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The pen is dead – long live the keyboard?



This article was first published on the Online EU Training blog


The pen is dead - long live the keyboard?When was the last time you actually used a pen? We may be total geeks at Arboreus, but a few days ago when we had our executive meeting and looked for a pen, we realised that since we moved to our new office in the summer, we used a pen only once: to sign a contract with a bank some three months ago. Isn’t that strange?!


We don’t notice but our life is shifting online by the day: it’s not only Facebook and e-mails, but more stuff is done via computers, electronic signatures, pdfs and computer tools. Reading, after centuries, is nowadays also done on e-book readers such as Amazon’s Kindle or Apple’s iPad, and since these devices have physical or on-screen keyboards, even annotation can be done electronically.


EPSO, as we all know, has also shifted the application process and all exams online, and most parts of the Assessment Centre is done on computers as well. Standardisation is a great thing, but  your case study and note taking in the group exercise is still done on paper.


As typing replaces writing, lack of practice can be a real risk in your success: messy or illegibile papers where you cannot format, delete or copy-paste text without leaving the traces behind, can cost you points at the exam. So is there still need for a pen(cil)?


Though its role has changed, the answer is yes. Part of the reason why writing is never going away in certain situations is where it is exactly the opposite of typing: when a personal, authentic and human input is needed, handwriting wins.


So why not send a real letter instead of an e-mail, a handwritten Xmas card instead of an online e-greeting, and take some notes with your best pen and enjoy the freedom to draw on that paper when the meeting gets boring.


Who knows, one day a nice handwriting may be worth gold. Until then, it can certainly add a few extra points for your assessment essay scores.


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