Education & Technology: Deterioration of writing

Tuesday, 18 December 2007, 13:09 | Category : education, technology
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The last time I sent a handwritten letter to someone was in 1995, then computers were installed at my school and we were introduced to the internet. The last time I wrote anything longer than half an A4 was in late 2003 for an exam! Anything else has just been scribbling down ragged notes.

With the global populace increasingly gaining access to computers and the internet, in say 30 years will written text only be found in calligraphy? As far as I am aware of, technology has not seemed to be that readily available when it comes to “handwriting & electronics”. When a premade PC is purchased ie. from HP or Dell, one is often supplied only with the machine, monitor, keyboard and mouse, nothing more. The PalmV several years ago had a method of writing on your pad which would automatically input into text, however I found the system quite flawed. One pretty much had to learn a new way to write in order for the text to input as intended.

There is also the graphics tablet that we see around, the small inexpensive ones are quite tedious to use due to it’s proportion in comparison to a computer screen. When graphics tablets are concerned, the size certainly does matter! Working with a small graphics tablet, one constantly looks back at the screen to ensure that you have drawn or written something that has not escaped the writing space. Some may get used to it with practice and have no need to check but I have not. Wacom which has often been suggested by my friends has tablets ranging from A6 to A3. Size of course associated with cost, an A3 tablet at SGD$1,049 can buy an entire PC in Bangkok excluding an LCD.

One could of course just purchase an interactive pen display however they do not seem multipurpose enough for home computer use. 15″ screen size is most likely too small for pleasant viewing of graphic work, movies, gaming etc. if one were to upgrade your monitor.

Regardless of it’s usefulness depending on size, the graphics tablet can be used as a mouse replacement, except for gaming and reportedly better for those who do not want or have Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI). “This is because the use of computer mice tends to be very repetitive on the wrist, whereas operating a pen is more natural and tends to involve the movement of the entire arm” ~wikipedia

Logitech’s io™2 Digital Pen functions just like a physical writing utensil with ink. Personally have not tried one myself, but according to it’s description, “stores everything you put to paper for transfer to a PC, where it can be archived and opened in your favorite applications”.

Now back to the original intended jumbled purpose of this entry after I lost myself browsing within the world wide web. Even with all this technology to ease the continual use of the act of writing they still are not as readily available as the keyboard and mouse. Graphics tablets however, are apparently commonly used in conjunction with IMEs (Input Method Editor software) for writing Chinese, Japanese and Korean due to the method in which their characters are written. Software like that should be programmed for Thai and many other Asian scripts as characters in a word are written individually.

As for the quality and legibility of written script. My own handwriting has become abysmal due to lack of use. Papernalia.com has excellent tips on how to improve one’s writing. I do not know if it is just me but from my observation, our parents, more elderly teachers and people their age bracket and beyond often tend to have clearer handwriting. I am out of touch in seeing English written text but as for Thai. Are those born in the 70s till now, trying to look cute and writing commentary on a ‘Hello Kitty’ cartoon? It is disgusting! Could it be technology and the current education systems that are causing millennia of human invention to end in squiggles and blobs? I will show comparison samples the next time I post of this ‘cute handwriting plague’.

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