Archive for January 20th, 2014

January 20, 2014

Writing and Cognition

We no longer write by hand. Technology replaced this intimate ritual of literally putting our thoughts to paper with a completely different mechanism. Why should we bother teaching children to write by hand when we have digital tools that can make writing such an easy, flowing process?

Well, we still should. And I am not saying that because I am a “traditional” teacher or a Luddite living in the 21st century with inescapable nostalgic flashbacks going through her mind. We should because it matters to learning. And cognitive science and neurophysiology have proved the importance of handwriting in cognition during childhood.

The neurophysiology of writing

Writing has been described mostly as a mental process and little attention has been paid to the physicality of writing and its impact on memory, attention and learning.  Anne Mangen, associate professor at the University of Stavanger,  and neurophysiologist Jean-Luc Velay (University of Marseille) have shed light into this aspect of writing in their study (Digitzing Literacy –  reflections on the haptics of writing, 2010).