In the era of Screen, Is Paper outdated?

In the era of Screen, Is Paper outdated?

April 19, 2020 0 By Jirasak Thawornwiriyanan

Paper or Glass?

Paper or Screen? Which one do you prefer? Advances in technology are pushing screens into schools like never before. Laptops or iPad are popular to use in university and classroom. So what does this drive toward digital classrooms mean for that oldest and simplest of touch screens: a plain old sheet of paper?
For several years there’s been an ongoing debate about reading habits. With globalization fueling the digitalization of most businesses, the time spent reading has largely shifted to screens. Does this mean printed texts are soon to be obsolete? As there is been an ongoing dabate, so I researched some interesting facts from a new report called “Paper and Productive Learning”. It’s pretty full of pro-paper information. “In many ways, paper is still the most important technology for productive learning,” it says.

Here are just a few of the fun facts and findings:

  • 96 percent of parents think that paper is “an essential part of children being able to achieve their educational goals.”
  • Among junior high and high school students, 70 percent prepare for tests by taking handwritten class notes, and 60 percent make and use flashcards.
  • 50 percent of seventh- and eighth-graders agree they “learn information best if they write it down by hand.”
  • College students like paper, too: 81 percent, for example, say they always or often use paper tools to prepare for exams.

These facts are a reminder of how pervasive paper remains in schools today, and it’s not just the paper industry saying it. Obviously, the strongest argument for paper over digital seems to be in the area of taking notes. 
On the other hand, It is absolutely clear that screens and technology have great potential to improve learning in areas like special education. Also, computers can reach millions of students in ways print never could. Moreover, Smartphones, text messages and other technologies are changing schools and learning in profound ways: in areas like student engagement and financial aid and parental involvement.

It is apparent, this topic seems to be unsolvable issue so, let’s look at some different aspects below:

Which is Better for Reading and Learning?

In terms of learning and memory, or how we process information, is there any difference between reading on paper and reading on a screen?
It’s a question researchers still haven’t answered. Reading a text on a screen is different compared to reading it printed on paper. But how do they differ? According to BBC article, Young people prefer to read on screen, describes the rapid shift to screens among children, with over 50% preferring screen to print, and how this affects reading ability. There are many pros and cons of reading print or screen texts. It’s an emotional issue as many book lovers feel threatened by a digital takeover and the possible demise of books and newspapers.

I found an article from last year by Cindy Orr. In the article include reviews research evidence for a significant difference between screen and print reading and finds that previously perceived differences are slowly disappearing. Here’s some ideas from the article:

  • We’re reading much faster on the screen today than a few years ago and studies indicate that the gap is narrowing into insignificance.
  • Comprehension levels are about the same even if many people think they understand a print text better.
  • We feel much more comfortable with screen reading especially with the advent of tablets.
  • Our reading behaviour, in terms of eye movements, is very similar between print and screen.

Conclusively, I would say that reading is reading whatever the delivery medium. I’m sure you can read as deeply on a screen as you do in a print book. Digital reading can be distracting if you choose to keep the distractions active but the same is true with print. If you try to read a complex print book with the TV on, music in your headset or with friends or family in the same room your concentration will be equally impaired. Once again it’s about focus.

Is it Dangerous to Read From a Screen?

Mostly every new technology makes our lives easier in many ways, but they can also cause worries and troubles in both actual and imaginary. According from research, Reading from computers and tablets can damage the eyes and the muscles that support them, causing eye strain, fatigue, and headaches. But e-readers may offer some benefits over traditional books. Back lighting can reduce eye strain, so avid readers of screens should choose digital book readers. So what’s the right choice? It depends on the reader, on how they use digital devices, and on personal preference. Ultimately, reading from screens is unlikely to cause serious harm, but it might involve less in-depth reading than a paper book offers.

In consequence, this is how to save your eyes from screens video for e-readers and for the one who is reading my blog 😉

Screens Already Influence Our Reading Habits

First of all, emails have mostly replaced hand-written and printed letter in terms of communication. Also, Social Media is very popular and many people spend a lot of their spare time using it, so the general public is quite used to reading on screens. After digital technology has already quasi-obsoleted CDs in music, DVDs in motion picture, and papers in news, the e-reader was supposed to be the next big thing to shake up an entire industry. It seems that most people, especially passionate readers, who purchase books favor the printed version over the digital one. This explains that after a continuous growth at the beginning, e-book sales have leveled at about 10 percent in most countries.

Paper and Screens Serve Different Purposes

This aspect seems neutral because in reality, there is only very slight competition between printed and digital texts since both server different needs. For reading longer, more complicated texts, printing on paper is the way to go, but for shorter texts, like articles or Social Media posts, digital seems to be in a favorable position.

To summarize, everyone need to making the right choice, I think it depends on the reader, on how they use digital devices, and on personal preference. Ultimately, reading from screens is unlikely to cause serious harm, but it might involve less in-depth reading than a paper book offers.

What is your answer for this topic? – do you prefer to read on paper or electronic texts from the screen or are you a mixed reader? Tell me in the comments!