[Humanist] 31.274 pens, pencils, styli?

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Fri Sep 1 07:44:27 CEST 2017

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 31, No. 274.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Thu, 31 Aug 2017 08:53:55 +0200
        From: "Charles M. Ess" <c.m.ess at media.uio.no>
        Subject: pens, pencils, styli?

Dear Humanists,

It has gradually come to my lagging attention that pens, pencils, and/or 
styli seem to be making a bit of comeback?

Roughly: Microsoft introduced a Surface Pen in 2012, which interacts 
with various capabilities in the 8.1 and the most recent 10 OS; Apple 
introduced its Pencil for the iPad in 2015 - one that works with 
Microsoft apps as well as Adobe and others; Microsoft; and Lenovo offers 
a pen technology (either in Android or Windows OS) with one of its 
recent devices -
(Thanks to Rich Ling for the last tip.)

I'm also aware of a growing body of research on handwriting vis-a-vis 
keyboarding that appears to show that engaging the body via hand and 
pen, in contrast with solely using a keyboard, entails greater brain 
activity and thereby greater cognitive benefits, including greater 
ability to discern and articulate complex conceptual relationships, 
along with greater recall.
(E.g.: A. van der Meer, F.R. van der Weel, Only Three Fingers Write, but 
the Whole Brain Works: A High-Density EEG Study Showing Advantages of 
Drawing Over Typing for Learning.
Front. Psychol., 09 May 2017. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00706)

My resulting questions:

1) are you aware of any additional research along these lines, i.e., 
attending to the affordances and potentials of both handwriting and 
keyboarding vis-a-vis cognitive benefits - especially with a view 
towards pedagogy, i.e., how we should teach writing, most especially 
writing for research and publication?

2) Any ideas of what research and/or other interests, etc. might have 
led Apple, Microsoft, and Lenovo to re-introduce pens and styli - apart 
from the death of Steve Jobs, who notoriously hated these? (I mean this 

Please reply off-list.  I'll happily compile a bibliography and resource 
list for distribution to the list in turn.

Many thanks in advance,
- charles ess

Professor in Media Studies
Department of Media and Communication
University of Oslo

Editor, The Journal of Media Innovations

Postboks 1093
Blindern 0317
Oslo, Norway
c.m.ess at media.uio.no

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