Word processed vs Handwritten.

Technology has definitely changed the way I write, in both quality and quantity. For me writing is more of a chore than an enjoyable activity. To be honest, I hate writing; essays, and assignments, even long e-mails sometimes bother me. When I sit down with my laptop to write an essay I look at the word processing screen and all I see is how much I haven't written and how much I have left to write. The task in front of me becomes more daunting and frustrating. I feel like when I write on the computer my words are chosen to simply fill a page.  Handwriting provides an escape from the looming word counts and page numbers. We discussed in class how writing by hand forces you to think out your sentences and chose your words more carefully. I agree that while typing we simply type whatever comes to mind and don't think through our ideas completely. This creates less effective points and poorer results.

A main problem I notice when I write essays on my laptop, is all of the distractions that come along with using the computer. I have music and internet at my fingertips and this can dramatically change the quality of writing. With the ability to distract yourself with entertainment it is far too easy to ignore your assignment and encourage writers block. The screen also is tiring to look at and gives me a headache after a while.

There are benefits of writing on the computer with word processing software. The writing process is much faster than hand writing. Making corrections and editing your essay is much easier on the computer. While writing Microsoft Word automatically corrects minor spelling errors and capitalizes words for you. This helps me immensely. When I type I hardly ever stop to capitalize and without spell check I would leave many words misspelled and have many more fragmented sentences.  By typing on a computer you can get all of your ideas onto your page without having to be distracted by grammar and punctuation because the word processor will do the work for you and fix your mistakes. I also like that you can highlight and move sentences and paragraphs in a way that you cannot do on paper.

The downside to becoming so used to the computer working for you is when the computer misses your mistakes. The word processing software is not perfect and often misses mistakes that we over look and assume have been corrected. Personally, I struggle with this and tend not to proof read as carefully as I should. Another problem is when you are writing on paper and use improper grammar and misspell words there is nothing there to remind you of your mistakes but yourself. Whenever I write by hand I have to think a lot harder about how to spell certain words. I notice that my friends also do the same thing and we have to ask each other how words are spelt or if sentences make sense. We have become sort of dependent on word processing.

Because of technology my writing has gotten more informal and it's easier to write in a personal or informal tone. Because I use technology so much to communicate to friends and family it is sometimes difficult to transition to scholarly and formal writing styles.  This class has helped me practice writing in different tones. I have really learned to write to a specific audience instead of just writing to anyone. We have practiced scholarly writing and writing longer more serious papers than those I had written in high school.

Typer or Writer

My use of technology for writing and school purposes has greatly changed during my first year of college. It seems as though I cannot even survive or complete a class without looking at a computer at least once a week. Even during my senior year of high school, just half a year ago, it was possible to complete my necessary writing class without having to hit a key on a computer until I was writing my near-final draft of my assigned paper. Now, programs like the Moodle, E-mail, and Microsoft Word are consistently being used solely in order to come up with a draft of an assigned paper.

All of these technological programs and many more can help a writer or a student succeed in a class, or make succeeding more complicated, difficult, or confusing for someone.

One big idea I have noticed in the college courses I am taking now is that there are appropriate and inappropriate uses of technology in a class.

One example of a class that shows these positives and negatives is my Psychology 1001 course. I believe that this class uses technology more inappropriately than any other of my classes. When signing up for this course I thought I was signing up for a classroom-based class, but was soon disappointed. This course is much more then classroom-based.

Without computer access, someone could not complete this course. Now that I have almost completed this course, I believe that to succeed and benefit from this course someone must view the WebVista page anywhere from three to six times weekly. On this web page are weekly chapter homework-quizzes, weekly discussion readings and homework assignments, study guides, extra credit opportunities, and even exam date sign-ups. All of these tasks take up more time than they should, especially when the homework assignments are available to take an unlimited amount of times.

Another thing, to take a midterm exam (including the final) in Psychology 1001, students must go to the Hubert Humphrey Building to take the exams on the WebVista program in a computer lab!

