Writing Paper versus Writing Processor
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Every writer nowadays is often asked the question of whether he or she prefers to write on paper or to use a word processor. Some prefer the good old writing-on-paper method and would debate that it somehow feels more authentic and personal. Some prefer to use the advancements provided by technology and use word processors, saying that it is easier to type, edit, and format with it. The debate even applies to note-taking. Some students have replaced their notebooks with laptops and tablets, and this has somehow produced the question of which note-taking method is more effective for learning.
Writing on paper began around 100 BC in China. During the ancient times, people used papyrus and parchment as writing materials. The Chinese, however, found a cheaper material to use. It was Ts’ai Lun who first started making paper during the Han Dynasty under the rule of emperor Ho-Ti. The materials that the Chinese used were mulberry bark and hemp rags. They mixed these materials with water and then mashed, pressed, and dried it off to produce paper.
It took some time before paper spread out all over the world from China, but eventually, the Indians, the Arabs, and the Europeans followed. The Indians began making paper in 400 AD. The Arabs, on the other hand, were introduced to it around 751 AD after they were able to capture Chinese men during battle and asked their captives to teach them to make paper in exchange of freedom. It was not until the 1200s that the Italians and French first used paper. By the year 1453, the Germans have learned to make their own paper as well as to print on the paper, which led to the prominence of publishing and printing.
The invention of printing was a catalyst to the invention of automated ways of putting words down on paper. Nowadays, word processors are related to computers, but its history started simply with the need for an easier, more convenient way to put type on paper. In 1867, Christopher Latham Sholes invented the first manual typewriter, which only allowed the typist to see what is being typed until after he or she is finished. Over the years, the manual typewriter evolved into an automatic typewriter with more and more capabilities that made typing easier.
In 1964, IBM invented the MT/ST or Magnetic Tape/Selectric Typewriter, which introduced a reusable storage method for the typed information. This invention led to the popularization of the term “word processing” as an actual concept. The most vital innovation in the history of word processing that led to how the world knows it now is the switch from the use of “hard wired” machinery to the use of software. Word processing eventually married with computing functions to form the field of information processing, which has led to countless technological advancement.
The battle between the use of paper and the use of word processors seems odd since the invention of word processors sprung from the need for easier ways to put words to paper. However, when it comes to taking notes, studies have shown that students who take notes using paper are more likely to retain information than students who use their laptops. Researchers have said that note-taking using word processors can lead to “mindless processing” and that writing with the hand helps in internalizing ideas and strengthening the learning process.
When it comes to composing articles, every writer has his or her own preference. Some writer are more sentimental and say that writing on paper makes them feel better and helps them write more fluidly. Some writers, however, can write better with word processors.
Writers all have different techniques, routines, and processes. It seems that no one can really dictate a writer about which kind of method works better for him or her. Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages, but the important thing is that both are very helpful ways of communicating the words and ideas that people oftentimes find hard to get out of their heads.
Borrelli, Lizette. “Using Pen And Paper, Not Laptops, Boosts Your Memory.” Medical Daily. 6 Feb. 2014. Web. 28 July 2015. <http://www.medicaldaily.com/why-using-pen-and-paper-not-laptops-boosts-memory-writing-notes-helps-recall-concepts-ability-268770>.
History for Kids. “History of Paper for Kids.” Web. 28 July 2015. <http://www.historyforkids.org/learn/literature/paper.htm>.
“History of Word Processors.” Web. 28 July 2015. <http://www.cs.umd.edu/class/spring2002/cmsc434-0101/MUIseum/applications/wordhistory.html>.
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