“Surprise, surprise! Students enjoy learning from traditional books.”
So begins Richard Glover’s article in today’s Sydney Morning Herald (Spectrum, April 6-7 2019, p3).
I found this interesting as when we first wrote the Jblog textbook series we also looked into creating an ebook version. We were told then in confidence by one of the graphic designers who also makes ebooks that students don’t like learning from them. I surveyed our students and found them of the same opinion, so we backed away from the ebook trend. My family, including my 11 year old son, are all avid readers of the hard copy variety and for me there is nothing nicer than the smell of a new book. Books don’t need charging and encourage the reader to browse through the material when attention spans wane. (When the attention span of a student on a computer wanes, they immediately flick to a game.)
Richard Glover’s article continues to describe how some schools such as Reddam House, have reversed their decision to use ebooks much to the enthusiasm of the students. It also states that “Educational experts have discovered that children retain more information when they read things using a hard-copy book, when compared to a digital device.” As a teacher, one only needs to consider how much easier it is to program using the hard copy version of the new syllabus than the on-line version. I prefer to flick back between the hard-copy sections and then copy and paste from the digital version once I have located the page. Students were also quoted as preferring the “ease of navigation” of a book.
I love using technology in the classroom but only if it serves a purpose. I personally prefer to learn from the book and then create using a computer. That way, students can refer to their textbook when they are talking to the visiting Japanese students, listening to sound files or creating their own presentation. Flicking between six screens just doesn’t calm me in the same way as book with post-it notes.
Enjoy your weekend everyone!