A new study on school children suggests that it may not be wrong to say that the pen is mightier than the keyboard.
Virginia Berninger, a University of Washington professor of Educational Psychology, looked at the ability of second, fourth, and sixth grade children to write the alphabet, sentences, and essays using a pen and a keyboard.
"Children consistently did better writing with a pen when they wrote essays. They wrote more and they wrote faster," said Berninger.
The researcher further said that only for writing the alphabet was the keyboard better than the pen.
Results were mixed for sentences.
However, when using a pen, the children in the three grade levels produced longer essays and composed them at a faster pace.
The study also showed that fourth and sixth graders wrote more complete sentences when they used a pen, and that this ability was not affected by the children's spelling skills.
The research also showed that many children don't have a reliable idea of what a sentence is until the third or fourth grade.
"Children first have to understand what a sentence or a complete thought is before they can write one. Talking is very different from writing. We don't talk in complete sentence. In conversation we produce units smaller and larger than sentences," Berninger said.
She, however, added: "We need to learn more about the process of writing with a computer, and even though schools have computers they haven't integrated them in teaching at the early grades. We need to help children become bilingual writers so they can write by both the pen and the computer. So don't throw away your pen or your keyboard. We need them both."
She further said: "We need more research to figure out how forming letters by a pen and selecting them by pressing a key may engage our thinking brains differently."