This is not only irritating, but also painful. To sit and stare at 60 plus multiple choice questions on a computer screen can make someone's eyes go blurry and numb feeling almost instantly.

One of the few ways Psychology 1001 uses technology efficiently is allowing the lectures of each day to be online the next day. If I miss a lecture, it is relieving knowing that I can catch up with what I missed. The few benefits of what is available online for this course do not overcome the many overwhelming other availabilities.

In another class of mine, Freshman Writing 1301, technology is used occasionally, but not nearly as often as in Psychology 1001. In writing class, the Moodle was used as a helpful program rather than WebVista. On the Moodle are daily or weekly updates which are well organized and easy to follow. One of the aspects I like the most about the Moodle over WebVista is that someone does not submit homework or quiz answers online, instead the assignments are just posted online to turn in at a later point most likely in-person.

In my writing class, the Moodle was a program used to keep students in the class on track with assignments and what was going on in the class. The Moodle is much more laidback and easy going over WebVista. The only downfall is that it is easy to forget to check the updated page when something is new or added onto an assignment.

In general, my writing has changed greatly since my switch to college. In my senior year of high school I spent a lot of time handwriting in class and composing my essays with pencil and paper. At the time it was easy and I did not think twice about doing that. Sadly enough, after handwriting just the first page of this essay my hand was sore and I had to stop myself from getting on my laptop to type my essay. Not only does typing on a computer seem to save time, but it seems like the normal thing to do now that I am in college. I feel that I have a complete different and better way of writing when using pencil and paper rather than the keys on my laptop. More of my thoughts seem to reach the paper compared to the computer. Technology and the use of the Moodle in my writing class has not made my writing better or worse, instead it has given me the option to either handwrite or type my essays. I just chose to write in the wrong way for most of my essays, which was typing instead of handwriting.

A certain statement by Steven Johnson struck my interest. In the article "How the Computer Changed My Writing" Johnson states, "I'm a typer, not a writer." I find this quote very true and intriguing. I feel the same way ever since I have started college.

A New Age of Technology Gives Writing a Whole New Meaning

Until about 40 or 50 years the definition of a writer was someone who had professionally published, or was working on publishing their writing. The steps they had to take were to write a first draft of their piece, and bring it to multiple publishing companies to try and get them to publish it. Now with the new advances in technology a writer has basically become anyone who has a computer. Writing has now become as easy as typing on a keyboard and pressing the post button. This easy technology has made it simple for people to post any of their ideas on any number of issues.

An article that covers important aspects of this topic was the article "The Writer a la Modem" by Julian Dibbell he discusses his take on the world of cyberspace, and what it means to be a writer now. Here he comments on both these issues: "I have seen the writing on the bulletin board, and it promises an irreversible diffusion of authorship throughout the social body, a blurring past all recognition of the line between reader and writer." With the advancements of technology, there have been numerous ways for people to share their ideas on any topic without having to go through the process of getting their work published. I think the most important part of this quote is the last section where he states that there will not be a line between readers and writers. This is completely true in today's writing world.

This blog is a perfect example; anyone who reads these posts can go and write their responses to the ideas written. Technology has enhanced the ability for ideas to be expressed more rapidly, and has created better conversation on growing topics. This combination of writing and technology is one often used in college classes. Many classes will use a blog or website much like this one where students have discussions on topics that were brought up in class. With out these technologies there wouldn't be as much elaboration on class topics as there is today. Another extremely important use of writing technology on college campuses is the use of university email. Without this tool today there would be less communication between students and professors, and no possible way to have online classes.

