Study finds writing by hand in school makes kids smarter than typing

Brittany A. Roston - Oct 4, 2020, 2:05pm CDT
Study finds writing by hand in school makes kids smarter than typing

Researchers in Norway are calling for schools to emphasize handwriting activities during the childhood years in order to help kids learn and improve their memory. It’s no secret that the brain activity differs when one writes by hand instead of typing — this goes for both adults and kids. Researchers with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology built upon this body of research by strapping 250 EEG electrodes to children and tasking them with handwriting.

Typing has become increasingly common in schools, which have largely adopted inexpensive laptops like Chromebooks as the ideal way for children to work through homework and complete activities. However, research has raised questions over whether having kids type on a keyboard rather than write by hand may be impacting their ability to learn and remember what they study.

This new study evaluated this by using an EEG with more than 250 electrodes to record the brain activity of children who participated in the study. The kids were tasked with handwriting and typing on a keyboard, with the results clearly pointing toward handwriting as the superior option, according to the researchers.

Brain waves were found to be significantly more active in participants when writing by hand, essentially providing ‘more hooks to hang your memories on,’ according to study lead Professor Audrey van der Meer. She went on to explain:

Writing by hand creates much more activity in the sensorimotor parts of the brain. A lot of senses are activated by pressing the pen on paper, seeing the letters you write and hearing the sound you make while writing. These sense experiences create contact between different parts of the brain and open the brain up for learning. We both learn better and remember better.

Must Read Bits & Bytes