OR GAINED!!??!??!!!!! I heard myself blurt out...when it wasn't my turn to talk.
Paper trained heads that were mid stream nodding in agreement and reminiscing about their disappearing friend (the book) spun my way. **Oopsie** "We aren't losing when we allow our students to Ditch Paper and Get to the Thinking Faster." I whispered. This got me thinking, if some of the most innovative educators in town still haven't bought into going on a paper diet, what does this mean for our students?
When I polled my Personal Learning Network (PLN) to see if they would be sad when books shed their paper and grew wings most who responded said yes, though these followers/friends/friends of friends shared my sentiments:
- MrChase - As sad as when cave walls, papyrus and parchment fell by the wayside.
- Dianewoodard - NO! The static content of yesterday will become dynamic & allow for ongoing interaction! I love digital content!
- Shawn Gross - The death of paper is great thing for kids, the environment and economy.
- Thomas Whitby a friend of a friend Jeff Branzburg - We cannot tell our students that we are not comfortable using an E-reader rather than a book. If this is what the future holds, then our comfort is irrelevant to one who will live with that E-reader as reality. -Reflections on Today’s Education from an Old Guy
- Andrew a project produced specifically for the web has the potential to be far more powerful, relevant, and contextual than anything that can be done with the same project in print. - My case for moving beyond a printed senior thesis
Fred Deutsch For me there's nothing like the simplicity and beauty of a book. I enjoy the ease of dog-earring a page, placing physical bookmarks, underlining key sentences, writing notes to myself in the margin, etc. Sure, all of these can be done with pdfs, but for me the e-applications of the above are just more cumbersome and not quite as intuitive. Just my personal preference.
gimst I would miss the pleasure to handle a book, paper smelling, the sense of touch, books are special tastes of sensibilit. I don't believe in death paper books the pleasure of reading paper book is not the same reading digital book, they will coexist.
Kelley Riley Lanahan My (over 45) eyeballs just can't read as efficiently on small screens! But there's a difference for me in reading for work and reading for pleasure.....
Laura I like to hold a book and enjoy the fonts, the spacing in the margins, looking ahead to see how many more pages there are until a break in the paragraphs, or the end of a chapter. I like to find a bookmark or fold up a piece of paper to use as one. I like to browse the library for new books, for books by authors I like, for interesting titles and dust jackets.
Kelley Riley Lanahan Ha ha ha. As much as I'm NOT a Kindle fan (other than the fact I can read late into the night and not disturb the hubby), I do like the analogies here. For me, there's something about old-style that still turns me on...
Fred Deutsch I enjoy the ability to crack open a book for the first time . . . to hear the binder creak as I open it . . . to feel the texture of the page as I run my fingers over the written word or grasp the corner of the page to turn it . . . or even sometimes the smell of book can have impact. Certainly digital will continue to compete with paper... , but I would be suprised if it ever become more popular than paper. Books simply provide a greater fullness of the sensual experience associated with reading and learning, imo.
iansands as long as there are beaches, there will be books. Cause it's no fun when sand gets in your laptop. :)
Kelley Riley Lanahan Nothing like thumbing through a great read though. And it's been REALLY interesting pulling some of my "classic" reads (e.g. Beowulf) off of my library shelf to compare with the versions being brought home by my HS-aged sons. There are some things, I believe, that can't be substituted....makes for a great dinner conversation if nothing else!
My intent in bringing up this conversation is to open the eyes of the paper trained to the virtues of digital because:
- It is much better for the environment if we all ditch the paper
- You can do more, making the experience richer
- Students like it better
- It's interactive allowing for not only for easier consumption, but also production of information
- A school or personal library of books and print materials are expensive not just to purchase, but to preserve and store. Digital content is much cheaper and richer than any print material. This speaks to the cause of demise of the print newspaper and magazine industry. Textbooks should soon follow suit. If we rely on digital materials the cost drops. Furthermore, with digital content, we don't have to pay the text book companies as richer content exists outside that outdated and ineffective learning tool This article touches on some of the reasons why - Textbook Example of What's Wrong with Education - A former schoolbook editor parses the politics of educational publishing).
- We can't ignore the impact of digital text. From the New York Times: The advent of e-books and Google’s online book archive mean “2009 may well prove to be the most significant year in the evolution of the book since Gutenberg hammered out his original Bible.” The E-Book as Gutenberg’s Bible
- Many kids already have devices that can serve beautifully as digital readers i.e. smart phones, laptops, netbooks, why not have them pull the devices out of their lockers and pockets and harness the power of the tools kids own. Cellphone Apps Challenge the Rise of eReaders. This comment from one of the readers captures the sentiment.
Lance, Chicago November 18th, 2009 10:27 am
I had a Kindle, but as soon as I got my iphone, I sold the Kindle on ebay. I have read about 20 books on my iphone, though I also buy paper books, only because not every book is available on the iphone. The reading experience is much better on an iphone than on paper: find characters that I forgot and can look up words. The big problem with the downloaded books: once I have finished reading the book, I cannot share it with anyone else. I am not sure there is any scientific evidence to show that there is less eye strain with the Kindle or the Sony reader compared to the iphone. For those who don't like the font size on an iphone, it's easy to adjust with the different book apps.
Responses to My PLN
The two valid advantages paper has over digital today is battery life and functionality in the sand (I'm at the beach a lot). Beyond that, the resistance to me seems to be the result of my colleagues being paper-trained. When I look at what these folks prefer there is very little that you can't get digitally and digital provides for a much richer experience. Here are some of my responses.
Should a 4-year-old have an iPhone?
Marc Prensky shares how his four-year-old uses his iTouch for reading, writing, drawing and more.
In this video you see students using iTouches devices like it's second nature just like they do outside the classroom. They use the devices for reading, writing research and more using applications that are either free or much less expensive than the traditional textbook.
Devices to Take Textbooks Beyond Text
I am not a supporter of textbooks, but if educators can't break away from the outdated habit, digital is an improvement that is considered in this NY Times article. From the article: NEWSPAPERS and novels are moving briskly from paper to pixels, but textbooks have yet to find the perfect electronic home. Now there is a new approach that may adapt well to textbook pages: two-screen e-book readers with a traditional e-paper display on one screen and a liquid-crystal display on the other to render graphics like science animations in color.
Until educators see the value of conducting our reading and writing digitally, I believe our students will continue to drown in the paper. I am not promoting that we go out and purchase kindles or other eReaders for our schools either. The real opportunity is to embrace the technology our students already have access to and harness the power of the fourth screen to engage in their reading, writing, and thinking 21st century style.