do better on the SAT. Is the root cause the fact that cello students all have involved parents and a relatively affluent beginning, reflecting a better startup condition for learning, or does playing the cello make a person smarter? The same issue comes up with things like this cursive report.

      I think the more likely causal issue is that good students are good at lots of things that they test for on the SAT. It doesn't matter if you're a winner in ballroom dance contests or win the spelling bee--in both cases, you've just shown your true scholastic aptitude in a different venue, especially your willingness to work hard at some task.

    • (Score: 2) by efitton on Wednesday June 04 2014, @01:51PM

      by efitton (1077) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @01:51PM (#51083) Homepage

      Why do we need to be able to read cursive? Honestly, historical documents have already been typeset non-cursive. It is the ideas of the Declaration of Independence, the cursive adds no value. At a minimum, a few academics will keep it alive. I mean, we don't spend a lot of time on Roman Numerals. They have historical significance but honestly, how often should anyone care?

      As for the SAT boost: correlation is not causation. Your article also put it as a "slightly higher score" and there were no measure of statistical significance or an actual reporting on how much higher the score was. (It could be statistically significant but so trivial as to be meaningless). How long before students just take the SAT on a computer and type their essay? I also note no one is claiming a higher score on the non-essay section and most colleges don't actually care about the essay.

      So my students could be reading, writing, doing math or problem solving with the inordinate amount of time we use to spend teaching cursive and you want to save it for those two reasons?

      • (Score: 1) by WillAdams on Wednesday June 04 2014, @02:41PM

        by WillAdams (1424) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @02:41PM (#51108)

        Because it's a fundamental skill which improves the ability to communicate, to preserve information and to express oneself.

        Studying and practicing handwriting provides an affordable way to practice and acquire fine motor control and skills which translate into the ability to do fine manipulations, &c.

        It can be worked into the curriculum in place of fragile, expensive, electronic devices at a net savings.

        • (Score: 2) by efitton on Wednesday June 04 2014, @07:08PM

          by efitton (1077) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @07:08PM (#51301) Homepage

          You claiming it is a fundamental skill does not make it so.

          Many different tasks can be used to practice fine motor skills, including print writing.

          It is not the financial cost of cursive that is the problem, it is the cost of time that is the problem. Reading, arithmetic, problem solving can all be bolstered by dropping cursive as a requirement.

    • (Score: 4, Funny) by fishybell on Wednesday June 04 2014, @02:38PM

      by fishybell (3156) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @02:38PM (#51106)

      AARGG!!! MY EYES!!!

      That link (http://handwritingrepair.info/) has got to be the most garish thing I've seen on the internet in years.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04 2014, @04:29PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04 2014, @04:29PM (#51193)

        Indeed, send her to http://htmlrepair.info/ [htmlrepair.info]

      • (Score: 2) by Open4D on Thursday June 05 2014, @02:12PM

        by Open4D (371) on Thursday June 05 2014, @02:12PM (#51683) Journal

        Garish? Well, it looks like the site design hasn't been updated since 1996. But I'd happily take that over one of the new fangled websites you encounter these days (e.g. 1 [fairphone.com],2 [particlefever.com]).

    • (Score: 2) by DrMag on Wednesday June 04 2014, @04:52PM

      by DrMag (1860) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @04:52PM (#51215)

      Interesting site; I found it rather telling that in many of her examples (particularly those for fixing doctors' handwriting), the 'fix' seems to be switching from cursive to manuscript...

    • (Score: 2) by evilviper on Wednesday June 04 2014, @05:00PM

      by evilviper (1760) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @05:00PM (#51220) Homepage Journal

      If children don't learn how to write cursive, then they lose their fluency in _reading_ it as well

      With a few exceptions (like "Q") cursive letters still LOOK LIKE LETTERS. It's not a completely different writing system, like Arabic, it just has a few extra lines.

      I'm sure there's some corner cases where SLOPPY cursive might go from "completely illegible" to just "barely legible", if you're experienced writing in cursive. But in general, cursive writing is still just fancy writing.

      I may pause for a few seconds when I see some old book, where all the "S"es look like "f"s, but a small amount of thought clears it up, even if you've never EVER seen that before...

      I know for a fact that people who have NEVER been taught how to write in old-English calligraphy, can still read fancy writing in crazy fonts they've never seen before. In fact, not only can they read it, but they even DESIRE having it used prominently on their important documents that they want others to read...

