Posts Tagged ‘skimming’

Print vs. Screen or Digital Media

October 20, 2018

What is most bothersome about “READER COME HOME: The Reading Brain in the Digital World” by Maryanne Wolf is the way she contrasts print media versus the new screen or digital media. Readers might mistakenly think that the solution to this problem is to use print media and eschew screen or digital media. The reality is that in the future this might be impossible as conventional print media might be found only in museums or special libraries. But what is key to understanding is that unfortunate habits tend to develop when using screen/digital media. Moreover, the unfortunate habits are the result of a feeling of needing to be plugged in with digital media. It is these habits, skimming, superficial processing, and multi-tasking that are the true culprits here.

These same practices can be found using print matter and they are not always bad. Reading the newspaper, in either print or digital form, HM’s attention is dictated by his interests. Initially he is skimming, but when he finds something interesting he focuses his attention and reads deeply. If it turns out that he already knows the material, or that the material is a bunch of crap. He resumes skimming. This is the reason he does not like televised news since it includes material he would like to ignore or skip over. HM finds it annoying that the phrase “Breaking News” is frequently heard. Frankly, he would prefer “Already considered and processed news.” Unless there is a natural catastrophe or some imminent danger, there is no reason the news can’t wait for further context under which it can be processed.

Frankly, HM would never have been able to complete his Ph.D, had he not developed this ability. His work is interdisciplinary, so he must read in different areas. He skims until he finds relevant material. Then he focuses and quizzes himself to assure he is acquiring the relevant material. Sometimes this might be a matter of bookmarking it with the goal of returning when there would be sufficient time to process the material. Even if the topic is one with which he is familiar, he will assess whether there is anything new that requires his attention. There is simply too much material and too little time. Strategies need to be employed. The risk from current technology is that the technology is driving the process rather than the individual using the technology effectively.

We are not victims of technology unless we passively allow ourselves to become victims of technology. Students need to be taught how to use the technology and what practices need to be abandoned. One of these is being continually plugged in, but there are also social issues that need to be addressed.

© Douglas Griffith and healthymemory.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Douglas Griffith and healthymemory.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Wired Millennials Still Prefer the Printed Word

March 27, 2015

This is the title to a front page article n the February 23 Washington Post written by Michael S. Rosenwald.  This took me by surprise.  I am a Baby Boomer and I am transitioning to the iPAD and loving it.  According to the article 87% of college textbooks were print books.  I can understand why there would be a preference for conventional textbooks.  But the article also said that they preferred conventional books for fiction.  The immediately preceding healthy memory blog post did state that people have a more difficult time following plots in electronic media.  My experience here is just the opposite, I prefer my iPAD for fiction.    One of my primary motivations for moving to electronic media is logistical.  There no longer are adequate  bookcases for shelving.   That plus the ease in carrying an electronic library with one strongly motivates me, but apparently most students still prefer schlepping their books in backpacks.  The more I use electronic media, the more accessible it becomes.  And I am fairly confident that electronic books in the future will develop features that make them even easier to use.

The Post article indicated that millennials tend to skim electronic media.
Apparently the vast amount of material on the web causes people to skim so they have developed bad habits.  I found this alarming as the nature of the media should not determine how fast one reads.  Rather the nature/difficulty of the content should determine reading speed so that one is processing the material to its appropriate depth.  And, when necessary, material should be reread.  I get a charge out of speed reading courses that promise reading speed of x words per minute.  These promised speeds need to include the nature of the material being read.  There is material that, no matter how slowly I read, I .  am unable to comprehend. So here are my words of advice from a Baby Boomer to all Millennials.  Regardless of the medium, adjust your reading speed to achieve the level of comprehension you want to achieve

© Douglas Griffith and healthymemory.wordpress.com, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Douglas Griffith and healthymemory.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.