Computer: "the enemy of careful writing"

ex
exegete77
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Mon Jul 06, 2009 5:16 pm Post

Thanks, everyone. I find this discussion interesting. It seems that an earlier post about distinguishing two aspects is critical: learning initially to write and later adapting to the preferred method of writing (handwriting vs. keyboard).

I am a throw back - learning to write in the 1950's the old fashioned way. In 8th grade I began to experiment with cursive and found a very fast, and very legible approach that greatly improved my handwriting. Even now, when people see my signature or other writing, they often will comment on how readable and pretty(?) my handwriting is. :oops:

I taught myself to type on a manual, portable typewriter when in college, but at the time being a math major/physics minor, almost everything was handwritten anyway. Computer punch cards hardly count. ;) But all my postgraduate education (nine years) has been in the humanities (history, religion, etc.), and so I had to use that trusty manual typewriter. By the time of my last dissertation I had finally bought a Mac and was proud to see its output (since it included Greek and Hebrew). But I still wrote the first and second drafts by hand.

Writing for me is better if I start with a pen and paper, but now traveling 50% of the time has forced me to use the computer for everything. Editing was always better with hard copy, but now I am finding I can handle it better on the computer.



... just some ramblings from an old codger
(who wishes he were 25 and ready to tackle the world with the new technologies! :mrgreen: )

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Wock
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Wed Jul 08, 2009 6:34 pm Post

I can't read my own writing.

To me the "death" of careful writing was not the computer.


It was the "spell checker".

To, Two, Too
There Their They're
were, where, we're
he, she
it, its, it's

The list can go on and on.
The reality is a spell checker is only good for words not in its dictionary. Most spell checkers cannot determine the "correct" word in context.
Yet people pound away and as long as the spell checker says its ok then they let it go (still full of word misusage.

If you truly want to manually spell check something you have to read it in reverse order. If you just read over it you are bound to fall prey to the biggest problem we have with spelling. The brain's awesome ability to be able to read anything as long as the first letter and last letter are correct.

Here is an example that many of you will easily understand but a spell checker will not.

i cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht
I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch
at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod
are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rgh it
pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm.
Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the
wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!
The wheel is turning but the hamster is still dead.

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nom
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Fri Jul 10, 2009 8:14 am Post

Wock:
I agree about the spell-checker, but at least it catches my dyslexic fingers (e.g. "teh" instead of "the"). But I never write teh, only type it, so the spell checker still doesn't win. I also like the idea of reading in reverse order to check for errors - nice one (although surprisingly hard to do).

Regarding the jumbled letters quote, it's a bit of an urban legend based on a fact. For a detailed description, see this discussion by Matt Davis at Cambridge University. He attributes the original research to a 1976 PhD thesis by Graham Rawlinson and links to a summary he received from Graham about it. He also debunks the claim that the order of the middle letters doesn't matter and explains how word length, similarity to other letters and sound (amongst other factors) all play a part.

Apologies for taking away the fun, but it does relate to my training and I know one of my lecturers took great joy in posting a revised version of the same text that was almost impossible to read. But do you think I can find it now? :roll:
Complete and utter NOMsense.
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Fri Jul 31, 2009 4:32 am Post

Jaysen, you're absolutely right! We could do, what do they call it...a class action type of thing. I'm sure there's not one person here that didn't get addicted to Scrivener during their trial time. It was a set up, all right! And that's not fair! And there was no warning on the packaging of how addicting it is, or how good it is, or how hard it is to quit. And there's no recovery center to go to! Help! No, don't help! :(
How do I love Scrivener? Let me count the ways......

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Apollo16
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Tue Jan 24, 2012 6:13 pm Post

Why am I dredging up this one?

An article and a conference on how a lack of handwriting does reduce reading comprehension scores even with keyboarding.

General article: http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/ ... lp-sb-ascd

Conference: http://act.zaner-bloser.com/v2/about.php

Apollo16

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Jaysen
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Tue Jan 24, 2012 6:20 pm Post

And I was the one every one called an idiot for not letting the kids use the computer for homework until they were in high school!

At least they were wrong calling me an idiot for that. The other reasons … I can hope can't I?
Jaysen

I have a wife and 2 kids that I can only attribute to a wiggle, a giggle, and the realization that she was out of my league so I might as well be happy with her as a friend. 26 years marriage later, I can't imagine life without her. -Me 10/7/09

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AmberV
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Tue Jan 24, 2012 9:05 pm Post

Hmm, so what happened to those kids, just hypothetically speaking here, that taught themselves to mirror-write and would turn in backwards papers to befuddle their teachers?

