University of Oulu

Frangou, S.-M., Wikgren, J., Sintonen, S., Kairaluoma, L., & Vasari, P. (2019). The effect of writing modality on recollection in children and adolescents. Research in Learning Technology, 27.

The effect of writing modality on recollection in children and adolescents

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Author: Frangou, Satu-Maarit1; Wikgren, Jan2; Sintonen, Sara3;
Organizations: 1Centre for Media Pedagogy, Faculty of Education, University of Lapland, Rovaniemi, Finland
2Centre for Interdisciplinary Brain Research, Faculty of Education and Psychology, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland
3Faculty of Education, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
4Faculty of Education, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
5Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Lapland, Rovaniemi, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.3 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Association for Learning Technology, 2019
Publish Date: 2020-02-14


We set out to assess the extent to which writing modality affects recollection in children and adolescents. We examined 10- to 11-year-old children’s (N = 63) and 16-year-old adolescents’ (N = 43) handwriting, keyboarding with a laptop computer and keyboarding with a touchscreen tablet computer or mobile phone in a within-subjects experimental design. Participants were instructed to write down stories dictated to them in the three writing modalities. Recollection of the stories was assessed using free recall of details in the stories. The results indicate that the writing modality affects recollection, handwriting leading to better recollection. However, currently, digital writing tools are inundating classrooms and workplaces around the globe, making their competent use a necessity in today’s world. For example, in Finland, students are obligated to use a laptop in upper secondary education and in the national final examination. In light of the results, we highlight the importance of balancing the instruction and practice of different writing modalities. Given the limitations of this study, we suggest conducting a larger-scale study and further research on the educational and cognitive implications of using and learning to write using multiple writing modalities.

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Series: Research in learning technology
ISSN: 2156-7069
ISSN-E: 2156-7077
ISSN-L: 2156-7069
Volume: 27
Article number: 2239
DOI: 10.25304/rlt.v27.2239
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 516 Educational sciences
Copyright information: © 2019 S.-M. Frangou et al. Research in Learning Technology is the journal of the Association for Learning Technology (ALT), a UK-based professional and scholarly society and membership organisation. ALT is registered charity number 1063519. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, allowing third parties to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format and to remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially, provided the original work is properly cited and states its license.