Students now spend a lot of time reading from a screen: computers, kindle, mobile devices. The research into the implications of this are still in the early stages, however current evidence indicates that at this point in time print may be slightly superior to the screen in relation to comprehension, learning, retention and ease of use. However, as screen technology continues to advance, interfaces become increasingly intuitive and personal preferences change from early exposure to reading on a screen, this may change – and may have already changed for some individuals. Technology is here to stay, so the key pieces of advice for students (and parents) are listed below. One of the best articles to read on this debate is by Jabr (2013) The Reading Brain in the Digital Age: The Science of Paper versus Screens http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=reading-paper-screens.
Advice for Parents:
DEVELOP BOTH PAPER AND DIGITAL LITERACY SKILLS
Students need to develop their reading, comprehension and learning skills in both arenas. They need to develop one set of skills to build their competence in reading and learning from paper, however they also need to develop a completely different set of skills: digital literacy and navigation skills. Some parents are critical of the use of technology in schools and fearful that students’ handwriting and learning will be affected (Salter, 2013), however in an increasingly digital world it would be irresponsible of schools to neglect developing students’ digital literacy skills. Two of the units that are useful in this area on www.studyskillshandbook.com.au are the Reading Skills unit and Technology Tools unit.
CREATE OPPORTUNITIES TO MAINTAIN HANDWRITING SKILLS
Finland has long been known as a leader in many educational aspects. Recently it was announced that Finland will no longer teach cursive handwriting in schools. They will continue to teach printing, however, when students would normally transition to ‘running writing’ instead they will learn keyboarding skills. This signals a change in the traditional approach. In Australia there is comprehensive testing being undertaken to look at holding both Naplan and final Year 12 examinations online. There are no indications as to when this will take place. At this point in time, as tests and examinations are still handwritten, students are advised that when it comes to exam time, they should handwrite their study notes or if typed then print them out when they are learning them. They should also actively create opportunities to maintain their handwriting skills, consciously choosing to handwrite at times when they might normally type. Visit the Writing Skills unit for tips on improving handwriting as well as some special pens that will assist.
LEARN TO TOUCH TYPE
While we have had the ability to dictate into a device for some time, this is still not in common usage. Learning to touch type is a skill that definitely pays off in the senior years in terms of saving huge amounts of time. There are links to free learning to touch type websites in the Technology Tools unit.
If your school subscribes to www.studyskillshandbook.com.au you can read more about this research by clicking on the Things To Print link and scroll down to the document at the bottom on Reading & Screens. Check if your school subscribes here.
NOTE: The CONTENT on this blog and the email newsletters is NOT TO BE COPIED, reproduced or shared in any form.
The only exception to this are the SUBSCRIBING SCHOOLS to www.studyskillshandbook.com.au who have permission to use these tips in their school newsletters, forward to students and parents or post on school noticeboards.
Enhanced Learning Educational Services
The study skills specialist!
Study Skills Resources: www.enhanced-learning.net
Online Study Skills Handbook: www.studyskillshandbook.com.au