Tom Campbell: Down with digital

December 17, 2013 

Your Dec. 16 news article “State’s textbook fund falls short” said that North Carolina public education will be shifting entirely to digital textbooks starting in 2017, and that Wake, Orange and Guilford counties are already well down the digital road.

Meanwhile, the summary of an April article in Scientific American titled “The reading brain in the digital age” stated that: “Studies in the past two decades indicate that people often understand and remember text on paper better than on a screen. Screens may inhibit comprehension by preventing people from intuitively navigating and mentally mapping long texts. In general, screens are also more cognitively and physically taxing than paper. ... Preliminary research suggests that even so-called digital natives are more likely to recall the gist of a story when they read it on paper.”

Before we make North Carolina’s public education even worse than it already is, our public officials need to go back to school and learn more about the reality of digital textbooks. And parents might start asking why their children are going to be taught by a method that research is showing to be inferior.

Tom Campbell

Durham

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