1. What's mightier, the keyboard or the pen?
One in three people have not written in longhand in the last six months. In Finland they no longer teach handwriting in school. Penmanship is being replaced by modern technology.
However, research in neuroscience indicates that writing using only on a keyboard or touch screen can affect brain development, especially in relation to children learning to read.
So should we be mindful of where we want to go from here? As well as ending a cultural tradition that can be traced back to the start of civilisation, will we also lose an element of our individuality if handwriting fades away?
3. Brain boost
Swapping your keyboard for a pen can exercise your brain.
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Over the last 10 years research involving brain imaging has helped neuroscientists to understand that learning skills such as handwriting and playing a musical instrument can actually change the brain's structure. What’s more, that learning to write with a pen is more beneficial for children than keyboard skills. Professor Stanislas Dehaene, director of the INSERM-CEA Cognitive Neuroimaging Unit says: "It's a well known fact now that learning to write by hand at the same time as learning to read facilitates reading by developing fine motor skills."
4. What your handwriting says about you
When graphologist Elaine Quigley receives a letter from a complete stranger, she has a sense of what they are like almost before she starts reading. Here she reveals some key characteristics which she believes can be inferred from a person's handwriting.
5. Keys to success
Our handwriting can reveal a lot about our personality, but with computing’s standardised methods of delivery, how can we hold on to our individuality online?
Many of the nuances of online language can be traced back to 1337. For those of you stuck in the dark ages, we’re not talking the year here.
'OMG ur a n00b 2 1337?!' Well actually you’re probably not. Pronounced 'leet', 1337 (or 31337) originated on the bulletin board system in the 1980s and includes replacing letters with numbers, reducing sentences to acronyms and deliberately misspelling wordz. Noticeable in usernames, this stylising is used by many to express individuality.
There Are Also Those Who Seek Individuality Through Breaking Convention, Like Jaden Smith Who Capitalises Each Word Of His Tweets. Some can’t emphasise enough that the full stop is the. Best. Thing. Ever. While others express meaning through popular memes or hashtags: #thestruggleisreal.
Increasingly, images are used to convey meaning and self-expression. Many people have a favourite emoji – the fastest growing 'language' ever – while more than 700 million pictures are shared on WhatsApp Messenger every day.
Of course, many people won’t do any of the above, preferring to use traditional words and structures. This in itself is an expression of individuality, reliant on the writer’s flair to express personality.
The tools may be the same but there’s a wide range of them. It’s how you use them that can convey your individuality.
6. Emoji quiz
This new novel language is becoming increasingly popular. See if you can figure out the three books from their emoji plotlines and clues.