While some researchers have suggested that students remember material better when they take notes by hand, educators suggest that writing on digital devices also has its strengths, according to EdSurge.
Andrew Dillon, a psychology professor at the University of Texas at Austin, for example, notes that writing by hand can lead students to produce “longer, more meaningful texts,” and that texting and social media have resulted in students writing shorter passages and not fully communicating ideas, EdSurge reports.
Jocelyn Chadwick, the president of the National Council of Teachers of English, also notes that all forms of writing — including those used for social media such as Snapchat and Twitter — are necessary for engaging students.
With some educators saying that the traditional five-paragraph essay only discourages some students from writing — and should be abandoned — and with technology and social media opening up new styles of communication, Chadwick’s position that a blended approach to writing instruction is needed in today’s world makes sense.
In addition to different forms of writing, research suggests that students benefit from traditional handwriting instruction as well as typing words on a keyboard or tablet. Forming letters on a page can help students pay closer attention to what they’re writing, and there are correlations between good handwriting and higher achievement, Dr. Perri Klass, a pediatrician, wrote in a piece last year for The New York Times.
While instruction in cursive writing is hard to find in schools anymore and was not included in the Common Core standards, studies have also shown that it can help children learn to spell, while typing on a keyboard activates other skills in the brain. Writing is another area in which school leaders can make sure educators are providing students with a full range of learning opportunities to prepare them for the more complex world in which they live.