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Books are dead and boring, or not at all, on the contrary

In the 2009 PISA-survey of student knowledge in various subjects, digital reading comprehension was included for the first time. Sixteen OECD-members and three partner-countries took part. The results showed no direct relationship between more computer-use and higher digital reading comprehension. However, there was a direct correlation between the skills to navigate to relevant pages on the web and high digital reading comprehension.

Navigation is a key component

The study’s authors’ made the following conclusion:

“Navigation is a key component of digital reading as readers “construct” their text through navigation. Thus, navigational choices directly influence what kind of text is eventually processed. Stronger readers tend to choose strategies that are suited to the demands of individual tasks. Better readers tend to minimise their visits to irrelevant pages and locate necessary pages efficiently. However, PISA-results show that even when guidance on navigation is explicit, significant numbers of students still cannot locate crucial pages. The digital reading assessment offers powerful evidence that today’s 15-year-olds, the “digital natives”, do not automatically know how to operate effectively in the digital environment, as has sometimes been claimed.”

Navigation is, therefore, the key according to the study, which requires teachers who can teach how students can effectively use the Web for learning. In order to make Jorge Luis Borges’ dream of a world library in various formats a reality beyond all trash-sites on the web. In any form of learning, reading and writing not only consists of text but also interactive, collaborative and creative work. However, this is not a problem only in school, but in general, when it comes to digital content especially on the web.

Comment:

This story was published here on eLearningworld.eu five years ago and describes one of the main pillars of what formed the basis for our platform Storyteller on eLearningworld for interactive books. Where we solved the navigation-issue by empowering the medieval format of the printed book with interactivity and design thinking. For more information, please click on Storyteller information below. 

WWW distractions

In the book “The shallow – What the Internet does to our brain, ” Nicholas Carr digs deeper into this subject. On the basis of current brain research, he highlights the fact that using manual- and intellectual tools changes the neurological brain structure.  This conclusion has already been shown during the 19th Century by different scientists. But for most of the 20th Century, this was rejected by the scientific community. Finally, in the 1990s it was ruled out that the brain never stops adapting and changing. It is constantly looking for better and more efficient methods to replace old inefficient.

A revolutionary tool

The Web is such a revolutionary tool that offers a more efficient method. Carr writes: my brain demanded to be fed in the way the web fed it, it was not my reading method that had changed, but my thinking. But despite the fact that the web is an inspiring environment for reading and learning there is a significant problem. In Carr’s words:

“Try reading a book while you solve a crossword puzzle; this is the intellectual environment of the Internet.”

Comment:

But what if “the crossword puzzle” or other forms of activity was integrated into the digital content like in the form of the well-known book-format. Then suddenly the chaotic environment of the web with loads of different forms of interactions/distractions have turned into an engaging creative environment for inspiration, knowledge/skill creation and development. Since besides the book’s knowledge and inspiration etc, it is also a guide, a guideline. In contradiction to “zapping” on the web. An interactive book has purposes and at the same time the power to reinvent the addictive engaging features that are the WWW’s strength. 

“Books are dead and boring …”

The future of book publishing in this perspective will be the following according to a promotional film for the Anglo-Saxon publisher Dorling Kindersley. A young voice reads a poem with the title “The Future of Publishing” about tomorrow’s book market:

This is the end of publishing

and

books are dead and boring

no longer can it be said that

we like to read

my friends and I

When the poem ends the voice changes the direction of the reading and reads from the bottom to the top. Then an entirely different picture appears, please read the lines from bottom to top or read and hear the whole poem below:

Comment:

In this spirit, our platform Storyteller on eLearningworld is ready to open up for new Storytellers around the world. For more information, please click on Storyteller information below. 

Written by
LarsGoran Bostrom©

Storyteller information

Sources:

Reader’s market, market’s reader – a research anthology SOU 2012:10 Editors Ulla Carlsson and Jenny Johannisson Stockholm 2012

The Shallows. What the Internet is Doing to Our Brain by Nicholas Carr 2010

Nicholas Carr’s The Shallows. What the Internet is Doing to Our Brain “and some implications for Net-based learning by Luka Peters elearningeuropa.info March 2011

PISA 2009 Results: Students On Line Digital Technologies and Performance (Volume VI), OECD (2011)