Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Textbooks are More Effective than iPads

Nobody claims that iPads are not needed or even harmful. On the contrary, they are practical and modern. To say the opposite is to resist evolution. iPad is indispensable, for example, during travel, especially if you are limited in luggage.

It’s always possible to use the Internet to find interesting information or to visit your favorite essay writing service. This cannot be disputed. Most of the people sometimes read on a smartphone or e-book, due to a working need or just a common sense.

But still, for many people paper textbooks remain preferable. And this is not just a whim, because reading from paper cannot be fully equated with reading from a display. There are data from several studies showing that information from paper books is absorbed better.

But even this is not the main thing. It’s worth asking what we want to get from the process itself, from the contemplation of objectivity, materiality, and psychology of a book.

Research on the topic

Specialists of the research company Nielsen Norman Group conducted a simple experiment. Volunteers were offered to read one of Ernest Hemingway’s short stories on different media. Those who got a paper book dealt with the work of the classic most quickly. Their average result was 17 minutes and 20 seconds. Users of iPad spent 6.2% more time.

And the reading of the same story on the electronic book took another 10.7%. It also turned out that the material read on the paper is remembered and “digested” better than the story told by kilobytes and pixels.

A professor from the University of Leicester (Great Britain) invited psychology students to read the difficult text. To complicate the task, he chose non-core discipline – the economy. It turned out that the students who read the fundamental article on paper needed to re-read it a fewer number of times in order to understand the essence of the matter. In addition, several weeks later, they better reproduced the main arguments and theses of the publication.

A professor from the University of Stavanger (Norway), working with two groups of Lyceum students, came to the conclusion that the same pattern is observed not only in the reading of scientific works but also during acquaintance with fiction and journalistic publications.

When reading paper books, the efficiency of the work of students is 7% higher than when using gadgets. In one of the studies, the physiological reactions of the organism were recorded. It turned out that the activity of the sympathetic nervous system (which stimulates the work of the heart) is much more pronounced when reading a paper book – this level is increased by 31.68%. The electronic book stimulates the body almost two times weaker – 17.23%.

This means that a text on a paper is perceived much brighter, and the words describe the events better. By the way, that’s why it’s worth not expecting that gadgets will instill a love of reading in a child. It will be much harder for the stories from electronic media to attract his attention.

The magic of the printed word

Even if the original purpose of the book is to carry the information, it is something much more significant. Besides text, the book is filled with stable symbolic values accumulated in the collective memory over the centuries.

Books are magic items. They were the main means of preserving and transmitting cultural knowledge. They deserved a respectful and sometimes reverential attitude. Powerful cults were built around books. They became the sacred part of the civilization of the spirit.

People performed ritual actions with them: swore an oath or made a sacrifice putting the manuscript into the fire. Transition to a digital format means desacralization. The book is no longer an artifact. The magic has died. Loss of individuality reduces the degree of immersion in the text.

The sacred lines that make the heart beat faster remain only a file on the iPad, a ghostly phenomenon of the micro world invisible for an eye, a mathematical algorithm that you most likely do not fully understand.

You cannot even be completely sure that during the time you stored an archive on the flash memory, no new errors appeared in the text, that it is the same document as before. In this respect, the paper book is much more faithful to you. It can be worn out, but it will keep the content unchanged.

The fight for space

In the rejection of paper books, the argument often arises that they take up a lot of space in the house. Yes, they do. But is it possible to say that having freed themselves from books, people have expanded the space for life? No, they immediately filled it with other items, such as clothing and equipment. There is an unequal substitution under the guise of liberation.

Things which promote the development of the personality are driven out of the living space by purely domestic or even excessive garbage, such as an overly extensive wardrobe. But books contain infinite space through which your consciousness can travel.

Approximately the same situation is observed with the cost of books. Are you really sure that by saving money, you will spend it on something more important or necessary for life? Everything that you have gained will turn into nothing, into the dust of time, which you will not even remember, unlike a good book.

Is it too expensive? Well, firstly, not that much. And anyway, a good book cannot be cheap. If this is a well-made edition, it is pleasant to hold it in hands, and you can proudly give it to someone else, it is worth the price set.

The end is a new beginning

Electronic gadgets become more and more popular. It is an inevitable process. Each year their market share increases. Practicality always prevails over tradition. But the culture of printed literature will still be preserved. Connoisseurs of paper books will come to each other on a visit.

First of all, they will look at the bookshelves and note that their tastes are similar or different. They will take the books in their hands, flip through, examine, lend, exchange, and collect the good editions. Books always united and will unite people who understand their magic.


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