Welcome to The CITE -- a blog on Course materials, Innovation, and Technology in Education, created by Mark Nelson and now part of the Publications Department of the National Association of College Stores. CITE is a pun with multiple meanings - referring to cite as in citation, something people reference; site as in location, website, or place people go to; and sight as in foresight or looking ahead to what is coming. Comments, discussion, feedback and ideas are welcome.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Learning with Digital

An interesting article from USA Today discusses how well students can learn with digital technologies. The article points out that while there are many benefits to digital learning, there are also some challenges to keep in mind.

One of the challenges is learning how to make sense out of an increased amount of information. Richard Mayer, psychology professor at the University of California-Santa Barbara noted, “The challenge for working in the electronic age is that we have so much access to information but we still have the same brain we always had. The problem is not access to information. It is integrating that information and making sense out of it."

Another challenge is student study habits. Research from the Journal of Educational Psychology indicates that when students have poor study habits on paper the same habits transfer to digital learning. In a second article from Science Daily, one of the authors of the report, Ken Kiewra, noted that teachers will need to help students learn new strategies to study more effectively with digital technologies.

A third challenge is the distraction that technology can cause. Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions analyzed student study habits and found that some students put away their laptops, cell phones, or other devices when it was time to study because distractions were just a click away.

While digital learning presents some challenges it also creates opportunities. As Jeff Olson, vice president of research for Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions, points out, advances in technology “represent very real potential to remake education for the better. The potential for the textbook to come alive with interactivity ... will make the next several years of e-book innovation fascinating to watch."

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