Via Brad Dowdy, New York City schools are reintroducing cursive instruction into 3rd grade curriculum.

Most of the quotes focus on the legal value of cursive, but I find this point from the 2016-17 Department of Education manual most important:

Evidence reveals an advantage for handwriting using pen and paper over keyboarding for students in grades 2 to 6 for amount written, rate of word writing, and number of ideas expressed.

Handwriting is part of the experience of thought, in a way that typing is not. Personally, I find that cursive feels like part of thinking more than print.

Avoiding handwriting is avoiding thought.

Yesterday I downloaded MindNode for iOS because I was looking for a different way to organize a talk outline. I’ve only used it on iPhone, and I have to say it’s a pretty fantastic mindmapping tool.


This organizational method focuses on the relation of ideas, or nodes, to one another. It’s more visual and freeform than a traditional, linear outline. Some people find it very difficult to construct and process information this way; others find it essential to thinking clearly.

iOS app

The iOS app is extremely capable while being easy to use. It has most features of the macOS version; you can compare the feature set using this chart.


  • Themes: There are several pre-made themes to choose from, but you can also create your own from within the app.
  • Colors: There’s a decent palette of colors to use; you can also set a node’s color using hex codes.
  • Fonts: You can change the font of individual nodes.
  • Linetypes: You can vary the thickness and continuity of lines and arrows. You can also choose from a few shapes for your nodes.
  • Styles: Once you’ve applied these options to 1 node, you have the option of applying the style to all nodes or selected ones.

Outline Mode

As you build your mind map, MindNode builds an outline off of the content. This is something that really appeals to me. The mind map layout forces me to minimize my words, but this mode allows me to quickly see the ideas in a more linear way when that’s more useful.

Export options

There are about 15 different exports; here are a couple surprising, extremely useful options.

  • Markdown outline: Create a mind map, then export it as Markdown to Ulysses (i.e. your Markdown app of choice) to flesh out a post/essay/novel.
  • OmniFocus: Plan your project in MindNode. Mark actionable nodes as tasks. Export to OmniFocus, and items are added to your inbox with hierarchy and completion status intact.


iOS: $10; definitely worth it. Get it on the App Store.
macOS: $30; I’ll probably get it later. Get it on the App Store.