A Case for Writing with Pen and Paper

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Written by Julie Ann Howlett

There is something beautiful within the premise of pen and paper. We do so much on the computer, but what happens when say students need to complete the written piece of their SAT?

There is something beautiful within the premise of pen and paper. We do so much on the computer, but what happens when say students need to complete the written piece of their SAT?

Yet, I find writing pieces are often being first drafted online, sometimes directly into the very medium (no pun intended) into which they will be published.

To share a few pieces of evidence for this (you can take the scientist out of school, but never the schooling out of the scientist) I cite the fact that while drafting several writing pieces in Chicago parks this summer, I had comments from passersby such as:

“Eh, the old fashioned way, huh?” OR “Pen and paper- WOW! I don’t see that every day!”

Now, maybe I am wrong in my assertion that pen and paper writing is the quintessential Dodo bird of the 21st century, but even if this is the result of a few isolated incidents it still somewhat amuses me.

I don’t draft my blog posts in pen and paper just to be a tech rebel. (In fact, I fight the irony daily that a core component of my education start up Nurturing Neurons is balancing play with technology, and yet as CEO I need to be on tech devices more now than ever.) At any rate, I digress.

What I mean to say is that pen and paper needs to NOT be the Dodo bird of the 21st century.

Here’s what scares me: with a wave of take-home tech devices infiltrating the brains of of kids ages 2—22, I am witnessing students who are using text to talk to write papers, practicing spelling words by copying and pasting, and exclaiming that drafting on pen and paper is “impossible” or “too much work”.

Now, what happens to these students x number of years from now when they need to sit down and complete the writing section of their SAT or write their French essay by hand on their French final (sans Google translate)?

I know that much of what I am speaking of here is not shout-it-from-the rooftops-omega news, and by no means do I intend to advocate eradicating technology from the face of the planet. What I do intend is to make you think mindfully about the beauty of pen and paper once more. After all, if nothing else, how can you expect your son or daughter to write you that check for a new car if their penmanship is illegible? 🙂

Identity Magazine is all about empowering women to get all A’s in the game of life — Accept. Appreciate. Achieve.TM Every contributor and expert answer the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. As a team, we hope to inspire and motivate ourselves and inspire you to get all A’s.

What have you accepted within your life, physically and/or mentally? What are you still working on accepting?

have accepted the fact that there are a number of things I cannot control, but that which I can control- cultivating my attentiveness and energy into tasks that bring me joy- are as rewarding and fulfilling as anyone could hope for.

What have you learn to appreciate about yourself and/or within your life, physically and mentally? What are you still working on to appreciate?

I appreciate the fact that I have the tenacity to pursue what brings me the most joy, regardless of the life change ups it requires.

What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? What makes YOU most proud? What goals and dreams do you still have?

One of the most rewarding achievements I have is the recognition that at 26 I am self-aware of how to cultivate self-improvements, and I am pursuing my own business ventures. In other words, I am at exactly where I need to be on the cusp of when I feel I am most capable of doing so. The goal I still have is a vision of education that reinforces compassion and empowerment above competition and negativity.

We all have imperfections, so we think. The truth–we are all perfectly imperfect. What are your not-so-perfect ways? What imperfections and quirks create who you are–your Identity?

I reely admit I can be impulsive and impatient. A habit I am self-aware of, it has also given me the drive to push forward, make changes, and create a change up when necessary.

“I Love My…” is an outlet for you to express and appreciate all the positive traits that make you…well… YOU! Sharing what you love about yourself will make you smile, feel empowered, and uplift your spirit and soul. (we assure you!)

Identity challenges you to complete the phrase “I Love My…?

I love my…boyfriend, for inspiring and pushing me to be the very best person I can be. Also, myself, not perfectly, but it is always there.


(Photo courtesy of Morguefile.com)

About the author

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Julie Ann Howlett

Julie Ann Howlett is an experienced educator, brain science enthusiast, all-around-science advocate, and nature enthusiast. She has founded Julie Ann Howlett Consulting and Nurturing Neurons, a compassionate education start up offering learning modules for parents, nannies, caretakers, and educators. Follow her on Twitter @nurturingneuron and check out her video blog on YouTube Channel Nurturing Neurons

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