Saturday, January 20, 2024

Dead Trees Are Not Obsolete

1/17/24 Guardian:
"Using a sample of 59 children aged 10 to 12, a team led by Dr Karen Froud asked its subjects to read original texts in both formats while wearing hair nets filled with electrodes that permitted the researchers to analyze variations in the children’s brain responses. Performed in a laboratory at Teachers College with strict controls, the study – which has not yet been peer reviewed – used an entirely new method of word association in which the children “performed single-word semantic judgment tasks” after reading the passages.

Vital to the usefulness of the study was the age of the participants – a three-year period that is “critical in reading development” – since fourth grade is when a crucial shift occurs from what another researcher describes as “learning to read” to “reading to learn”

"Froud and her team are cautious in their conclusions and reluctant to make hard recommendations for classroom protocol and curriculum. Nevertheless, the researchers state: “We do think that these study outcomes warrant adding our voices … in suggesting that we should not yet throw away printed books, since we were able to observe in our participant sample an advantage for depth of processing when reading from print.”"

It is possible that adults are not similarly disadvantaged but putting a substantial cohort of America's children in online education for a year and a half may turn out to be the biggest damage done by COVID and the panicmongers.

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