- The Washington Times - Monday, October 5, 2009

CITIZEN JOURNALISM:

When it comes to penmanship, the writing’s on the wall

As things stand now, students taking the writing portion of the National Assessment of Educational Progress test, do so in their own penmanship. But that will soon change as more and more work is being done on computers.

Beginning in 2011, the keyboard will become mightier than pen and pencil.

2011 is the year that 8th and 11th graders will be required to compose their writing on computers. Fourth graders have until 2019.

Call it a sign of the times as more and more technology is integrated into classrooms.

With word processors, e-mails and text messages fast replacing handwriting outside classrooms and lecture halls, some educators are concerned that cursive writing, once a lifelong skill, will be lost to the high-tech culture - and along with it the know-how to decipher historic documents.

One college professor thinks America is losing “a gift.”

“I am not sure students have a sense of any reason why they should vest their time and effort in writing a message out manually when it can be sent electronically in seconds,” assistant professor Cheryl Jeffers of Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia, told the Associated Press.

Primary-grade teachers said they will continue to work with students on penmanship, even though the signature of the overwhelming majority of them will never become as famously flamboyant as John Hancock’s.

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