Sunday, May 18, 2014

Digital Dexterity Deficit?

I have been writing my morning pages by hand the last couple of days.  I can tell that I have not been writing with my hands for quite some time by the way they ache and cramp halfway through my third written sentence.  Digital Dexterity Deficit?  I wonder if this is a thing.  

Hm...I think this calls for some research.  Honestly.  I used to have the most neat and tidy hand writing.  When I was in university my hand writing was pro.  I could blast out pages and pages of neat, tidy, organized notes, complete with underlines, highlighting and bulleted lists without so much as breaking a sweat.  Now,  well now I can't write two sentences without having to stop and massage my hand.  

What does this mean for our future?  This means to me our children are losing somethng.  With the huge advance of digital technology in education kids are not writing like they used to.  Yes, in elementary school they do try to control for this by ensuring that children are hand writing at least a portion of what they are responsible for academically, but what happens when they move on to high school?  How about university?  There are thousands of laptops, and tablets in university classrooms now.  These students are not writing their notes anymore.  I wonder if there is something being lost here, outside of the obvious fine motor skills that it takes to manually form letters, words and sentences with accuracy at speed.  What changes when our relationship to our product relies on digital technology? Further to this, what happens when that digital technology inevitably fails?  

Fear mongering? Maybe.  Doomsday thinking? Perhaps.  

In my mind these are simply logical questions to ask when the media that we use to record our ideas and our learning changes and evolves.  

Fear mongering or not, these questions must be asked.  

How is that change going to affect us as a species?  Will the less fortunate countries become advantaged if the digital technologies of the more affluent cease to operate?  Perhaps, if they have retained some educational structures that are accessible to all.  Otherwise we will just become a generation of people who cannot accurately get an idea out of our own heads.  

What do you think, dear reader?  

Do you hand write anything?

Is it harder than it used to be?

What do you see coming in the future with this evolution in the relationship between dexterity, ideas and communication?


Anonymous said...

In my mind, it's a major problem. There have been numerous articles over the past few years saying that the teaching of writing in schools is a "waste of time", which is absurd. Everyone needs to know how to write especially in the event of a no-tech future, which may not be isolated to the science fiction realm.

BUT, more importantly, writing was one of the greatest achievements we humans managed to figure out after crawling out of the primordial slime...throwing that away for typing alone is folly. You might as well say that in addition to not teaching writing, we don't need to teach math or even reading because computers can do those for us, too.

This is one of those easy slippery slopes to glide down to ignorance on.

Bernadette Poirier said...

I agree, with both the article, and edrushel's comment.

Writing is an essential component for relating our thoughts. Without the ability to actually write, by hand, as soon as technology fails, or there is something as simple as a power outage, we become somewhat incompetent and don't know what do do when we have much that needs to be written. If you don't know how to write (be it cursive or printed letters) then we are at a disadvantage. A major disadvantage.

Much the same as cooking is essential for survival, if you don't know how to cook and all you do is rely on others for your pre-made foods, then in the event of a catastrophe, and you are stuck without this knowledge, you are lost. Hand-writing skills are essential.

And yes, I too find it to cramp my hands when I do my writing by hand. However, I find that sometimes to write by hand is better, and more comfortable for the mind in many ways. And, you can write anywhere at any time, even by candle-light, during a thunder-storm.

Keep preaching it. Get this point out!

yogajunkie said...

Thanks for the comments ladies!

Even if you have had trouble writing all your life, you can still write. If you turn to digital technology for your writing, you will lose what little dexterity you had. When technology inevitably fails you will end up not being able to communicate thoughts, ideas and simple requests. Just a thought.