Along with the benefits of these writing technologies come disadvantages as well. The first of these problems that I have noticed in my own writing is that as a student writing I take advantage of using my computers tools to help my writing. I have realized that when hand writing simple assignments, or essay questions on exams it is much easier to organize my ideas and write a better paragraph than I could on my computer. The mind set that many student writers are developing is the thought that sitting down and hand writing a rough draft will take too much time, where instead they could type it on their computer and "get it over with" faster. Although I must agree that I thought the same thing with many writing assignments before this reflections and reading the articles on this topic, it makes a lot more sense to spend time on your first draft. Doing this will end up making your final paper better, and possibly save you time when going through and editing later. Typing on a computer also looses the personality behind handwriting. Receiving an email from your professor can have the same typeface as a letter from your boyfriend or girlfriend. With the use of technology much of the special personal attachments with letters and notes is lost.

Through this reflection on how technology has affected the writing world, and how it has affected my writing personally I have uncovered many things. What it means to be a writer is far from what the definition of a writer used to be in past decades. The recent technologies have led to great advances in college classes, and in the work that students can do outside of class. Also with advantages there are aspects about writing on a computer that are not the same as hand writing. Technology has transformed the present and the future; there is no way of going backwards to times where writing was a prestigious profession. With this I urge everyone to take a look at how technology affects their life, and whether or not it is making tasks easier, or is it just a tool that is making us lazier. 

Technology and the Writing Process

Technology has greatly benefited the writing process for me personally. I write exclusively on my computer now, and it has been a very useful tool for me. I like writing with a word processor because it helps me get all of my ideas out before I have the chance to forget them. Most of the time when I begin writing a paper, I have so many ideas that I often have difficulty getting all of my ideas down before I forget them. Because I am able to work so much faster with a computer, precious ideas are no longer lost by my old writing method of pencil and paper. I like writing on my computer better then writing it out on paper first because it's less work. All writing assignments nowadays are required to be typed. Writing on a computer eliminates having to type out a piece of writing after you've already written it on paper once. I don't think that using type as a medium for writing takes away from the message that the writing makes. These are reasons why the computer has made the writing process easier for me. Writing in different mediums drastically changes how an author's message is interpreted. It is critical for an author of any form of written communication to consider their medium for that reason.

Writing for a public forum such as this blog is different from writing for one person for many reasons. When a person writes for a public forum, they must make sure that they write in expressive language that everybody can understand. Also, the style of public forum writing is also much different. For public writing, the tone of the writer can be much more relaxed. High, formal language is no longer required. Instead writers are allowed to speak what comes to their mind without much consideration. Since this is not a scholarly setting, an advanced vocabulary is not necessary. With formal writing for a class, a person needs to worry about following certain criteria and about impressing their instructor. A person is free to be themselves when they are writing for a blog. When writing for a blog, people often misrepresent themselves because they know that everybody with access to the Internet will be able to see what they post. People will try to make they look more attractive or more appealing to others. When a person is writing for a specific person or persons, they more often than not know who they are writing for, so they have no way to misrepresent themselves without getting away with it. Misrepresentation is one of the few problems with digital communication. Other than that digital communication is an incredibly effective, convenient way for our society to communicate.

            I enjoy the ways that technology allows us to communicate with each other without being in the same room with the person/people that I'm communicating with. Many people abbreviate words or phrases when they communicate with other people digitally. For many blogs and online forums, it is no different. This blog post does not have any of those sorts of those abbreviations in it. There are people out there who would argue for why formal written text is better for peoples' brains than the digital, instant communication that is frequently used today. In the article, "The Endless First Chapter," by Michelle Slatalla, Dr. Maryanne Wolf says that, "Deep reading -- the kind that you engage in when you get lost in the syntax and imagery and the long, convoluted sentences of a really meaty book -- is a special sort of exercise that creates a new part of the brain that did not exist at birth" I don't disagree with this statement at all. But I would question how much this fact affects most Americans. I tend to think that those people who are smart to begin with will naturally seek out more knowledge through reading books and novels. Those who are uneducated are most likely to avoid academic writings, as well as other books or novels that could bolster one's knowledge in specific subject areas. The point that I'm making is that while advanced books are crucial for our development as a human race, they are obsolete to most people in a society. Using abbreviated words and phrases will work for most people in a society. This use of more simple language does not make us as a society less intelligent. If anything, it makes us more intelligent, because we have come up with an effective way of communicating that saves us time and is more easily composed. Either way you look at it, written expression and communication will always have a place in our society.

