Teaching with Moodle

Article: What I Learned about Computers and Paper in My Classroom (Steve Cannici)

Matt Bury
Re: Article: What I Learned about Computers and Paper in My Classroom (Steve Cannici)
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Hi Andy & Visvanath,

Thanks for your contributions and insights smile

Cognitive cost of screens

I have to agree that digital devices (and screens in general) are a poor substitute for printed resources in many cases (but not all). I've read more studies than I can remember that point out that reading on screen comes at a significantly higher cognitive cost than reading on the printed page. Then there's the organisational aspects that the article I linked to focused on.

Both printed and electronic resources have their affordances and constraints. I suspect that in most cases, course materials are changed little in the transfer from print to screen and so lose the many affordances of print and gain the constraints of screens. Many post-secondary online courses (that I've seen) tend to be reading courses, i.e. reading papers, articles, and chapters from books and then answering questions/prompts about the topics and/or having discussions with classmates in forums (and very often, little else!). Based on what I understand of the cognitive cost of reading on screen, I'd recommend that students print out any electronic documents in order to read them, especially if the subject matter is difficult/challenging.

Managing documents

Personally, I use a bibliography manager ( https://www.zotero.org/ ) to manage my text files on my laptop (research papers, ebooks, articles, etc.). It's a bit like iTunes for documents, with some good search and filtering functions and makes finding stuff really easy. I think Mendeley ( https://www.mendeley.com/ ) is a more popular app that does similar things.

Just like learning to manage paper and books, students and teachers have to learn to manage electronic documents. I think having good software helps to a degree but we still have to learn to use it effectively.

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