Will writing some day become obsolete? I have read articles arguing for the end to handwriting instruction and argued against this because handwriting helps brain development and well, we still write checks, to-do lists, and other items by hand, so handwriting is still needed--besides it another tool we should not abandon for the sake of technology! OK, so enough of my soap box.

Something else has challenged handwriting...and even typing: Your Brain on Twitter. Yes, this applies to twittering (If you haven't gotten on board yet, do it! I want to connect my students to me...well under a different account from my personal twitter...but that's a future blog.)

This NPR technology report aired on Friday. Adam Wilson created a brain cap out of an actual "swimming cap that has a series of electrodes" on it and it helps a person type with their brain. The intended audience is for people with certain disabilities, but could it be possible that soon all of us will be typing with a mere thought? Think about it: assign an essay and students think about what they want to say, not even having to verbalize it, and TA-DA! there's an essay in my inbox or whatever. I could probably grade it while reading it without having to type, speak, or drag and drop comments in the essay.

This is both scary and exciting.

Scary because eventually, we will be simply brains in a vat experiencing and learning everything from downloading it. Will that be living?? Yes, we'll know a lot, but for what purpose? Or will it provide more time for living? Could I learn a language on an international flight by downloading it in my brain and then interactive in person with the people? Will it mean that I'll have to have a computer chip in my brain, or can I get away from it? Will everyone be tracked by the government or companies? Will I forever be tethered to a computer, or will I be more free?

This is exciting as well because then perhaps people will not hate English so much and it will save us time! It's also exciting because currently this particular "brain cap" will lead to other technology that will enhance our lives, and perhaps I simply love it for the sake of loving technology. I don't know exactly, but I just know that I almost got in a car accident listening to this on NPR because I was so excited about it. I already want one. What I'd like to do is be typing this will also working on the paper I'm supposed to be writing. Perhaps this is the most exciting: technology such as this will improve multi-tasking!

So carry on Mr. Wilson and hopefully I can live to see the day when typing and writing are obsolete...although it's hard to imagine going through life without my favorite leather journal and mechanical pencil at my side at all times.

Comments (2)

On April 26, 2009 at 5:59 AM , Maria H. Andersen said...

Interesting, I've thought about some of the same things. http://teachingcollegemath.com/?p=469

On April 26, 2009 at 3:30 PM , SG said...

The nostalgic part of me regrets if the books and the written word becomes obsolete...there is value in the written word and without it, there would be a loss to our society.