Handwriting is Obsolete

            Before the age of the computer or word processor, there was a time where just about everything was handwritten. Everyone had different handwriting, and there was something personal about reading a handwritten note from someone special. Things are very different nowadays. Without the need to handwrite much of anything, there is less emphasis put on much of what was important in the past when it came to writing. For example, decades ago handwriting was looked at as an art. I know that people from my grandparent's generation were taught calligraphy. This beautiful and intricate way of writing showed the importance handwriting had. If the first thing someone saw of you was your handwriting, then you would obviously want to come across in an exceptional manner to make a good first impression. Therefore, the better your handwriting, the greater you were perceived.

        Although handwriting overall has become less elaborate over the years, I feel that there is still some importance placed on it. I frequently compliment one of my friends on her handwriting. Mainly because I don't have the patience she has to take the time and make every single one of her letters exceptionally elegant. I simply have no patience for this. I feel the need to get my thoughts on paper as quickly as possible or I know I will forget my train of thought. Despite my handwriting being usually only legible to me, there is not a great need for me to improve it. If I know someone will need to understand what I am trying to write, I simply write slower

When I am forced to hand write for long periods of time, such as when I'm taking notes in a lecture, I tend to long for the simplicity of my laptop. Because after writing so long and so fast my hand starts to cramp like a Charley horse on steroids. Much like Steven Johnson feels when he said, "Even jotting down a note with pen and paper feels strained" ("How the Computer Changed My Writing" 695). Not only does my laptop make it extremely easy to get my thoughts out, it also makes it easier to write overall. With a word processing program I am able to just write/type. I don't need to worry about spelling or grammar; I can just get my thoughts out. After I'm satisfied, then I can go back and make improvements, copy or paste paragraphs or phrases, and make any other change I need to. All without having to rewrite or cross anything out, like I would if I was handwriting something.

            When I was younger, handwriting along with spelling, diction, and grammar had great importance placed upon them. This is because in my younger years, everything was handwritten. I learned to form letters on large lined paper and spell in my English classes. But what I have come to realize is that my teachers were much more lax with my lessons and me. If they were not doing it purposely, they were subconsciously easier on myself and other students. This was by no means there faults, but symptomatic of the time. If I had been learning the same basics at the time my grandparents were, I would have learned much more diligently, but as Bob Dylan says in his popular song, "The Times They are A-Changin'."

            Because in this day and age, technology has made many elements of writing easily accessible, there is less of a need to learn the basics of writing. No longer do I have to double-check my spelling (Spell Check takes care of that). Nor do I have to have a stellar vocabulary. I can easily type a word into Thesaurus.com and find the simile that fits best in my writing. And as far as grammar is concerned, yes the technology is not foolproof, but it comes pretty darn close. Overall, I believe my writing is much better when it's typed out instead of handwritten. Although it may not be as personal as it would be if it was handwritten, it is much more clear and precise. 

Bloggers, Today's Authors

Throughout history writing has undergone changes and developments. Language and communications is ever changing and with it, the way of translating language, into written form has changed as well. Can you think of anyone who writes a letter in the same style people wrote in during the Shakespearean Era? There would be none, unless one is creatively writing in historical rhetoric. This is because people don't speak in the same way as they did in the past. People used to have long rhythmic sentences filled with illusions and metaphors. The script they wrote in matched their fluidity of language, using an ink quill to paint cursive letters that linked together on parchment. Today language has more slang and the choice of people's words are less about stringing together a group of phrases most eloquently, but figuring out how to group the least amount of words together while still evoking the same ideas. This in effect has changed writing.

