Is there still value in handwriting?

I recently listened to a Freakonomics podcast episode titled “Who Needs Handwriting?“, which was pretty fascinating.

In the episode, there was a debate about the value of handwriting.

Some argued that teaching handwriting in schools was unnecessary, since we have all of this technology with which to take notes.

Others argued that handwriting was a critical way for us humans to express ourselves and create.

I’ve actually been thinking a lot about handwriting vs. using technology to take notes recently.

I use Evernote often to take notes. I can type much faster than writing by hand. My handwriting is absolutely atrocious, so bad sometimes that I can’t even read my own chicken scratch, and that’s not a problem with Evernote. And having my notes easily accessible on any device is a great convenience.

But I do find that I don’t often refer back to the notes I take in Evernote. There are probably some to-dos from a few years ago buried in some notes there.

And I certainly don’t have much recall of anything in those notes.

In the podcast episode, there was mention of a study done at Princeton that concluded that students who took notes by hand had a better understanding of the material when compared to those who took digital notes.

While I certainly see value in digital notes, I agree with the stance that there is certainly worth in handwriting.

I recently purchased a Moleskine notebook and have been logging my notes in there.

First of all, there are many situations where it’s easier or better to take notes by hand, especially compared to doing so on your smartphone.

Second, I do believe I recall handwritten notes more so than digital notes.

Finally, there’s just something about bringing pen to paper that makes me feel more empowered and creative.

If you typically take digital notes, the next time a thought comes to mind that you want to jot down, or if you’re taking notes in a meeting, give pen and paper a try. I think you’ll like it.

P.S. I have the Moleskine Evernote notebook and take pictures of my handwritten notes to store digitally. I guess it’s kinda cheating? 🙂

What do you think? Do you believe there’s still value in handwriting? Please leave a comment with your thoughts!


This is day 32 of my experiment to blog for 30 consecutive days.

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