Micro-Essay: Ever watch young writers type? You see the oddest things. I’ve witnessed my students leaning way back, using pinky fingers to poke at keys. I had one student who put their head on the table next to the computer, viewing their writing from an odd angle, pecking at keys with one hand. They claimed they saw their story different that way. I’ve seen fingers flying and the suspended motion of pause … one … letter … at … a … time. One paragraph can take some an hour to write.
I’ve often wondered of the inequities of not teaching them keyboard skills at a young, impressionable age, like a new language, and whether a systematic approach to keyboard writing changes the way one writes, or does our self-taught keyboarding merely reflect the way we think as we write? If so, watching young writers type is very revealing.
Watch me type, though, and you would wonder how anything so chaotic could be massaged into even remotely understandable prose. And perhaps this is all somewhat moot … what do young writers look like on mobile devices when they compose texts and comments and notes? They are all thumbs, yet understandable to their audience.