People tend to write more casually, and freely, as if in a conversation. Short opinion sections are printed in news papers, and blogs are posted online. People can sit at their computer and type out their ideas and instantly post them on the Web for the world to read. The process is quick, easy, and precise. Not like in the past, when works had to be hand written out and revised many times on new pieces of paper until finally sent to a publisher where it would be translated into print. Next, millions of copies would be made and sent out to stores around the world. It was a long and tedious process, and some works could only be shared with few-- the privileged?  There is no question who is privileged when people read newspaper articles or blog posts today because they are accessible to everyone. Isn't one being a true writer, a true translator of language, if their works can be translated to everyone?

Sven Birkerts, an American essayist and literary critic of Latvian ancestry and author of "Objections Noted: Word Processing," begs to differ on this argument. He insists that the change into an era where people use Word Processors to compose their writing, which then can be posted online has effected writing negatively. Birkerts claims that because people can write so easily and make instant corrections it takes away from the quality of writing, people no longer have a need for drafts.

 "Writing is very much a matter of drafts, distinct written drafts. I believe that prose is produced as much by the body, the rhythmic sense, as it is by intellect and verbal imagination. . . The instant correctability afforded by the Word Processor allows for cosmetic alterations that are often quite adequate. But merely adequate. My experience has shown me that my best writing comes when I am forced to type over something that I've already deemed to finish."

Birkerts fears that the use of Word Processors have created works that are careless and unorganized because they can be written up so quickly on a computer. However, he doesn't take into account the change of writing style in this era, which coincides with the invention of Word Processors. The casual, dialog-style language being translated through writing can be easily displayed by writing effortlessly on a computer. It's a style that gets your opinions down and shown before you at the rate you are thinking them. This does not take away from the beauty of writing but in fact allows anyone to write about what's on their mind and publish it without going through the tedious process of printing or having their work being heavily scrutinized. People can share with one another their ideas, despite a few possible mistakes. Writers can be more then the professional authors of books.

However, Birkerts claims that, "Even simple mistakes can be read as signs, parapraxias signaling the incompleteness of an expression." But who is to say that these free writings consist of parapraxias? Blog posts are often people's jotted down thoughts, but also many sophisticated works are also posted on blogs. Either way, neither can account for including a slip of the tongue, misplacement of objects, or other errors in thought to reveal unconscious wishes or attitudes. (This is the definition of a parapraxis according to dictionary.com). People do not need to be professional authors to be able to fully express their thoughts and ideas. In fact, Word Possessors have helped the common person share the thoughts and ideas they may have been having for a long while, but couldn't express because of the complexity of print publishing. "Now everyone becomes a writer," states Birkerts in his essay.  

Julian Dibbel, an author and technology journalist with a particular interest in social systems within online communitie, wrote an article called "The Writer a la Modem, Or The Death of the Author on the Instalment plan. In this article Dibble takes on converse additude toward the Word Processor then Birkerts. He talks about how he began his writing career with a typewriter and then eventually bought a computer with internet and a Word Processor. He professes that he is:

 "Happy to have earned the title of a writer; it will continue to provide my living and feed my sense of identity. But I don't think I will ever lose the fear that has partially motivated every public word I've written--the terror of exclusion, of the silence to which the traditional writers's audience is by definition consigned. And it gives me no small satisfaction to think that the system of centralized limited-access publishing that instilled that fear in me will be dwarfed into irrelevance by a wide-open system that, via Usenet alone, already publishes the equivalent of 1000 books a day."

The 1000 books published daily by the internet does not include the small articles or blog postings being put up daily as well.  Writers, widely know and those publishing their first works can share their writing with others without the fear of exclusion or regection. They have the opportunity to find an audience with the limitless access to publishing on the Web. Like Dibbel had said, it is a way to feed one's sense of identity, and maybe also help others express their identity through anothers writing.

