Today’s schoolchildren need to combine a range of changing skills to navigate both print and digital texts, according to research by Charles Sturt University.
Dr Noella Mackenzie from the CSU School of Education in Albury-Wodonga has found mixed results when it comes to teaching handwriting and keyboard skills to school children.
“Policy-makers around the globe are being forced to make decisions about curriculum content in order to allow room for the development of skills important for 21st century society,” Dr Mackenzie says.
This requires critical assessment of existing content, and decisions about the teaching of handwriting and keyboarding are at the front of many education agendas.
“While it is certain that handwriting (with pen/pencil and paper) remains an essential skill, there is uncertainty as to its significance in relation to other technologies, particularly keyboarding,” Dr Mackenzie says.
When comparing the benefits of handwriting and word processing, some studies report that students produce longer and higher-quality texts with pencil and paper than they do with word processors. However, other studies report the opposite.
Dr Mackenzie says it’s not a simple decision of substitution, rather a negotiation of how to combine the two.
“I think the children of the 21st century need to learn both skills so they can choose the appropriate method for the task,” Dr Mackenzie says.
Read more about the researcher’s findings here. Story credit: Charles Sturt University newsroom.
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