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THE PENCIL AND THE KEYBOARD: HOW THE WAY YOU WRITE CHANGES THE WAY YOU THINK [INBOUND 2014]

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I’m Clive Thompson 
I report on how people think and communicate using today’s digital tools.

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“Cursive is dying!” 
Is handwriting somehow more natural, more suited to the brain?

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My pencil fetish 
I started getting obsessed when they re-issued the “Blackwing”, a 20th-century classic.

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THE PENCIL AND THE KEYBOARD: HOW THE WAY YOU WRITE CHANGES THE WAY YOU THINK [INBOUND 2014]

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My talk is called 'The Pencil and the Keyboard: How The Way You Write Changes the Way You Think'. In it, I'll talk about the science of writing: Why handwriting is better for taking notes, remembering and big-picture thinking -- but why typing on a computer is better for composing your ideas and communicating with others. It'll all be grounded in the story of how I became a full-blown pencil fanatic -- a person who buys rare pencils and always has a sharpener in my pocket.

My talk is called 'The Pencil and the Keyboard: How The Way You Write Changes the Way You Think'. In it, I'll talk about the science of writing: Why handwriting is better for taking notes, remembering and big-picture thinking -- but why typing on a computer is better for composing your ideas and communicating with others. It'll all be grounded in the story of how I became a full-blown pencil fanatic -- a person who buys rare pencils and always has a sharpener in my pocket.

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THE PENCIL AND THE KEYBOARD: HOW THE WAY YOU WRITE CHANGES THE WAY YOU THINK [INBOUND 2014]

  1. 1. I’m Clive Thompson I report on how people think and communicate using today’s digital tools.
  2. 2. “Cursive is dying!” Is handwriting somehow more natural, more suited to the brain?
  3. 3. My pencil fetish I started getting obsessed when they re-issued the “Blackwing”, a 20th-century classic.
  4. 4. My sharpener fetish I actually sit around thinking about them, too.
  5. 5. My typing fetish I type 94 WPM, and still miss my old IBM “clicky” keyboard.
  6. 6. Typing vs. Writing Which one is better? It depends on what type of thinking you want to do ...
  7. 7. Taking notes Listening to a lecture? An experiment pits handwriting notes vs. typing notes ...
  8. 8. Handwriting wins ... when we take notes by hand, we recall more and synthesize more than when typing.
  9. 9. Big picture thinking Drawing it out can help you look at problem from 50,000 feet in the air.
  10. 10. Doodling = good Doodling seems to help us focus, retain more, and make creative, lateral leaps.
  11. 11. But for creating? The advantage shifts --and typing is better. Specifically, fasttyping!
  12. 12. Transcription fluency When your fingers can’t move as fast as your thoughts, your ideas suffer.
  13. 13. Teach typing ... ... and you raise students’ test scores by 40%. We write longer, more complex ideas.
  14. 14. 24 words per minute The minimum speed, where your fingers no longer fight your brain. Even faster is better!
  15. 15. Cognitive diversity Match the tools you use for writing to the way you want to think.
  16. 16. Thank you! www.smarterthanyouthink.net clive@clivethompson.net

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