Most people agree that the Internet is a force for good, and we owe much of our changes and advancement to it. Introducing virtual bookstores and e-books provided access to a much wider range of textbooks. Not only this, but individuals can now self-publish and bypass traditional publishing methods. Electronic devices like computers, smartphones, and tablets make studying more portable and convenient. Despite its good intention, we all know there are growing concerns over using the web and how we study. Has the net improved or weakened the literary culture? This article explores the advantages and disadvantages of e-reading and compares it to traditional literacy methods. Let’s get to it.
Traditional reading vs. online reading
Virtual studying is a common way for students to read. But according to research, the traditional method is the better choice. But that’s not to fault virtual studying. Reading is a complex mental interaction between the reader and the text. It includes memory, attention, language, reasoning, and more. There are two types of reading:
- Linear: this is also known as deep or slow reading. Here, the reader reads the article from left to right and from the start to the end.
- Non-linear: instead of studying thoroughly, the reader skims and jumps to different sections.
Virtual reading is fast-paced, versatile, and easy to understand. On the other hand, traditional reading encourages linear studying and is linked to greater satisfaction. Studying on paper appears old-fashioned. But it provides more engagement for the brain. When you hold a novel, you track the number of pages you studied and how many remain. Not only this, but you often flip pages to reread sections as needed and set a landscape that helps the memory center become more active.
Traditional studying engages all the senses. You touch, see, feel, hear pages flip, and smell the textbook. Unlike e-reading, you won’t fall into the habit of mindlessly scrolling or distractions. Physical articles help the brain construct a map and increase retention and comprehension. Although it is easier to get information digitally, the brain processes reading offline from paper differently. Physical readers are more intentional, and the habit increases comprehension.
The advantages and disadvantages of e-reading
The net has revolutionized reading. It is convenient, cheaper, and more flexible. Below are the pros and cons of virtual studying:
Easy accessibility and book report writing
In today’s changed digital world, it is easy to get articles. Why plan a visit to a bookstore when you have an opportunity to download it on your tablet device? E-reading is versatile, as most articles are available digitally. You can write a book report online, download an assignment review, read various essays and articles, and source materials from different websites. Not only this, but you may pay an online writer to help you write an article report and complete other tasks. E-books let you explore many topics, download for later use, and highlight and learn complex words on the web. Sometimes when you miss the point, hyperlinks reduce confusion.
Portable and affordable
E-books are available anywhere as long as you have a web connection. Although, this means you can’t access it without a mobile device and an internet connection. This explains why some government programs include free computers or tablets for students. It reduces the burden of carrying a publication, and you don’t need to worry about storage and maintenance. E-reading is cheaper, and the cost of printing articles is higher. The former allows you to increase your knowledge by learning different perspectives and is readily available.
Eco-friendly and fast
Traditional articles require paper, which is sourced from trees. E-books remove the need for paper and are easier on the planet. They were developed to save time. You can download thousands of articles on one device, join virtual discussion forums, and search for solutions at the click of a button.
Lack of satisfaction
E-books don’t have the same effects on the brain as physical ones. It deprives you of the pleasure of holding a printed novel with a cup of coffee and turning the pages to see how much you have covered and how much is left to complete. Most e-reading runs on autopilot, and you can easily click the next link without using much brain power. As a result, it is less structured.
Shorter attention spans and proficiency
The net is decreasing people’s ability to study and comprehend carefully. According to the famous “Is Google Making Us Stupid” analysis, the web is causing us to lose our attention span and ability to think deeply about long pieces of text. Instead of trying to get the meaning of an article, we power browse by skimming the article, which leads to weaker comprehension.
Requires device and might affect your visual health
The biggest drawback of reading books virtually is that you can’t study without a device. Prolonged screen usage also alters your eyes and sleep cycle. Like watching television or playing video games, prolonged e-reading causes headaches. The situation is worse if you don’t have anti-blue light glasses or the font size and lighting are not adjustable.
Risk of loss and distraction
Printed works risk physical damage or loss, while virtual textbooks are exposed to possible cybercrime and unintentional deletion. If a country is vulnerable to a spyware attack, breaking through a phone’s security is a piece of cake. Virtual readers have a weak attention span as their eyes wander around the screen and skip vital details. Plus, you are only an external app notification away from abandoning the publication for a more interesting activity.
The effects of the Internet on reading
The net has expanded scholarly culture and its reach. It allows you to interact with texts, form and identify with social media communities worldwide, and teach, learn, and interact with texts in ways traditional reading doesn’t allow. Despite its advantages, it does not encourage deep studying. For example, a 2500 pages casebook at a law university is designed to be studied in print and not on a laptop screen. If you try to read it on a device, you will experience great difficulty and exhaustion.
Virtual studying is convenient but shallow. Too many distractions make it challenging to concentrate on studying. But on the upside, you can now carry a virtual library wherever you go. E-books let you highlight and take notes and are great for research.
The net has impacted how we read. Thanks to the abundant information at our fingertips, we rely more on technology to solve problems and study less. Instead of deep studying, students read faster by skimming more texts and multitasking. It allows you to find what you want to study. The web has also impacted how articles are produced and distributed. Both virtual and print reading are established in our everyday lives. Like the best of both worlds, it is not an either/or choice. The key is to find which medium best suits the purpose for which you are studying.