“One little girl said, ‘I don’t like to write, because when you make a mistake you have to erase. On the computer, you just go back.’ I thought, wow. That’s this generation,” said Miles.
That’s a quote from an interesting article on CNET that discusses the potential diminishing focus on teaching cursive writing skills to students. Another interesting quote begins the article:
Your grandchildren may use a stylus on a tablet PC instead of a Bic on tablet paper, but they will continue to write.
If Bill Gates’ vision of Tablet PCs eventually carries the day that may be true. But there is certainly a lot of resistance to the digital pen and ink approach in today’s climate. As Loren Heiny says, “write an article about teaching and using handwriting in schools and mention Tablet PCs in the lead paragraph-and stand back and wait for people to attack Tablet PCs.” Hopefully that will change. Heck, I can remember being forced to take typing by my mother when I was in school, because the prevailing stigma at that time was that typing was a “vocational” skill and not an academic one. Boy, am I glad my mother made me take typing. Now they don’t even call it typing any more and yet more youngsters can zip across a keyboard quicker than I ever could.
The article also raises some other interesting points, like the fact that keyboarding skills are on the rise in younger generations and that today teaching handwriting (not to be confused with penmanship) is a mixture of printing and cursive.
My hunch is that both keyboarding and stylus (or pen and ink) will still be around for awhile. They are in fact merely tools of communication. How we use tools and which tools we use will always continue to evolve.