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Old 02-02-2013, 08:20 PM   #1
derangedhermit
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Can technology improve the reading experience?

I see reading competing with other forms of entertainment for leisure time. Specifically, I see the video / movie experience continue to be improved by technology - better sounds, better sound reproduction, better visual experience, e.g. 4K, 3D, etc.

As far as I can tell, reading, from a technology point of view, reached a very satisfactory level with a well-designed and printed book or magazine during the second half of the 20th century. e-readers add some convenience factors. But reading is still more or less reading.

I can't really envision how technology can help the activity of reading compete in the same way as technology will continue to make video more compelling. Am I missing something? Doesn't this put reading at a disadvantage in some ways over the long haul?
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Old 02-02-2013, 08:31 PM   #2
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I can't really envision how technology can help the activity of reading compete in the same way as technology will continue to make video more compelling.
Most of Project Gutenberg's books are not at my local library. Same for maybe half of the books I find in Brooklyn's Overdrive collection. And then there are a lot of essays I get to with my Kindle that I never would have read without the technology.

So technology did make my reading better -- more diverse, I would say.

Since I rarely watch TV anymore, and only go to the movies a couple times a year, I can't respond to your compelling video comparison.
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Old 02-02-2013, 09:59 PM   #3
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Reading is going to remain text on a page - whether that page is paper, LCD or e-ink - but while the basics won't change, there are improvements. Having a library at your fingers and being able to change the font are huge enhancements.
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Old 02-02-2013, 10:14 PM   #4
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This is about technology and mostly to do with age. I used to watch hours upon hours of tv as a kid up to my mid 20s, until I realized that nothing original was being put out and everything was geared to kids.

Once I realized that, I switched to reading fan fic on my pc since books were on the expensive side, and I was unable to adust the size of the text of paperbooks. Now that I have my ereader with it's adjustable font sizes and an endless selection of books for free or that I'm able to afford I spend more time reading.

I simply out grew the idiocy of the tv and expanded my reading, first on the pc and then with my ereader which I am able to take EVERYWHERE.
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Old 02-02-2013, 10:19 PM   #5
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Old 02-02-2013, 10:38 PM   #6
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I've learned science from textbooks, and you have to concentrate and go slow. It's nothing like this silly video.

Is there any evidence that being able to turn a DNA model in 3D is going to made it easier to understand how the amino acids fit together? I find it implausible. As for calling up your friends, what makes us so sure they have mastered the material? Instead, the student needs to save up questions for the recitation or office hours.

The way I want to supplement text material I don't understand is to read a differently worded explanation. Wikipedia is good for this. Paying $500 to get iPad eye-candy -- which for most US undergradautes means $500 more in student loans -- makes little sense.
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Old 02-02-2013, 10:44 PM   #7
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I think you aren't seeing the forest for the trees Steve.

The OP's question is: Can technology improve the reading experience?

Caesar simply pointed to a video that demonstrated what technologies were out there to make the reading experience better. It happened to be an ad for a particular company, but it was a great example of what technology can do nonetheless.

The functionality for all that is built into the new ePub 3 specification. As more devices/apps fully implement ePub 3 we will be able to see these kinds of "books" regularly...for a very low price.

Cheers,
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Old 02-02-2013, 11:07 PM   #8
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I see reading competing with other forms of entertainment for leisure time. Specifically, I see the video / movie experience continue to be improved by technology - better sounds, better sound reproduction, better visual experience, e.g. 4K, 3D, etc.

As far as I can tell, reading, from a technology point of view, reached a very satisfactory level with a well-designed and printed book or magazine during the second half of the 20th century. e-readers add some convenience factors. But reading is still more or less reading.

I can't really envision how technology can help the activity of reading compete in the same way as technology will continue to make video more compelling. Am I missing something? Doesn't this put reading at a disadvantage in some ways over the long haul?
I don't think that technological advances in video have put reading at a disadvantage. The biggest hit reading took was during the 50's and early 60's, when TV became dominant. HD and flatscreen TVs made video better, but I don't think they caused one additional person not to read.

I suspect that the ability to record and playback video not only improved video, but also made it easier for people to read, since it gives you more control over your time.

