Back when I sat exams, I had an opportunity to apply to type my exams. My handwriting quality was verging on poor; the readability of my writing was essential to ensure my exams could be properly graded. I tend to think fast when I am writing; readability takes a second seat to getting my ideas down on paper as fast as possible.
I didn’t like the idea of typing my exams, so I opted to follow the default path and write my final exam results on paper. I reasoned that I may have struggled a bit because I had learned the material while writing on paper. I didn’t have practice typing my answers.
This may seem strange. The knowledge is the same. All that’s different is the modality. Hand writing or digital text. Yet this was significant for me. The modality mattered.
Why? I’m unsure.
Last year, while I was working on the IndieWeb Search engine, I reached a point where I felt I needed to draw out an architectural diagram. I didn’t want to draw on paper. I wanted to draw on a whiteboard. I like the ease of erasing on a whiteboard. I like the experience of writing on a whiteboard. In the moment, I felt like the only way I could fully express my idea was on a whiteboard.
It feels like I adapt to the tools for the job. When I find a setup I like for doing work, I stick with it. If I learn something in a particular modality — or know there is a modality in which I can best express an idea — I follow my intuition.
Could I have written my exam just as well on a computer? I didn’t try, but there was a voice telling me that I’d be better off writing by hand. I felt comfortable following that path.
Comment on this post
Respond to this post by sending a Webmention.
Have a comment? Email me at email@example.com.