I fancy myself a writer. In today’s world I really am just a typer (“typist” sounds too formal and professional) since when I physically use a pen, I can barely understand what my message is.
I am not one of the new generation who believes texting is “talking” and I don’t run to a computer calculator or cellphone to figure out basic math questions — believe it or not.
At a recent event I had my standard reporter’s notepad — the light green paper with blue lines — and I feverishly jotted notes during a press conference. Thankfully I was also recording audio because when
I got back to my office I had no idea what was written on the paper.
Ditto when someone calls and I quickly grab a Post-In Note to jot down a phone number or date and time. When I finally go back to the little yellow square, I actually say aloud, “What did I write?” and try to decode what’s scribbled.
Writing — in the ink/paper kind — is a dying, well, art, though I never thought I would consider printing or handwriting to be an art form.
I’ve also found that my hand cramps up after only a short time of writing something now. Back in junior high, I would fire off pages and pages for a short story without stopping. I’d have that lump on my ring finger from the pressure of the pen on my skin. But the writing was so clean that nobody had to squint to read what I’d composed.
That’s just not the case anymore.
When word got around that schools in Ontario, Quebec and 45 U.S. states have eliminated cursive writing as part of their curriculum, I was saddened because in Grades 1 and 2 I liked perfecting my penmanship — well, pencilmanship — on the thin grey paper with the dashed line between two solid ones. You know the paper I am talking about. Today’s kids probably have no idea.
Instead, young students are app’ing their way through class, quick with their fingers with the touch of a screen or press of a button.
But part of the fun I had as a kid was painting something in school and signing my name to it. You can’t really sign your picture with a tablet. Maybe there’s an app for that, but what do I know?
Then again, in an age when everybody is a writer thanks to blogs and web posting, and everybody is a broadcaster thanks to webcams and YouTube, I shouldn’t be surprised that priorities in school are changing.
Are Grade 3 students already learning video editing and app downloading? (Not for nothing, I’d prefer my nieces and nephews learn how to work a pen/pencil any day – at least at that age.)