Sunday, January 20, 2008

Writing off cursive

Ask a high schooler to instant message four friends while updating her MySpace page and typing a history paper. No problem. Ask her to sign her name? Problem. Cursive handwriting, a style so familiar to previous generations, could be going the way of the slide rule and the typewriter.

“Shorthand has been forgotten, longhand will soon be forgotten,” said Sargur N. Srihari, a UB professor who has studied pattern recognition and handwriting for 30 years.

Students today are spending less time in the classroom learning how to write with pen and paper, and more time learning what to write.

Cursive writing is not required on state assessments or the new essay portion of the SAT. With e-mail and text messages, there’s not a lot of writing outside the classroom, either.

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