I have just read a really interesting article from Scientific American called “The Reading Brain in the Digital Age: The Science of Paper versus Screen”.
This article gave a convincing argument that reading on paper was actually easier for people than reading using a computer/tablet/mobile phone screen of any sort. It appears that our brains have adapted to using texts by relating it to a form of topography such as a landscape. It therefore allows us to truly “navigate” and we remember instances in a book by where we read them. i.e. on the bottom left of Page 73.
This certainly presents a possible problem for those who are saying that the book is dying and that we will all go on to read only using digital media in the future. The “book lovers” counter by saying that you cannot replace the feel of a book and their smell, The ability to fold down a page to keep a place and good old fashioned writing in the margins to make a note!
In the article though the last 2 paragraphs put forward the idea that digital media needs to look at how it can make the best use of the facilities that digital technology offers.It does not need to compete with books in terms of the reading of plain text but needs to move forward to interesting innovative ideas.
In respect of this there was a link to a really interesting post called “10 examples of bespoke article design and scrolling goodness”. The best one I found of a really interesting bunch was the Guardian‘s excellent attempt to explain the progress and result of the 2012 U.S. Presidential Election using the idea of a graphic novel.
I really found this a novel way to introduce the subject and maybe a pointer to the way that we need to present textual information to our visually literate youngsters. Plain text for books….. novel and innovative ideas for our digital natives.
- What’s next for books in the digital age? Outlook unclear | Dan Gillmor (guardian.co.uk)
- Comic Books Help Students Learn To Read And Improves Comprehension (howtolearn.com)
- New trends in literature and graphic novels in (slideshare.net)
- Do e-readers inhibit reading comprehension? – Salon.com (salon.com)