Science Forum

Science Forum

  1. Zugzwang
    Joined
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    24 Aug '20 18:492 edits
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/aug/24/deep-literacy-technology-child-development-reading-skills

    "Screen-based online learning will change kids' brains. Are we ready for that?
    We are starting to see technology’s effect on child development and adult reading skills – and the research isn’t optimistic"
    --Maryanne Wolf

    "Literacy literally changes the human brain. The process of learning
    to read changes our brain, but so does what we read, how we read
    and on what we read (print, e-reader, phone, laptop). This is especially
    important in our new reality, when many people are tethered to multiple screens at any given moment."

    "We are still in the early stages of understanding the impact of digital-based
    learning on the development of children’s reading brains, as well as
    on the maintenance of reading brains in adults. Transforming new
    information into consolidated knowledge in the brain’s circuitry requires
    multiple connections to abstract reasoning skills, each of which requires
    the kind of time and attention often absent in digital reading.

    Admit it: many of you skimmed the last dense sentence, or perhaps everything so far. You sought the information quickly without expending extra time on reflecting further. If so, you missed two opportunities: to examine the basis for the statements, and to propel your own thoughts. That’s because you skimmed, browsed or word-spotted – with no consciousness that in so doing your brain has already begun changing, just as your child’s more malleable brain will.

    “To skim to inform” is the new norm for reading. What goes missing are deep reading processes which require a quality of attention increasingly at risk in a culture and on a medium in which constant distraction bifurcates our attention. These processes include connecting background knowledge to new information, making analogies, drawing inferences, examining truth value, passing over into the perspectives of others (expanding empathy and knowledge), and integrating everything into critical analysis. Deep reading is our species’ bridge to insight and novel thought.

    To deploy these interactive processes requires nearly automatic decoding skills and purposeful attention that moves, as William James wrote, from “flight to perches” for thought. Imperceptible pauses in reading can lead to lightning-speed leaps into our thoughts’ furthest reaches.

    By contrast, when we skim, we literally, physiologically, don’t have time to think. Or feel. ...
    The difference between skimming and reading with all our intelligence is the difference between fully activated reading brains and their short-circuited, screen-dulled versions.

    Today’s crises exacerbate threats to full literacy. This is because no human was born to read. Literacy requires a new, plastic brain circuit. Plasticity allows the circuit to adapt to any writing system and any medium. The catch is that circuits reflect the medium’s characteristics, whatever they are.

    The medium of print advantages slower, more attention- and time-requiring processes. The digital medium advantages fast processes and multitasking, both well-suited for skimming information’s daily bombardments.

    The digital elephant in every classroom and home is whether our youth will develop full literacy, if learning largely on skim-encouraging screens. Research by scholars such as Naomi Baron, Anne Mangen and Lalo Salmeron have found declines in student comprehension when reading the same information on screens rather than print. Yet readers perceived themselves better on screens because they were “faster”. More than 80% of college educators see a “shallowing” effect by screens on their students’ reading comprehension, according to forthcoming research by Naomi Baron. Tami Katzir and Mirit Barzillai found similar perceptions and results in Israeli fifth and sixth graders. Even three-year-olds appear less able to deal with more abstract material when listening to stories on screens versus books.

    The reasons are multiple, but they are not because deep reading is impossible on a screen. It is simply harder, because screens are associated with distraction, which leads to what researcher Linda Stone has called continuous partial attention. That in turn leads to less time allocated to abstract thought. The more time on screens, the more entrenched are associations to quick, superficial information-gathering and constant checks for new (distracting) information. The latter is the “novelty reflex”, rooted in our genes."

    "Whether the books are new or old, owned or borrowed from the library, doesn’t matter. What matters is that they are there, and that children are encouraged to read them. Furthermore, books – not digital devices – should be the only reading option in children’s bedrooms.

    Books are the places where we can suspend reality and instead explore our imagination’s more tolerable, more beautiful promise of possibility. We can do this."

    I learned how to read (in more than one language) through books.
    My childhood brain was shaped before the age of digital reading.
    To this day, I prefer (partly due to my eyesight) reading printed books to E-books.

    I have observed worsening reading comprehension of 'deeper' material among
    many students whose 'reading brains' seem formed by the 'digital revolution'.
    They seem to have attention spans too short to tolerate many classics enjoyed by their ancestors.
  2. Subscribersonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    slatington, pa, usa
    Joined
    28 Dec '04
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    53125
    26 Aug '20 23:00
    @Duchess64
    The research into this subject has been ongoing and strengthening year by year.
    A book you can back track the pages to re-read what you missed but it is a pain in the but to go through menu after menu to back up pages on a tablet or e reader.
    I have disliked e readers from day one but now know why.
    I also don't like tablets without a mouse or keyboard, and of course when you add those to a tablet it just becomes a smaller footprint laptop.

    So I stick with my desktop with a 27 inch curved screen I can adjust the magnification of the letters so I can read them easier.
    I am very nearsighted and have to get on top of a monitor to see it clearly.
  3. Standard memberwolfgang59
    Quiz Master
    RHP Arms
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    48791
    27 Aug '20 03:10
    @duchess64 said
    To this day, I prefer (partly due to my eyesight) reading printed books to E-books.

    I have observed worsening reading comprehension of 'deeper' material among
    many students whose 'reading brains' seem formed by the 'digital revolution'.
    They seem to have attention spans too short to tolerate many classics enjoyed by their ancestors.
    I think all that you say is true but not necessarily a new phenomenon.

    I trained myself to "skim read" aka "speed read" it is often useful.
    But it can become a bad habit.

    I think attention spans have been getting shorter and shorter since the advent of the
    tv remote! We all crave instant satisfaction, we want more & better and we want it NOW.

    Is there a solution?
    I don't think so, ... not this side of immortality anyway.
  4. Subscribersonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    slatington, pa, usa
    Joined
    28 Dec '04
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    53125
    03 Sep '20 18:11
    @wolfgang59
    Kind of like ancient Rome, Ca 400 AD, the dumbing down of the population due to lead poisoning because they didn't know lead was toxic, so it leached out of the millions of wine bottles made with leaded glass.

    I'm sure that was not the only think that killed the empire but a good part of it.

    And now we are doing our own version of dumbing down the population, growing more and more dependent on tablets and such.
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