But there are two significant technological improvements that that have helped reading (or at least books). The first is ereaders/tablets, which can allow a lot of people who were not able to read due to vision issues the ability to continue to read. (I have a late relative who left a lot of money to a large-print book foundation about 20 years ago because of how the large-print books allowed her to continue reading as her vision declined; with an e-reader all books are now large-print books).

The second technological development would be, IMO, audiobooks. While you don't "read" audiobooks, they are books, written by authors, and have given a lot more people the ability to "read" books because they can create more time to read. I have a 40-60 minute RT commute every day, and I use that time to listen to audiobooks. That's time for reading (or "reading") that I would otherwise never have.
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Old 02-02-2013, 11:39 PM   #9
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Caesar simply pointed to a video that demonstrated what technologies were out there to make the reading experience better.
Better isn't subjective when it comes to science learning. At least at the university level, it can be objectively measured by testing. There was zero evidence in the video that what it showed increases learning, probably because it does not.

See: E-textbooks Effectiveness Studied

Quote:
While they found that learning is possible from both formats, learning from e-textbooks takes longer and requires more effort to reach the same level of understanding, even in a controlled lab environment. At home, students report taking even more time to read e-textbooks as well as higher rates of muti-tasking (e.g., Facebook, electronic chat, texting, email, etc.) than do their peers using printed textbooks. . . .

Daniel’s previous results also showed that students are not likely to use the added multimedia features that make some-textbooks interactive. The links to these modules are typically imbedded within the text, but students generally want to finish the reading first. Those reading e-textbooks were more likely to skip embedded multimedia and hyperlinks than they would if they used a free website connected to the printed textbook.
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Old 02-02-2013, 11:43 PM   #10
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I'm currently re-reading a paperback I bought in 1980.

Try as I might, I can't find a way to increase the font size.
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Old 02-03-2013, 12:11 AM   #11
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Better isn't subjective when it comes to science learning. At least at the university level, it can be objectively measured by testing. There was zero evidence in the video that what it showed increases learning, probably because it does not.
I think you are the one who has narrowed this down to "Science Learning". The point is making reading better - not learning. The link was a simple demonstration of available technology....not an argument that all science classes must use that particular program.

However, since you did bring it up, having access to a wide range of learning styles (kinesthetic, tactual, auditory, and visual) all in one device/book would seem to make it easier for a broader range of people to learn than from a single media like a printed book.
I would be very surprised and confused if a person reading a paper text would be able to touch a word and bring up Facebook so I'm not sure why that comparison would be included....that seems more of a focus/task concentration issue rather than a medium for learning issue.

Back to the topic...
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Old 02-03-2013, 12:43 AM   #12
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I'm currently re-reading a paperback I bought in 1980.

Try as I might, I can't find a way to increase the font size.
You need one of those plastic fresnel lens sheets... I think they make them as small as a credit card.
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Old 02-03-2013, 01:54 AM   #13
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I can't really envision how technology can help the activity of reading compete in the same way as technology will continue to make video more compelling. Am I missing something? Doesn't this put reading at a disadvantage in some ways over the long haul?
Many people have said that the adjustable font sizes has greatly improved their reading experience, enough that they went from "former reader" to "avid current reader."

The instant-dictionary in many ereaders also helps a lot of people get more out of their reading--they don't have to stop what they're doing to look up an unfamiliar word.

3-d video and other "app-ish" functions can enhance some books, but I'm willing to posit those don't affect "reading" the way the font sizes do.

Ability to carry a hundred books is definitely a reading enhancement for me. So's the plethora of free ebooks available, something that wouldn't be possible without computer and internet technology.

For many, the e-ink glow readers are a great enhancement; they can read in settings where they formerly couldn't, and without the eyestrain and short battery life that the lcd screens have.

The social aspects that several sites have tried to set up might be good too, if they'd ever figure out how to do it with books not bought from a single site. As a walled-garden thing, it's a minor novelty for those who like it; if they ever open it up, it could be an amazing enhancement, especially for students.

The first company that figures out how to specialize an ereader for the academic and business markets will revolutionize both areas. Unfortunately, almost nobody's interested in designing better hardware; they're all focused on tying the hardware to a book store. And academic & business uses need a lot more support for personal documents, which don't make any money for ereader sellers.
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Old 02-03-2013, 07:37 AM   #14
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Technology can improve anything.
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Old 02-03-2013, 07:40 AM   #15
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I object to the premise "humans are the only species that is curious" - what bullsh*t.
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