Many of my students don’t like to sketch because they feel they aren’t good at it. I tell them, this isn’t an art class, it’s a class in learning to solve problems using a structured process and to communicate the results using a technical vocabulary and tool kit (e.g., computer software like Autodesk Inventor and Microsoft Excel). Sketching, like writing by hand, engages the mind integrate vision with the tactile expression of ideas via words, or in class, via sketches: it’s all about communicating what’s in our head so others can understand.
I found this article by a local business writer about writing by hand in this age of ubiquitous digital technology to reinforce my instructional philosophy. The author cites some research that also supports this belief.
(A)n MRI brain scan showed subjects in the handwriting group had activated their brain’s visual and motor systems, as well as their brain’s emotional centers. Chen not only called writing by hand a creative activity, but a visual-spacial process, which could explain why we remember written appointments better than those typed into a smartphone.
There’s also this from the “Reviving the Lost Art of Manliness”
By scanning the brain, researchers have found that writing by hand improves memory, cognitive activity, and the expression of ideas.