From the early days of human history, it has been a nearly universal experience for young students to learn to write manually; that is, by using tools such a reed and clay tablet, ink and papyrus, pencil and paper. Not any more. Handwriting has lost its place as a foundational skill in the Common Core standards in the United States. But will brain development be short-changed by ignoring manual printing and writing? Research led by Karin James, a psychologist at Indiana University, suggests that it will.
Now one could argue that typing on a keyboard also involves manual action with the fingers. However, this study seems to find greater benefit from printing and writing with a traditional stylus on paper.
Cursive or not, the benefits of writing by hand extend beyond childhood. For adults, typing may be a fast and efficient alternative to longhand, but that very efficiency may diminish our ability to process new information.