Eschewing handwriting in favor of iPads and other technology may be losing its appeal. The skills gained from learning and practicing handwriting have been found to improve retention, among other long-term benefits for students. In this roundup, one educator even posits that too much tech and the loss of focus on handwriting are factors behind Australian students slipping in international rankings and is causing them to suffer from “digital dementia.” We also learn that the state of Ohio has passed legislation that would require cursive handwriting to be taught as an elective in schools and about a new robotic arm being tested as a way to teach handwriting to younger students.
Ohio House Passes Bill to Develop Curriculum to Teach Cursive Handwriting
The Ohio House has passed a bill that would require the State Board of Education to develop a curriculum model for instruction in cursive handwriting. The model would be for students in grades kindergarten through five and is designed so all students develop the ability to print letters and words legibly by third grade. They must then be able to create readable documents using legible cursive handwriting by the end of fifth grade. Any district or school would be able to use it, but it would not be a required class. The curriculum would be developed by the end of the year, and the State Board of Education can make the decision on whether to not to adopt it by the end of March 2019. Read more about the legislation here.
Abu Dhabi pupils first to test robotic arm to improve ‘iPad generation’ handwriting
Abu Dhabi pupils are the first children worldwide to trial a technology that teaches handwriting using a robotic arm. Two classes at Cranleigh Abu Dhabi are involved in the 11-week trial. Academic studies in various countries have charted the decline of handwriting ability, typically linked to the rise of social media, instant messaging and tablet devices. Teaching handwriting is usually a fairly long, drawn-out process, which usually begins during a pupil’s first year of school. “… we find that children’s muscle control is actually not as good as it was a few years ago, I think because they don’t do quite the same traditional activities as Play Doh and cutting out things at home. They are more on their iPads.”
Plans are underway to conduct a trial with the American Centre of Psychiatry and Neurology. Read the story here.
Too Much Tech and Not Enough Writing Are Factors in Australia’s Slide in International Rankings
If you’re over 50, you can probably remember the phone number of your childhood home. “But now I don’t need to learn my kids’ phone numbers as they’re on speed dial on my phone. So, that part of my memory is like a muscle I might not be using enough. What’s that doing to my brain? And what impact does it have on children’s brains if they’re not developing those areas in the critical years?” This question was posed at EduTECH International Congress and Expo in Should we be concerned with the emerging threat of digital dementia. The presenter from Australia said that technology is overused and can lead to a breakdown of cognitive abilities. In fact, she claims that the tech boom and the loss of writing by hand are factors in Australian students slipping in international rankings. She cites studies that are showing that less handwriting affects students’ literacy levels. Read the story here.
Learn more about developing a cursive curriculum with guidance from teachers and occupational therapists here.