The research reported in this article underlines the need to adopt a reflective attitude to the use of digital resources in teaching and learning. This relates to a growing body of research by different scholars in many countries. The present study underlines the need to adopt a reflective attitude to the use of digital resources in teaching and learning. The research starts from the assumption that students can develop their writing and critical thinking skills thanks to specific writing activities. Such activities regard the elaboration of short essays, both by hand and on computer keyboards, with the aim to highlight the difference in results. Within the paper, a specific assessment grid was outlined to evaluate students’ essays. Short essays written by students were produced in two different ways: by hand or keyboard. All data have been collected and analyzed to highlight the different results in skills development, according to the writing tool employed. From the analyses carried out and the results collected, handwritten short essays got higher scores than computer written texts: computer use in writing activities apparently reduces performances level in the majority of students taken into consideration.
Keywords: Writing skills, higher education, teaching evaluation, critical thinking, handwriting