As cursive faces extinction, handwriting’s is future bleak

With the current use of tablets and smartphones, handwriting is going by the wayside. One can remember a time in elementary school when teachers threatened that all high school essays would be written in cursive. However, it’s obvious that there have been many technological advances since the days of third grade cursive-writing quizzes.

Mostly every student encounters that one teacher who demands that all work be handwritten and does not permit the use of laptop computers in class. However, times are changing, and cursive has become practically obsolete. Nowadays, when a person’s career can revolve around the world of computers alone, it is a question whether or not handwriting is even necessary.

There is a major modern day controversy in education in which schoolteachers are arguing whether or not learning how to write cursive is necessary in the curriculum. Indeed, there are many teachers who believe that technology must be integrated with learning in today’s schools. At the same time others believe that handwriting, even cursive, must continue to be taught to children. As the years progress, cursive is becoming more of an art form for the older generation than a necessity to survive in the modern day society and work force. Before typewriters were invented, handwritten communication was the only option. However, just as we no longer use the telegraph to communicate, computer keyboarding is just an advancement in technology that the older generation may need to accept. Cursive writing itself has even changed distinct styles from 1960’s classrooms to the 1990’s. Cursive writing changes with times, and it is declining with each decade’s third graders.

Making the transition from handwriting to typing assignments better prepares today’s youth for the business world. Keyboarding is taught to children in schools, but even prior to the elementary level, children are becoming aware of what keys to press to form words. Children these days are exposed to computers, iPads, and texting on cellphones before they even enter school. The question still remains whether or not legible handwriting is still necessary in the 21st century when keyboards and touchpads are ubiquitous.

In college, students often take notes by hand during a lecture. In addition, legible penmanship is necessary when handing in written exams. Otherwise, the increase in electronic and computerized communication has made cursive skills superfluous.

Matt Fontanez, freshman, is one of the university students that chooses to use only a notebook when taking notes in the classroom. He never uses a laptop, Fontanez said “…I like a hard copy I can hold and take with me and a laptop is too big and heavy to carry.” His handwritten notes are printed rather than in cursive because he is “…really bad at cursive and you can’t read it,” Fontanez admits. He also explains that none of his teachers require notes to be handwritten in class, but none forbid the use of computers either. Fontanez types formal essays, however “…the teacher requires them to be typed…double spaced and all that stuff.”

Most college professors don’t require students to write essays in cursive because the honest truth is the majority of students can’t. The most common use of cursive writing is for one to sign their name, but even that action may become discontinued in the future. “I think it’s true that handwriting is going extinct because now half the people in my classes use laptops, while the other half writes notes—it’s split,” Fontanez explains.

Does the pending extinction of handwriting tell anything about the future of the world and technology? Perhaps there will come a day when no one even bothers to type a text message, but rather just speaks into a phone to voice a text. Today, most people don’t write letters to friends in order to tell them something important, or handwrite cover letters for a job application. Most people don’t keep a written agenda planner anymore, but rather add obligations into their cellphones to remind them. It is possible to see a future where letters and cards will no longer be written, and checks and legal documents will not require a signature. Handwriting will inevitably die out—the only question is when.

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