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.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Study Puts E-Ink to the Test

One of the selling points of a dedicated electronic reader is the belief that E Ink is better for a reader’s eyes than the LCD screens used in tablet computers. Now, researchers from the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany, have released a study suggesting it might actually be easier to read on the LCD screen, and that retention of reading material is the same no matter how the reading is done.

A group of 57 Generation-Xers and senior citizens were tested using an electroencephalogram (EEG) machine to measure brain activity while the reading. The tests showed that while Gen-X readers used slightly less energy to read on a tablet than an e-reader or paper book, the senior citizens clearly spent less energy and time reading on the tablet.

Both test groups also showed a slightly higher error rate in answering questions after using either an e-reader or tablet device, although the researchers considered the rate small enough to be insignificant.

“Here we have a study that suggests digital textbooks are not better for students,” wrote Note Hoffelder in his blog post on The Digital Reader. “It’s a pity that this probably won’t slow down the mad dash towards the next hot trend.”

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