Another look at the efficacy of eBooks for learning: Naomi Baron has a good report in SFGate. From the report:
For several years I have been surveying university students about their reading practices and preferences. I’ve probed what platform — onscreen or hard copy — they favor for different kinds of reading. I’ve also inquired how often they annotate or reread, how much multitasking they do, on what kind of platform it’s easier to concentrate, and how cost shapes their choices. What surprises me is how much these young people, who can’t stop texting during class, understand about the mental benefits of print.
The students were far more likely to prefer reading in print over digital screens. They did more annotating and were more likely to reread when using print. They also reported better memory for what they read in hard copy.
A number of studies have compared how much students learn when reading digitally versus in print. Using simple comprehension tests (think of SAT reading passages), the majority of research has reported that medium doesn’t matter. However, more subtle testing is revealing differences in the type and depth of learning. One such disparity is in the ability to articulate the principles behind the empirical information you encounter. Here, print wins.
We shouldn’t be surprised. Young people are keenly aware of what happens so frequently when they set out to read digitally: 80 to 90 percent in my studies reported they are likely to be multitasking. Or taking just a quick look at Facebook. Or maybe watching YouTube while doing Spanish exercises. (Only 25 to 30 percent multitasked when reading print.) More than 90 percent said it was easier to concentrate when reading in hard copy. A number complained that digital screens gave them eyestrain, but the real culprit was the Internet. Any device inviting your mind elsewhere is bound to decrease mental focus.
Like students, schools need to be mindful not to compromise in-depth learning for the sake of trendiness or cost. Yes, saving money was high on the list of what those in my surveys liked about digital books. But what if the price were identical? A whopping 89 percent preferred hard copy. . .
Extremely interesting article in the New Yorker by James Surowiecki. From the article:
. . . Handing mentally ill substance abusers the keys to a new place may sound like an example of wasteful government spending. But it turned out to be the opposite: over time, Housing First has saved the government money. Homeless people are not cheap to take care of. The cost of shelters, emergency-room visits, ambulances, police, and so on quickly piles up. Lloyd Pendleton, the director of Utah’s Homeless Task Force, told me of one individual whose care one year cost nearly a million dollars, and said that, with the traditional approach, the average chronically homeless person used to cost Salt Lake City more than twenty thousand dollars a year. Putting someone into permanent housing costs the state just eight thousand dollars, and that’s after you include the cost of the case managers who work with the formerly homeless to help them adjust. The same is true elsewhere. A Colorado study found that the average homeless person cost the state forty-three thousand dollars a year, while housing that person would cost just seventeen thousand dollars.
Housing First isn’t just cost-effective. It’s more effective, period. The old model assumed that before you could put people into permanent homes you had to deal with their underlying issues—get them to stop drinking, take their medication, and so on. Otherwise, it was thought, they’d end up back on the streets. But it’s ridiculously hard to get people to make such changes while they’re living in a shelter or on the street. “If you move people into permanent supportive housing first, and then give them help, it seems to work better,” Nan Roman, the president and C.E.O. of the National Alliance for Homelessness, told me. “It’s intuitive, in a way. People do better when they have stability.” Utah’s first pilot program placed seventeen people in homes scattered around Salt Lake City, and after twenty-two months not one of them was back on the streets. In the years since, the number of Utah’s chronically homeless has fallen by seventy-four per cent. . .
This is what shaving is supposed to be: a pre-shave beard wash with MR GLO, then a wonderful lather made by Mr Pomp and VintageBladesLLC.com’s own shaving soap. The fragrance of the soap is a very traditional adult English shaving soap fragrance—none of the novelty fragrances that can be fun for a shave every now and then. This is your steady daily shave fragrance, a blend of lavender and other notes that I cannot recognize but that have an immediate reassuring familiarity.
The iKon DLC Slant with a still newish Personna Lab Blue blade, carefully loaded, performed flawlessly. I was pretty much BBS at the end of the second pass, but continued with the third because why not perfection? Not a trace of a nick, no irritation or burn, just flawlessly smooth skin.
I applied a good splash of Captain’s Choice aftershave, and the week begins.
It should not be: we all are ignorant until we learn, and since no one knows everything, we all continue to harbor amazingly broad swathes of ignorance. And yet… there are some things we expect people to know, and when they do not, it’s an unpleasant surprise. Common courtesies fall into this realm, as do basic facts. Reading an article in which a (presumably) professional writer (and his editor) are perfectly fine with publicizing their ignorance about the subject of the article sets my teeth on edge. The writer refers at several points to the “Sahara desert.” “Sahara” means “desert,” and the redundancy sets my teeth on edge. It’s is like encountering the phrase “the hoi polloi”: “hoi polloi” is classical Greek for “tne (hoi) many (polloi)”—i.e., the rabble. (Even worse is when people say “the hoi polloi” meaning “the elite” or “the few,” but let’s leave that alone.) The “the” is redundant, as in “the Alhambra.”
I do think that if one is going to write about a subject, s/he should learn the very basic rudimentary knowledge of the subject. Apparently not everyone feels that way.
As I blogged a couple of days ago, kids learn how to remember things during the four-year period that starts around age 2, and they do this in a social way (we being social animals) by learning what details are important to remember and focusing on those. Some such memory training is obvious: color names (and these start even before age 2), addition facts, times tables, the alphabet, numbers and numerals and how to use them, and so on.
But, as the article pointed out, in remembering events of daily life, children learn which details are important from the questions they are asked. I see traces of that process in myself. My mother and her family were all what we would not call foodies: mostly they cooked professionally, and in family gatherings were always using (and creating) new recipes, trying new dishes, and so on. And I have observed that when I remember past events, I always remember what we ate, and when people tell me about a great day or a great evening, I find myself asking about the food. The particularities consumed are obviously some unconscious priority for me, and I’m sure that is due to being asked about it.
Another example: years ago I was in admissions, and at one point the Goucher rep met my then-wife. They ran into each other again a couple of years later, and my wife was trying to recall meeting her, and she (the Goucher rep) said, “I remember. You were wearing…” and described her complete ensemble: doubtless having been questioned many times as a child about “what were the others wearing?” until she learned that those details have priority.
So by asking young children about events in terms of what the participants were thinking and what they were feeling, children learn to pay attention to that and remember those details. And, of course, children that age love it when adults and particularly their parents really listen to them, and show interest, and ask more questions. It communicates to the children that they are important to their parents—really important, in a daily life kind of way.
Very helpful article, I think.