Today we are living among a new era of language and communication. People have changed language from in the past long, rhythmatic Shakespearean style of speaking to a simpiler and casual, more free style of speaking, which is also seen through their writing. Along with the new area of langauge comes a new era of writing, people can express this new way of casual, dialogistic writing through short opinion columns or blogs on the Internet. The Internet creates a place where people can publish these types of works without going through the tedious process of print publishing. The computer's Word Processor allows people to directly type of their thoughts and publish them on the Internet instantly. By having this accessability, published writing has become less exclusive and anyone can publish work.

People & Technology: The Love Affair

I can't remember life without a computer. Technology has improved so much through my lifetime and it has formed a new way of writing for my generation. My writing has improved because of the computer and the word processor. There are some negatives to writing on a computer, but they do not out way the positives. Most aspects of my life are strongly influenced by technology. Whether it's for academic purposes or any other purpose, technology is affecting people's lives.

As far back as my thoughts go, there have always been computers around me. I learned how to use a computer in preschool. We had computer class in elementary school, where we would play "Number Munchers" and "The Oregon Trail". At home there has always been a computer as well. When I was younger, there was no need to draft my assignments on the computer. The assignments I had were always short enough to write out and it was not required to have the assignment typed. I never really thought about having to write using a computer.

When I got into high school my thoughts about writing changed. The length of papers grew longer and longer. More teachers started requiring papers to be typed. Keyboarding class in junior high was preparation for the hundreds of papers that we would type and we didn't even understand that it would be a necessity. Writing out a four page paper and then typing it just seemed silly when I could type it on the computer and change it later if I needed to. Turning in more than one draft became much easier by using the computer.

There are so many benefits of writing using the computer. If you have to write more than one draft, you can just change one document over and over again on the computer instead of rewriting a paper over and over again. Also, handwriting can be bigger than typed text, therefore a two page written paper may only be one typed page. Many mistakes that you make will be caught by spell check so proof reading is faster. While writing a research paper, quotes can be easily copied and pasted. Many tools are right at the fingertips of the writer. A thesaurus can be utilized to make the writhing more vivid. In the article "How the Computer Changed My Writing" by Steven Johnson, he also discusses these benefits. There are endless possibilities for sentences while writing on a computer.

With every good thing there are always catches. With the use of spell check many people feel like they don't need to proof read. Not all mistakes are caught by spell check. Many mistakes can blend in with the text since it is not your own handwriting. Eyestrain can become a problem if someone is typing a long paper in one sitting. Staring nonstop at a computer screen can make you tired and hurt your eyes. Even with these negatives, writing on the computer still works best for me.

In today's society, technology is a big part of everyone's life outside of school. Gadgets such as cell phones, PDAs, laptops, and mp3 players have become standard items for most people to have. My BlackBerry and iPod go everywhere that I go. Where ever I go I see people using technology for everything. While driving people use GPS to get where they're going and a Bluetooth headset to talk on the phone. At coffee shops and almost everywhere else there are people using laptops. At people's houses there are giant flat screen TVs hooked up to cable or dishes. Technology has become a huge part of everyday life.

There is no escaping technology. It is used by students, teachers, business people, and just about everyone else. It has changed life as we know it. I think it that writing is easier because of technology. There are benefits and negatives. Everyone has to decide for themselves if they want to use technology and what to use it for. I don't think there is any right answer to the question "Does technology help or hinder writing?' because everyone has their own opinion and their own writing methods. Whatever works for one person may not work for another. I like to use the computer to write and I probably always will.