Ahem.
.:.
Ioa Petra'ka
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Jaysen
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Wed Jan 25, 2012 2:02 am Post

weren't we exiled to the back row of life? You know, that place where all the cool kids sit?
Jaysen

I have a wife and 2 kids that I can only attribute to a wiggle, a giggle, and the realization that she was out of my league so I might as well be happy with her as a friend. 26 years marriage later, I can't imagine life without her. -Me 10/7/09

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AmberV
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Wed Jan 25, 2012 5:39 am Post

If "back row" is a euphemism for the detention room, then yes, I hear ya.
.:.
Ioa Petra'ka
“Whole sight, or all the rest is desolation.” —John Fowles

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Jaysen
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Wed Jan 25, 2012 1:18 pm Post

Back row is not a euphemism. At the end of class everyone in the back row pretty much got whacked. Let's see, there was me, the school pot head, the "easy girl", the emotionally troubled, and Jim. I think he was more like me. Maybe it was actually you? You weren't Jim before you were Ioa were you?
Jaysen

I have a wife and 2 kids that I can only attribute to a wiggle, a giggle, and the realization that she was out of my league so I might as well be happy with her as a friend. 26 years marriage later, I can't imagine life without her. -Me 10/7/09

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Wed Jan 25, 2012 2:33 pm Post

AmberV wrote:Hmm, so what happened to those kids, just hypothetically speaking here, that taught themselves to mirror-write and would turn in backwards papers to befuddle their teachers?

It isn't always necessary to teach yourself to mirror-write. I did it automatically the first time I tried to write left handed. In an earlier life, I taught high school English. Once in a while, to piss off assistant principals and amuse students, I'd put a lesson or an assignment on the board left-handed, that is, mirror writing. About half the class (first time) had no idea what was going on, another forty percent slowly figured it out, a few more got it quickly, and there were always one or two who read it faster than I could write it.

Jaysen wrote:Back row is not a euphemism. At the end of class everyone in the back row pretty much got whacked.

Not necessarily a put-down either. Bright/creative kids got put there so they could work independently without being bored by -- and therefore disruptive of -- the dull basic stuff that other kids had to have poured carefully into their heads.

ps
You can't conquer stupid — or cure it — with more stupid.

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Jaysen
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Wed Jan 25, 2012 2:58 pm Post

PJS wrote:
Jaysen wrote:Back row is not a euphemism. At the end of class everyone in the back row pretty much got whacked.

Not necessarily a put-down either. Bright/creative kids got put there so they could work independently without being bored by -- and therefore disruptive of -- the dull basic stuff that other kids had to have poured carefully into their heads.

ps

Then why did they keep whacking me? Literally?

Today I would be in the extreme ADHD drug induced comma crowd. It is what makes me me, but it is also what made me unsuitable for standard educational methods. I got lucky with a few good teachers very early. Otherwise I would be a statistic.
Jaysen

I have a wife and 2 kids that I can only attribute to a wiggle, a giggle, and the realization that she was out of my league so I might as well be happy with her as a friend. 26 years marriage later, I can't imagine life without her. -Me 10/7/09

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StaceyUK
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Wed Jan 25, 2012 3:19 pm Post

Wock wrote:I think dependence on the "Spell Checker" killed careful writing.

:-)


Wock's got a point.

Did I really just type that? :D
Blessings, Stacey

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Jaysen
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Wed Jan 25, 2012 3:20 pm Post

StaceyUK wrote:
Wock wrote:I think dependence on the "Spell Checker" killed careful writing.

:-)


Wock's got a point.

Did I really just type that? :D

Please go wash your brain out with bleach. If no bleach is available, a quart of Jamison's will do.
Jaysen

I have a wife and 2 kids that I can only attribute to a wiggle, a giggle, and the realization that she was out of my league so I might as well be happy with her as a friend. 26 years marriage later, I can't imagine life without her. -Me 10/7/09

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AmberV
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Wed Jan 25, 2012 10:47 pm Post

About half the class (first time) had no idea what was going on, another forty percent slowly figured it out, a few more got it quickly, and there were always one or two who read it faster than I could write it.


That matches my experience as well. Most people cannot translate what they are seeing back into language, at least not without trudging slowly through it, mentally flipping each letter. Only a small percentage are good enough at it to simply read it backwards without the mental conversion. It would interesting to see if these latter people picked up reading foreign languages with more ease. It might not be related at all though. Could just be some spatial acuity.

That is interesting that your left hand picked it up naturally. For me it was not a difficult matter to right backwards with my right hand, it was more a matter of training it to mechanically keep up. With enough practice I could write as quickly one way or the other, but it probably took a month or two to get to that rate. For a bit, I was actually more efficient writing backwards than forwards. I have a box of journals that are all mirrored, and during that period of time I was slower with my normal script.

Never could teach myself to write well with my left hand though.

Not necessarily a put-down either. Bright/creative kids got put there so they could work independently without being bored by -- and therefore disruptive of -- the dull basic stuff that other kids had to have poured carefully into their heads.


We generally got to choose our seats unless a specific disruption based override was made. :) I would always choose the back so that I could read, or work on my industrial strength brass-tubing, spoon and ruler based catapult, which became the horror of students far and wide once complete.
.:.
Ioa Petra'ka
“Whole sight, or all the rest is desolation.” —John Fowles