New research at Charles Sturt University will examine the importance of teaching handwriting and computer keyboard skills to Australian primary school children.
The study, Handwriting, keyboarding or both? That is the question, is being conducted by Dr Noella Mackenzie, a senior lecturer in literacy studies in the CSU School of Education in Albury-Wodonga. Dr Mackenzie is also a member of the University's Research Institute for Professional Practice, Learning and Education.
The CSU academic wants to find evidence about the way children learn handwriting and computer keyboard skills, as well as discover more about the way teachers teach both these skills to their primary school students.
"I have a lot of anecdotal evidence about handwriting and keyboarding teaching practices through my professional development work with educators," Dr Mackenzie said. "However, what I want to collect is some real data from Australian teachers and parents."
Dr Mackenzie is calling for parents of school-age children being educated at home or in a classroom to participate in the study, as well as current or retired primary school teachers.
Dr Mackenzie said research from the UK suggests that when handwriting is automatic and efficient it frees up the short-term memory to focus on the message that is under construction.
"There is recent research to indicate that even adults have better recall of words written by hand than words written on a tablet or keyboard," she said. "There are certain cognitive benefits to handwriting which may not be fully retained in keyboard writing.”
The results of the survey, which can be found at research.net/r/Handwriting_CSU, will be used by Dr Mackenzie to inform Australian parents, schools and policymakers. It will be reported on Dr Mackenzie's website by the end of 2016.