Why computers have changed the writing process for the better

The use of technology has definitely changed the face of writing and its process.  The whole aspect of writing to has evolved into where writing anything out in a pencil or a pen almost feels unnatural.  The only time I used my pencil for a class this year was either during tests or taking notes.  Every single draft or paper I have created on the computer from the beginning.  The last time I actually hand-wrote a paper more than a page that wasn't on a test would have been sometime in middle school.  It so far back I can only vividly remember anything of the sort.  Hand writing papers has almost turned into a foreign language and I do not ever think I will be able to transition back into being able to transition back into being able to write multiple page papers without my "handy dandy" laptop and its convenient word processing.  I'm not sure if everyone else feels the same, but I feel like my best writing is done on my computer due to the fact that it's so fast and can keep up with my thoughts.  It is also easier when it comes to the editing of the paper because it's a lot easier to be able to switch things around and move around even whole sentences on the computer.  When it comes to hand written papers it's just a bunch of scribbles, which can really be hard to tell what they even are.  And another reason hand written papers are useless is because how many teachers are ever going to ask for a hand written paper nowadays?  It won't ever happen so it makes much more sense to start on the computer right away.

Another reason I am very pleased with the invention of word processing is that it gives me the opportunity to have a nice legible writing font.  I for one don't have the greatest handwriting and the computer gives me an opportunity to be on an even playing field with everyone else and can hand in a great looking paper.  Word processing gives messy hand writers the chance to transform their writing into very presentable material where people won't have to deal with their poor handwriting.  It eliminates the chance that anyone can blame their grade on how they write, because their font will be the same as everyone else.  Word processing has evolved writing, as we know it into a more efficient and fancier piece of literature.

I agree one hundred percent with Steven Johnson when he writes that his writing changed as he used the computer in his article, "How the Computer Changed My Writing".  It has changed the way I have become as a writer.  It has made me into more of a writer because I do not like to handwrite very much so the computer has made the whole writing situation easier where I can type everything up and not have to worry about getting a writers cramp and my poor handwriting.  Even though I never really grew up using a computer (our families first computer was purchased in 2000) it has changed the way I've been writing ever since I first started using it.  We had always taken typing classes when we were younger but when middle school rolled around and I got the chance to use word processing, my writing skills sky-rocketed.  Maybe it was just because I never enjoyed handwriting, but the computer really went and made me into a more confident and more skilled writer.  I encourage everyone to consider using word processing, as it will only continue to evolve.  Hopefully it can help improve your writing as much as it did for me!

Technology: Beneficial or Detrimental?

Technology has definitely changed the way people communicate. Thinking back to my elementary school days, I can remember going to our computer lab (which was the only one in the whole school) every week and learning how to type efficiently. Everyone in my class would look forward to that one day a week because computers were just so fascinating to us. After finishing our keyboarding lesson we were able to draw pictures and play games on the computers. This was our favorite part of our time in the computer lab. Although we learned keyboarding skills in elementary school we never handed any of our assignments in typed. Everything was still hand written. It wasn't until junior high that we started doing assignments on the computer. We had a central area in the middle of our classrooms with a bunch of apple computers where we spent much of our time at school. High school was much the same. Not only did we type all of our papers we also did activities on the computers on a daily basis such as simulated biology and physics labs and review games for our English tests. We could even have conversations with our teacher and classmates through the computer in another language for our foreign language classes. Technology has changed the learning process significantly. Now Microsoft word allows us to format our papers neatly and it even shows us our spelling and grammar mistakes. It also takes much less time to write a paper because we started our keyboarding skills at such a young age we are able to type at much faster speeds than we would be able to write. One problem with this is I find myself not taking enough time to write my papers carefully like I used to when I had to hand write them. I usually just want to get it done as fast as I can and because I am able to type so fast I tend to make errors in the structure of my papers.

