Reading and Writing on a Screen: Benefits and Drawbacks

Posted by InfoLit Learning Community on 2/21/19 4:20 PM


Cover of Reader, Come HomeYour students likely do most or all of their writing using a computer, tablet, or other device with a screen. A few brave souls may even compose papers on their phone. Much of their reading is done online and otherwise on-screen, too. What are the benefits and drawbacks? What does it mean for creativity, learning, and critical thinking? Encourage students to examine their information consuming and producing habits with the following articles and book that should get them thinking about how different methods of reading and writing are best for different situations and individuals.

Tim Parks's "Do We Write Differently on a Screen?" takes a look back at the author's early days of waiting weeks or months for a response to articles he submitted to magazines, contrasting it with today when he can expect an answer within minutes. The author's composition process is different too, of course, a fact that he laments. For a more in-depth, yet still accessible, look at the phenomenon of screen learning in our lives, try Reader, Come Home: The Reading Brain in Digital World, in which Maryanne Wolf comes down decidedly on the side of print. On the more scholarly side is Sharon O'Malley's "There's No Easy Answer," an Inside Higher Ed article that discusses a (paywalled) SAGE research report called "Reading on Paper and Digitally: What the Past Decades of Empirical Research Reveal."

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