Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Is the digital immersion solely to blame?

After reading Konnikova's article, "Being A Better Online Reader", I was able to gain a new understanding of the difficulties we all face when trying to mesh traditional textbook educations with modern online resources. Many people are quick to blame the internet itself for the issues of misunderstanding that arise in education when technology is involved, but I have always felt that way of thinking to be flawed. The advances in modern technology should be celebrated for the opportunities that they provide for education, not blamed for lower comprehension rates. That being said, I still have always found that I prefer reading on paper than on a computer. Oftentimes, I will print out articles sent to me by professors, just so I can read them on paper. I prefer annotating on paper. So, when we were assigned to tackle annotating Konnikova's article on the computer, I knew it was going to be challenging-- and it was.

I chose to simply copy and paste the article into a word document and save it as a PDF file in Adobe. My first challenge was attempting to figure out how to annotate the article, but that was easily solved when I figured out that I needed to use the "Comments" tab and not the "Tools" tab on Adobe.
Once I found the tool that would let me highlight and add notes, I was definitely past the hard part. As I read, I came to notice that I was highlighting passages that I felt connected to or that surprised me. This process made me more aware of the information I was reading, allowing me to "read deeply", as Konnikova would say. I especially connected to these two passages:



The first passage made me think about how distracting technology can be in general. I mean, if I'm being honest, I definitely took a couple of Facebook breaks while reading this article. I liked the second passage because it does not look to place the blame of distraction solely on technology, but on the tendency of the reader to be distracted. 

It's not necessarily technology's fault that reading online tends to be more difficult for some people; instead it is the simple fact that we don't understand how to successfully read online yet, but we can learn. Just by reading and annotating this article, I found that I'm less distracted when I'm reading the article in Adobe and not on the Internet, because there are no ads to distract me or open tabs to social media to tempt me. After reading this article and trying some new methods myself, I'm optimistic that understanding our behaviors and learning how to adapt to online reading will lead to better comprehension on materials via modern technology and, as a result, a better education. 

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