#DigitalParenting: Ignoring Each Other With Books?

Pinterest 'Ah, the good old days, when we ignored each other with books instead of Smartphones'
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A few extracts from the book related to this:

(p181-182) With the growth of tablet devices and e-readers, one of the leading debates is about both the quality and the quantity of reading. The CHILDWISE 2012 Report points to the 30 per cent that read often for pleasure, although 17 per cent never do so, with 14 per cent of boys and 11 per cent of girls favouring e-books over printed books:

At age 7–8, children are becoming confident, established readers, but do not have the entrenched familiarity with traditional books that exists among older children.

With technological developments such as flowable text and full colour, e-readers have become a more appealing prospect, especially for children of eleven plus. Sarah Odedina, Managing Director of Hot Key Books, a publisher of children’s fiction, says:

It is entirely possible that people will be more used to reading from a screen than a page, and I do not think it matters in the least, so long as they are reading.9

Baroness Greenfield, a neuroscientist, agreed with the National Literacy Trust (NLT) that there is “no conclusive evidence that reading standards are deteriorating”, as reading from a screen is just as good as reading from a book. NLT director Jonathan Douglas added that the growth in children’s digital reading was “an opportunity for publishers, not a warning knell”, and said the children’s market was beginning to mirror the way the adult market has developed as the number of children reading digitally increases. He also said there was a “clear relationship between attainment and reading patterns”, with those children with a “balanced diet of print and digital” achieving a higher level of literacy.10

Hanna Rosin challenges the notion that books are inherently better than screens, observing that her daughter tends to use books to avoid social interaction, whilst her son uses the Wii to connect with friends.

(p190) It’s clear that game developers have taken the time to learn about human psychology: what will cause us to “play just one more level” and in the process lose several hours (or even days/ weeks) of our lives, as well as large sums of money (many games are initially free, but you pay for in-game purchases, which can quickly add up). Again, technology magazine The Next Web raises the question of whether “addiction” is the right term:

Why do we stigmatize certain engrossments more than others? When my kid reads books all day, my partner and I are happy about it. When he plays games all day, we are not. Who is to say one is better or worse than the other?11


Do students like reading? @timeshighered

A great article re dealing with that statement “students don’t like reading”, which we hear over and over, and courses tend to use ‘force’ to try and “encourage” students to read… A new approach:

Recently, I decided to act on this expectation and launched a “Reading Challenge” to my history undergraduates. This voluntary event encourages them to read 20 books for pleasure during their degree. It is not an attempt to force on them a “canon” of worthy literature; it presents them with a wide range of books from which they select titles that interest them.

Those who wish to take part receive a long bibliography broken into sections, including 20th-century fiction, philosophy, short stories and so on. The idea is that they choose and read at least two works from each area until they have reached the required number. Successful participants will receive a certificate and a small prize, but this will not be large enough to be an incentive in its own right.

In planning this with colleagues, it was suggested that we outline how a healthy amount of leisure reading can broaden knowledge, stimulate ideas and sharpen comprehension skills – and thus help improve a student’s chances of gaining higher grades. But I was instinctively resistant to this idea. I didn’t want students to think of this as “work”.

As it’s still in its infancy, I can’t say yet if it has worked. But when I ran the idea past my seminar groups, the reaction was positive – many students indicated that they would like to take part. We are also looking into the possibility of building some form of reading group into the challenge, and another colleague has offered to host an annual round-table discussion on a selected title. The idea is to create a structure that helps guide and motivate students to read for pleasure, supplying direction and encouragement, and – if possible – to build an undergraduate reading culture.

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Time to shelve the book habit ? @timeshighered

Think digitally and steer academics away from their ‘cravings’, librarians are told. Hannah Fearn writes

University librarians have been told that they must change the behaviour of academics to “stop them craving books” as libraries shift their focus to digital resources.

The call was made at a debate about the future of university libraries, hosted by Times Higher Education at the British Library last week.

Debating the motion “Is the physical library a redundant resource for 21st-century academics?”, Sarah Porter, head of innovation at the Joint Information Systems Committee, said she knew some scientists who had not set foot in a library for five years.

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"Do you read a book a week?"

“If I spend more than an hour surfing on the internet, I find my thinking has changed, and with it, my concentration,” says Nicholas Carr in The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains (2010). “The deep reading that used to come naturally has become a struggle.”

In July, Amazon announced that, for the first time, the sale of digital editions of books had overtaken the sale of hardbacks. But, Carr says, the recent advent of e-readers such as Amazon’s Kindle and Apple’s iPad don’t guarantee more readers – only different readers.

“To make a book discoverable and searchable online is also to dismember it,” says Carr. “The cohesion of its text, the linearity of its argument or narrative as it flows through scores of pages, is sacrificed.” It loses what John Updike called its “edges” and dissolves into “the vast, rolling waters” of the net.

Reading requires an inner silence that promotes contemplation and imagination. The flashing images, the cacophony of music and voices, the frenetic sound-bite-length snatches of thinking that electronic media flourish on simply preclude the calm, focused, revelatory process that reading represents. If current trends continue, says George Steiner, the joy that comes from attending to a demanding text, mastering the grammar, memorising and concentrating, “may once more become the practice of an elite, of a mandarinate of silences”.

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Academic Digital

Digital Culture

Digital Culture

digitalculturebooks is an imprint of the University of Michigan Press and the Scholarly Publishing Office of the University of Michigan Library dedicated to publishing innovative work in new media studies and the emerging field of digital humanities.digitalculturebooks seeks to explore all aspects of new media and its impact on society, culture, and scholarly communication and will present work that exhibits and advances the understanding of the relationship between humanities and digital technologies. The series aspires to both investigate and demonstrate new forms of scholarly practice in the humanities.

digitalculturebooks is an experimental publishing strategy with a strong research component. By making our content available in print and online, we intend to:

  • develop an open and participatory publishing model that adheres to the highest scholarly standards of review and documentation;
  • develop a model for press/library collaboration at Michigan and elsewhere;
  • showcase and extend Michigan’s leading role in the development of digital resources;
  • encourage and participate in a national dialogue about the future of scholarly communication.

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