A keyboard for my pen?

I like to think of myself as adequate at getting to grips with new technology, at least compared to my parents. But I was goggle-eyed to read in the press that schools in the US are ditching handwriting and text books in favour of keyboards and iPad-filled classrooms. And they really are.

The Huffington Post said ‘Indiana school officials have announced that students will no longer be required to learn cursive writing, effective this [autumn]’.

And Apple Insider reported that ‘The state of Georgia is reportedly considering a plan to get rid of conventional textbooks and shift middle school classrooms in the state to wireless iPads built by Apple, following positive iPad trials in place by schools around the US.’

It goes on to say that ‘six middle schools in San Francisco, Long Beach, Fresno and Riverside, California are now teaching the first iPad-only algebra course.’

I felt shocked at my own panic, like I wanted to run away and shut myself in a room with my moleskine and selection of lovingly selected Stabilo pens. A new feeling arose which I’ve been suspecting for a while – there’s a modern world approaching I’m not quite ready for, in fact I’m dreading it.

Is it just me? Would the kids involved roll their eyes and say ‘Whatever’?

What of the beauty and therapy of writing? What of doodling away in your pad or textbook? Writing notes to each other in class? Writing several drafts of an essay? Crafting lovely handwriting? Having a pencil case? I’ve always been told better writing comes from the handwritten word first and typed up second. What of spelling? (Now I’m panicking again.) Is this now out of date?

Do we have to face the truth just yet? What’s the best way to keep writing alive in our increasingly techno-driven world?


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on Aug 01, 2011

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