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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.

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  • (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.