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E-Books: Reading Between the Lines

by Steven Hernandez

The State Press

Article excerpt

E-books: too much distraction, not enough learning

I don’t support the use of e-books and similar technology-based education tools because I believe that they inhibit the learning process. A 2013 study published by USA Today showed that students aren’t able to retain the same amount of information after reading an e-book as as they would a physical copy.

Our take

While Some Balk, E-Books Still Hold Tangible Benefits

In days gone by students would come to school—whether at the K-12 or higher ed level—loaded down with textbooks that they lugged from class to class, and around campus, in backpacks that strained their backs, necks and shoulders. Today, those backpacks are getting lighter in many cases due to the advent of e-books. But, while publishers, educators and administrators continue to consider and explore the potential of digital textbooks, not all are convinced that these options are better than, or even as good as, traditional hard copy textbooks. What does the data tell us?

This article points to a 2013 study from West Chester University, which indicated that students retained less information when engaging with e-books, versus traditional hard copy textbooks. The author of this article agrees with these findings. Still, e-books offer benefits that go beyond lighter backpacks, including access to more up-to-date information, the ability for instructors and students to augment the content with their own insights and annotations and, presumably, lower costs.

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