Handwriting Is Good For The Brain

If you ever wrote notes by hand for either college or high school, you might not be surprised to learn that handwriting is good for the brain. A Wall Street Journal article titled “How Handwriting Trains The Brain” cites research that shows how writing by hand engages the brain in learning. Taking notes by hand not only forces you to focus on a topic, it also helps you remember what is being learned, beyond the obvious point of having information available to you to study from later.

The information in the WSJ article is important in light of today’s technology that seems to focus on keyboards. Keyboards are not a natural tool for communication, whereas handwriting is the second way we learn to communicate at a young age after we learn how to talk. In light of this, technology solutions that are intended to replicate styles we already know, such as tablet computers replicating a pad of paper, ought to support more natural forms of input like digital ink, speech recognition, and handwriting recognition.

I don’t advocate going back to the times when the only way to interact with smartphones and tablets is with a stylus, but I do advocate the support of multiple input forms on future tablets that include speech, touch, and handwriting. Each method of input has a valuable use case that I think technology solutions ought to support.