Like others in the field, I’ve been thinking a lot about digital reading and comprehension lately. There’s a lot out there on the topic, from casual blog posts to academic studies. Opinions are split, and studies come to differing conclusions, depending on how they are set up and how the control groups are organized. Some seem to suggest that digital reading is a landscape of complete and utter distraction, while others are determining that digital formats allow for more targeted keyword learning. What do you think? Below are some links to interesting discussions of the topic.
“Does the Brain Like E-Books?” (New York Times, October 2009)
This article dates to 2009 but still offers enlightening insight from professors of English, child development, computer science, and informatics as well as thoughts from an editor of a neuroscience journal about how the brain absorbs information from print and digital formats.
“What Will You Click On Next? Focusing Our Attention Online” (Mind/Shift, 08-31-12)
From one of my favorite education blogs, this entry focuses on, well, the challenges of focused attention while reading digital or online texts.
“Why College Students Still Prefer Print Over E-Books” (Mind/Shift, 09-14-12)
Also from the Mind/Shift blog, this entry discusses results of an interesting—and recent--pilot program that suggests college students see more value in print reading than in digital. While they like the cost benefit of digital texts, they experience many challenges with digital reading, ranging from eye strain to poor functionality of devices.
“Education: Korea tops new OECD PISA survey of digital literacy” (OECD, 06-28-11)
And my favorite of the search thus far are the results of the first ever international assessment survey of digital reading performance, conceived and executed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). South Korea came out on top, followed by New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Hong-Kong, China, and Iceland. Interestingly, girls outperformed boys in print reading by fairly significant margins. The gap narrowed by more than 10 points in digital reading skills, however, suggesting that boys may have less difficulty absorbing information digitally than in print. Food for thought. (I’m not seeing results from 2012. Let me know if you are.)
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[photo: Wikimedia Commons]