As our reliance on technology grows, many may feel that doing things by hand is old fashioned and unnecessary. The drive to incorporate technology into education often causes said technology to replace more traditional assignments. While doing things by hand may not exactly be advanced, it’s an important part of the learning process.
When you do things by hand, there’s a connection formed within your brain. This connection is what helps you to remember and truly learn. This is why teachers often have you take notes by hand or write summaries of what you’ve read.
The Benefits of Doing Things By Hand
In the case of taking notes, doing so by hand causes you to write down only the most important information. If you take notes on a laptop, a proficient typer can mindlessly record every word the speaker says. When you do this, your brain doesn’t truly process any of the information and you’re not likely to remember much of it. However, when taking notes by hand it isn’t possible to get down every single word. This requires your brain to synthesize the information and only write down the key details because you have to slow down and really think about what you’re writing. Doing so signals to your brain that the information you wrote down is important, and makes it much more likely that you’ll remember it.
The same is true any time you do something by hand. When you work with your hands, there’s an increase in brain activity that occurs. Whether you’re building something or using math manipulatives, the visual and kinesthetic ability to see and feel what you’re working with positively impacts your learning experience. Sure you can use an app or make a computer model, and there’s nothing inherently wrong with those things, but they aren’t an equal replacement for the connection formed by doing things with your own hands.
The mind-hand connection is a big part of why teachers assign physical projects, ask students to take notes, and require you to write summaries of what you’ve read. These assignments can seem rote and mindless, but the exact opposite is true. The trend toward utilizing technology is certainly useful, but it will never replace the beneficial act of doing things by hand.
At St. Barnabas Episcopal School, we strive to provide students with a well-rounded education that’s based on well-researched strategies, not fads. With an emphasis on project based learning and movement, our students have the opportunity to experience true learning. Contact us to learn more or to schedule a tour.