      --
      Hydrogen cyanide is a delicious and necessary part of the human diet.
  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by kaszz on Wednesday June 04 2014, @02:36PM

    by kaszz (4211) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @02:36PM (#51104) Journal

    There's many subjects that are really useful to learn. The big catch is that there's not an infinite amount of time and not all teachers are any good. So it means that one has to prioritize between subjects and their depth. Learning to write and read and calculate is very useful. Cursive handwriting adds to knowledge, but it doesn't add enough and the time consumed could be better spent on other subjects. Something many people lack is critical thinking and complex reasoning.

    • (Score: 1) by Murdoc on Friday June 06 2014, @06:32PM

      by Murdoc (2518) on Friday June 06 2014, @06:32PM (#52340)

      "Something many people lack is critical thinking and complex reasoning."

      Amen brother. If there is just one change I wish I could make to all the school systems of the world (or heck, even just one), it would be this, and it would be taught over many years. Since that is pretty much not going to happen, I'm working instead on a project to teach these things for free over the Internet (supplemented hopefully by local study groups). Still going to be tough to get it out there, but at least it skips the middle-man of school boards and politics.

      • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Saturday June 07 2014, @02:24AM

        by kaszz (4211) on Saturday June 07 2014, @02:24AM (#52499) Journal

        It's a hard subject to read. It's not about knowledge but rather a capability. So how will you offer this over internet?

        As for schools. Not all countries have boards that thinks not offending groups is the most important task.

        • (Score: 1) by Murdoc on Sunday June 08 2014, @04:39AM

          by Murdoc (2518) on Sunday June 08 2014, @04:39AM (#52858)

          For schools, yes there would be some more receptive to change than others, but each would have to be approached pretty much individually, so I am hoping this way is more efficient, with a better chance of reaching more people. Perhaps approaching school boards could be integrated into the program now that I think of it. Cool.

          I agree that it is about capability and not just knowledge (although that helps). This program is designed to teach skills. It'll have to start small at first, just a few documents that can be downloaded, printed out if desired, and read. They'd cover what they're about, why learning these things are important and useful to you as an individual (and perhaps a little on how it benefits society at large), exercises to practice the skills, and references to other helpful resources. It will recommend practising with others, maybe forming study groups. Later on it will include helpful videos, tests to measure your skills, and anything else that can be made or found to help learn. It will include a feedback system to help make it continuously improving. And it's meant to cover more than just critical thinking, but other useful skills that don't get taught enough, like interpersonal communications and emotion management. I hope that it will grow into something self-sustaining with it's own community. Ambitious I know, but I think with all the ideas I've got in this that it at least has a decent shot.

  • (Score: 1) by WillAdams on Wednesday June 04 2014, @02:47PM

    by WillAdams (1424) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @02:47PM (#51112)

    The study / practice of handwriting also fosters an understanding and appreciation of the aesthetics of design.

    I've never met a calligrapher who wasn't a good judge of fine typography, but I've met a lot of ``typographers'' and graphic designers who couldn't make a nice looking page w/o using a computer, and couldn't write up a typesetting specification which made sense.

    • (Score: 2) by efitton on Wednesday June 04 2014, @07:30PM

      by efitton (1077) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @07:30PM (#51310) Homepage

      I'm guessing that a grand total of 0 of my students will go into typography or typesetting.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04 2014, @08:59PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04 2014, @08:59PM (#51349)

        I'm unclear on your point: is that a commentary on the fields of typography and typesetting, or on your teaching?

  • (Score: 2) by krishnoid on Wednesday June 04 2014, @09:59PM

    by krishnoid (1156) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @09:59PM (#51376)

    In another study, Dr. James is comparing children who physically form letters with those who only watch others doing it. Her observations suggest that it is only the actual effort that engages the brain's motor pathways and delivers the learning benefits of handwriting.

    I suppose creating art or playing a musical instrument is similar. However, it seems that handwriting is one of the few activities that nearly *all* children participate in, which involves simultaneous:

    • hand-eye,
    • content retrieval and 'description', and
    • multiple fine-motor-muscle

    engagement. I think it involves a many parts of the brain from:

    • seeing a mark on a piece of paper and using the nerve feedback from 3D pressure-position-sensing of a pencil point (visual, tactile processing)
    • to perceiving how one wishes to alter/extend that mark to create a letter/word, (expression of language)
    • to controlling the arm, wrist, hand, and fingers (gross->fine motor engagement)
    • to then control how to manipulate the pencil to extend the mark as desired (behavior with fine-grained intent)
    • in a way that gives the child a way to concretely and durably indicate their intent to the world around them (communication)

    in a way that few activities do that are accessible to all children, especially during the early years of brain development.

    I'll also randomly throw in a plug for Levar Burton's Kickstarter [kickstarter.com] which has some statistics on illiteracy in America. Doesn't have to do with handwriting, but if you can handwrite a full page of text, it would probably go a long way towards keeping you literate in the future.