The creator of iTrace believes that his app brings a new lease of life to the concept of teaching handwriting. But does anyone actually write by hand anymore?
Here's what we do with our hands these days: We poke, we stroke, we wipe, we swipe.
But we don't actually write, do we? Not, you know, by hand and pen.
Who does that? Why bother? Every message you could ever think of sending is typeable, printable and, one imagines, emojible.
Yet one strange man believes that children need to be taught the art of handwriting. Could it be that he believes there might one day again be an Age of Romance?
He's created the iTrace app for iPad and iPhone, perhaps the first step in getting a great job in the future. Yes, just like the one Joaquin Phoenix has in "Her." (Do see it. He writes letters by hand. Sort of.)
iTrace creator Michael Bogorad explained to me: "I am a father of two boys, and the reason I started this project is because I don't like how kids are taught handwriting in kindergartens. The way teachers teach didn't change through the last 30 or 50 years. They basically show what to do and ask to write letters many times."
He claims his app is different from other handwriting apps (yes, there are allegedly many) because it allows children to write the same letter several times in a row, which is important for muscle learning.
He also believes his app is prettier and has far more appropriate features for learning. Some might even imagine that he thinks it's a better teacher than a teacher.
Bogorad believes teachers cannot give kids enough attention. The result? "As soon as the teacher stops looking at what the kid is doing, he starts to do something very wrong." (The child does something very wrong, that is, not the teacher. The teacher waits till after school to do the very wrong stuff.)
But, Michael, does anyone really need to learn handwriting anymore? It's a very strange and uncomfortable pursuit to pick up a pen and attempt to write a whole sentence.
It's even worse for people like me who can't even read their own writing. Now, I can barely write my own writing.
Bogorad is, naturally, bullish: "Kids NEED to learn handwriting. The question whether it's a redundant phenomenon or not is still open, but it's still something 100 percent kids need to learn, and it's very stressful."
Learning can, indeed, be very stressful for kids.
I wonder if there's an app that teaches politeness.