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Published
Oct 17 2012

E-Books: The Controversy Part Two

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The second major controversy surrounding e-books and reading comprehension is that e-books make it harder to remember what you just read.    Author Maia Szalavitz of Time Magazine explores the connection between print texts, e-books, and retention of information.  I have read several studies that suggest no difference, but the study Szalavitz cites mentions that the "landmarks" and "context" that print texts provide help our brains recall information better.  For example, the position on the page, how far into the book, the caption under the graphic -  all of these "locations" can help us recall information more rapidly.   The argument is that e-books do not provide the same spatial experience for our minds, and that makes it harder to recall information read on an e-book.

Personally, I think the brain research is fascinating, and I'd love to see more about this topic!    I am wondering if certain genres would be better for one medium versus another.  I am also wondering if there are certain learning styles that would prefer e-books over print books and vice-versa.  

Says You:  Anecdotally, do you find it harder to recall information from an e-book?  What are your thoughts on spatial reasoning and memory recall?   Please share your experiences!

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<p>In my own experiences with e-readers, I have not found that my reading memory was limited or impacted in a negative way. But I agree that the brain research now underway is fascinating, and it both intrigues and alarms me as a teacher and parent. What is technology doing to the pathways in the brains of our students and our children? And am I playing a role in that rewiring by using technology as a centerpiece in my writing curriculum?</p> <p>Kevin</p>