May 1, 2009

Don't kill the books!!!

Do you remember few years back when you had to write an essay about "smart school" where professionals at that time predicted that in the future, students did not have to go to school with heavy bag packs. All they need was bringing floppy disk(floppy disk was the main device back then) to school. Books would be obsolete in the future.

Then come the area of ebooks. You can just download ebooks for free. Sometimes there are textbooks to be downloaded from the net with minimal fee. Hey, this ebook comes with small size and one pc could store more ebooks than one room could store actual books.

Back to talking about floppy disk? who use that anymore? Nowadays, people have better gadgets than slow and enormous floppy disk. We have pen drive or some people call it usb drive. Also, external hard disk tag along in this world of advancement of information technology. mp3 players and ipods are equipped with hard disk function to provide high utilities to the consumers. These gadgets are used to back up data and make document's transfer more efficient.

Now, here I am, almost graduate from Stevens Institute of Technology, that's so called a tech school, that also should be equipped with current technology to improve the efficiency of learning in the classroom. Yes, we don't really bring actual books to class. Yes, we get the high speed wireless and we could be online while in class and open ebook or online notes and write note instantaneously into word document. Yes, most of our professors bring their laptops to class to teach and they use presentation/video/pictures to make their teaching more efficient.

So, was the expectation eceeded the prediction? I have nothing to agree nor to disagree. However, in argument whether people are totally neglect the usage of actual books nowadays, I would say no. People are still using them and will be using the actual books for thousandth of years later. Even for myself, I prefer using my hands and notebook to jot down notes from lecturers. I read actual books for final or exams. Sometimes I printed out online notes for reference. This doesn't mean that I don't use the technology to its full volume. I do the drawing, write up reports, design my project; all using my laptop. However, when it comes to reading, actual reading that requires patient and time, I rather go for the actual textbooks. Anne Mangen who did a research in this area claim that :-

Turning and touching the pages instead of clicking on the screen help us better focus on the material at hand.

Clicking and scrolling interrupt that focus, according to Anne Mangen at the Center for Reading Research at the University of Stavanger in Norway, who has investigated the pros and cons of new reading devices.

The physical manipulations we have to do with a computer disturb our ability to take in reading material, Mangen said.

The physical substance of a book offers tranquility, she found. The text doesn’t move on the printed page as it does on a screen.

Hypertext stories, often used in classrooms today, rely on digital video, sound, pictures, and text. Clicking one’s way around them comes close to a literary computer game, Mangen said.

While she stops short of warning against this type of material when used as part of a curriculum, she doesn’t advocate it either.

“I think there is generally little reflection around digital teaching material,” she said.


source is taken from memagazine.asme.org site

So tranquility is the main key. That's why we enjoy to write report on Microsoft Word, surf internet, look at the pictures and text as it feels like playing computer game. Then we lost the tranquility when do the reading through laptop.

I wonder whether Kindle 2 could actually provide the same tranquility as the actual books provide?



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