Wednesday, August 11, 2010

E-books and studying

Interesting article on USA Today yesterday about e-textbooks. Here's a snippet, but read the whole thing:

...some evidence suggests students see a downside to 24/7 interactivity when it comes to preparing for exams or doing homework. During visits last fall to libraries, coffee shops and other campus hangouts to analyze how students study, a test-prep company noted that, when it was time to study, cellphones, laptops and Kindles were put away.

"In today's ADD society, textbooks are pleasantly single-dimensional and finite," says Jeff Olson, vice president of research for Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions, whose team conducted observational studies. "When I asked study participants why they didn't use their laptops to look something up, I heard some version of 'because that's my distraction.'"

<idle musing>
I was reading a book recently (hard to believe, isn't it!) where they were commenting about the difficulty in writing a book on the computer. The distractions of e-mail, RSS feeds, etc., were keeping them from their task. A week or two earlier, I had read someone comment that a coffee shop didn't have wi-fi; he felt they should charge extra for the privilege of being unconnected!

I call it the cult of connectivity. I ride my bike to work everyday, as you probably know. Almost everyday, I see people walking with their head down, reading their e-mail or text messages. And this is through a beautiful woods along a creek! Call me old fashioned, but I'd rather watch the woods and creek than read a text message the has about 2 fleeting seconds of relevance...
</idle musing>

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