I feel that technology has many benefits for helping one learn but I also miss the simplicity of hand written papers, letters, ect. A letter from someone used to be very meaningful and it was so nice to see that someone you cared about took the time to write down their thoughts for you. Now email has made these thoughts and messages much less meaningful because we are flooded with email every single day. In the article "Mail" by Anne Fadiman, Fadiman sates, "The thrill of the treasure hunt is followed all too quickly by the glum realization that the box contains only four kinds of mail (1) junk; (2) bills; (3)work; and (4) letters that I will read for enjoyment , place in a folder labeled "To Answer," leave there for a geologic interval, and feel guilty about. " The author of this article explains that she always gets really excited to open her mailbox in the hopes that there is a letter for enjoyment but usually is disappointed by finding bills and junk mail. Mail just isn't what it used to be. Right before I moved away to college I told my close friends to write me letters and send them to me. When I told them this they all looked at me and said "Write? Like a hand written letter?" In today's world it is not normal to write a hand written letter when there are things like email, text messaging, facebook, and skype. My friends were confused as to why I would want such a thing. My best friend Kaitlin moved to Washington D.C. for college and because of all the technological advances such as facebook and skype it's like she never left. In a way this is a good and a bad thing. A good thing because I get to talk to her all the time but a bad thing because it's not as fun to see her when we both go home on breaks because we already know everything that has happened in each other's lives while we have been at college.  I fear generations after mine will not get to experience the joy of receiving a meaningful hand written letter. By then email will be the old way of communicating and they will probably be writing a reflection on how a new technology is taking over and email was much more meaningful and personal. Our world is forever changing and unfortunately there is nothing we can do to stop it.

For the Love of Letters

We were right. We really were. The day in class we talked about writing, the day we said that handwriting had more meaning. The actual substance, the tangible, the real, the concrete handwritten aspect of something changes everything. It changes the meaning; it somehow makes it so much more personal, so much more important and so much more engaging to read.

It is hard to explain, but everyone understands, how the same words, the exact same words can be amplified a hundredfold if written, rather than typed.

To read someone's thoughts in their own handwriting makes it unique and oddly personal. There is no universal font to hide behind, just your pen and your paper to express yourself with.

In a class reading, "HOW THE COMPUTER CHANGED MY WRITING", Steven Johnson wrote "...the machine seemed somehow inauthentic to me." I agree with him. Writing on a machine takes away that personal quality.


It is striking to me that it is somehow completely different, the two mediums. They are so similar in some aspects. They communicate and allow expression. But one allows true expressive powers over the other. The computer/word processor seems to allow the author to wear a mask when speaking. You can hear what he or she says, but CANNOT see what it says, or see how it feels.

Yes they both use words, there is thought, there is a communication, and yet, the words themselves are nowhere near similar.


My best friend in the world, Colin, and I write letters to each other now. We used to talk each day for hours during high school, during class, between classes, and every weekend. That all changed when this year rolled around. We now go to different schools and the amount we get to converse has plummeted. We started to communicate via Facebook and texting. This worked well for awhile, but the meaning and the quality of our talks were changing. It seemed much more generic and much less special. And besides, I don't particularly like technology. It has been very beneficial in many ways, but I still MUCH rather be with someone and talk to their face, see their expressions and feel their presence.

So one day I decided to try something new... well, actually old. I sat down and wrote a letter, a real letter. It contained four pages of thought, of substance, of love and concern. I wrote about all that had taken place, all I had been through, how I was feeling, and how much I missed him. I also asked tons and tons of questions for him to answer, in part because I really wanted to know, but also secretly because I wished he would write me a letter back.

He did. A week or so later I checked the mail and was more than excited to see a letter. It made my whole day just to see Colin's handwriting on that big blue envelope in my little mailbox. It put the biggest smile on my faceJ. I read his five-page letter to myself, twice. I smiled the whole time and literally laughed out loud.

The time, the thought, the love he put into that letter was more than priceless. While an email is nice and Facebook messages, like our earlier exchanges, were pleasant, it is NOWHERE near as special to me.

I treasure Colin's letters, like I treasure our friendship and the little time we spend together. Because he does write to me, I know he cares, really cares.

P.S. For all of you out there who don't think you have time to sit down and write a real letter, you are mistaken. Think quickly of how much time you spend on the phone texting, or writing emails. I guess I can only speak for myself, but I think you'd agree, that receiving one letter, every week, from a friend would trump fifty impersonal texts. Odds are that that letter is going to be a lot more special and personable than a text could ever be...