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Technology and Our Mind

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Before technology arose, classrooms had teachers giving lectures while writing key notes on a chalkboard. Students took notes, did assignments, and completed tests that would then be handed in and graded by the teacher. Many schools are eliminating these traditional elements of a classroom. Primary goals are now to replace chalkboards with smart boards, an electronic teaching device that allows teachers to create interactive lectures and assignments and display them through a projector. You can also digitally draw on a smartboard which allows it to be used exactly as a chalkboard with less hassle. Tablets are also taking over in schools. Allowing children to come to school without the weight of books on their back. They will be able to take notes, follow along lessons, have interactive virtual assignments, email homework and papers to the teacher for grading, store all their textbooks in one computer, and even take tests online with their tablets.

Textbooks are now interactive with web-based content. While reading, students can take assessments with instant feedback, view animations that greatly help in understanding the content, and experience other content that help with learning. Libraries are not dying, and many people still visit them. However, most research is performed online. Instead of having to skim through books for hours, we now have vast amounts of information on the internet. By typing in a few words into internet search engines, people can find huge amounts of information on any subject. Research online is amazing because it can be conducted at a library, while traveling, at home, and almost in any setting. Printed book won’t be replaced any time soon, but libraries are already feeling the need to adjust to a more tech-based environment. Technology is changing the way we read and learn thanks to the resources and devices used to reach content.

As technology evolves and perfects itself traditional ways of getting information might just become a way of the past. A peculiar new language was invented because of technology, such as rage faces and laugh out loud (lol). This technological language is found in news programs, books, TV shows, and movies. Teachers are even utilizing meme images to help students learn challenging concepts. We still have writing in an age of word processing; we still have reading in an age of video. There are Fears that the Internet and other technologies will cause the decline. Although people aren’t reading books as much as they used to, the thirst for information is still there.

The Internet restructured reading in the 21st century, something everybody realizes now. 11 years ago, about 22% of Americans chose the Internet to get their news, but in 2013, that number rose to 39%. According to Kathryn Zickuhr, Internet researcher at the Pew Research Center, 55% of Americans own a smartphone and 24% an e-reader. In 2011, only 16% of the American participants in the Pew study read an eBook, but in 2012 that number rose to 23%. Print book reading dropped from 72% to 67% from 2011 to 2012. These numbers show that there is a great rise in the preference of eBooks towards paper backs. Not only does an e-reader have the advantage of having a wider selection of books available, it allows access new books easily and quickly. As we move into a digital era of content the need for libraries to keep up with technology will not decrease. Libraries that refuse to offer online services like eBook borrowing, free access to databases, and digitized books may become neglected and forgotten. Digital reading is so closely related with reading habit and its influence on digital libraries is so great that a discussion seems desirable. In developing libraries, digital library products are sometimes scanty. They are not psychologically prepared to give up the traditional reading and transition to the new mode of digital materials.

Paper Vs Digital

With these new ways of reading, researchers have started to question whether we absorb as much from screens as we do from paper. Reading on an Internet-enabled device or with preloaded video games can be distracting. In my research many students felt they would be more likely to multitasking while reading digitally, while few felt that a hardcopy would make them more likely to multitask. Studies prior to the early 1990s show that individuals demonstrated better performance on speed, accuracy, and comprehension with paper texts. However, reading comprehension varied according to the text length and structure. Since the early 1990s screen technology has advanced. Some research shows no difference between paper and screens

Some recent research shows no difference between paper and screens Aiming to control for some of the above factors, Porion et al. devised a single page text which didn’t require scrolling. They assessed 72 secondary school students’ performance while reading this text on either a computer screen or paper. They looked at the students’ ability to understand and remember the text, and if they could link the text with information already in their memory. Results showed that the type of media did not affect their performance. Margolin, Driscoll, Toland & Little Kegler also found no significant differences in young adults’ understanding when they read from either a computer screen, ereader, or paper. But what about young developing readers? Hisrich & Blanchard say that, “these media are exerting a mostly unknown influence on emerging literacy skills.” Some researchers, such as Wolf, Ullman Shade & Gottwald, fear that digital reading may negatively impact our “reading circuit”.

While humans have a natural predisposition for oral language, reading requires time and effort. Its mastery depends on a neural rearrangement of already existing, genetically programmed systems such as the visual and oral language systems. The neuroplasticity of our brains allows for new connections among these existing systems. The brain of each new reader continues to be rewired over time until a new reading circuit is formed. As you could see technology is here to stay. Our job now is to ensure that young readers develop the skills they need to read, whether it be on a screen or on paper.


Today we can see that many students are using technology for assistance with their academic needs. It is recommended that we continue to monitor student’s usage and attitudes toward technology and find ways to best support those students who are not using the technology. Further studies are needed to address how using technology may contribute to the long-term retention of knowledge and skills such as interpersonal communication, psychomotor (a skill that requires the involvement of both mental and physical abilities), and cognitive skills within different courses.

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