With modern technology invading the classroom it's a wonder kids still know what a pencil looks like, let alone how to use one. You may ask, "Why is learning to write important?" when all around you people are hitting keyboards and there is not a pencil in sight. The computer and the internet have changed nearly everything about life as we knew it. The generation gap just got wider.
Most schools introduce students to the keyboard in the early grades and they soon give up on cursive writing. But researches say students who write in cursive write faster and express their thoughts more openly. Whereas students using block letters seemed to have limited imagination and their writing speed is definitely slower. But if everyone in the class used printing then speed is not an issue. Another point about writing versa printing is students who write have easier to read assignments than students who print.
Now is there enough evidence here to justify learning longhand writing. But only about 15% of students who sit the SAT exams used cursive writing, the rest just printed. I think learning to write longhand is important because sometimes we just have to write. And in poor countries where some people can not afford computers they still write.
We can not rely too much on technology because when the electricity goes off so does technology. Sometimes the old ways are better. Whenever when teaching longhand writing I like to use the Montessori approach. This method uses sandpaper letters and the child can feel the shape of the letter as she tracks the letter on the sandpaper.
The action of writing and feeling the texture of the wallpaper help to implant the letter in the child's brain. This system has been teaching children for near a 100 years, but with the advent of the computer it will still be around in another 100 years. I think so because we will run out of electricity long before then.