Technology and Plagiarism

“All my best thoughts were stolen by the ancients.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Technology and computers have become central components of modern life.  Using word processors has become such a common practice that if asked, most people know what Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V mean.   On the positive side, technology has made writing and research faster. Modern word processors make writing and editing more quickly than typewriters or handwriting.  Modern computers make changing words, correcting spelling, and moving large blocks of text easy and fast.

The internet makes information available in ways that historically would have been unbelievable.  Libraries, museums, and research journals are accessible all over the world through the internet.  The internet allows access to news in real time from all around the world. The internet has become such an essential source of information that there are individuals that say it is necessary for education.

Like most things with benefits come drawbacks.  One of the most significant disadvantages of technology on writing is how easy it is to plagiarize.  It is just as easy to grab text from someone else’s document as it is to move text around your document. Fortunately, like many things’ technology evolves along two fronts. People start reading your documents we developed encryption. Hackers create viruses, spyware, and trojans companies develop anti-virus software.

To counteract the increasing ease of plagiarism tools have been developed to identify it. Many schools are integrating Plagiarism checkers directly into their Learning Management Systems (LMS).  Additionally, using the schools LMS to accept assignment digitally allows for automatic plagiarism detection. In addition to commercial tools today, there are also free tools. The availability of free tools means even if your school does not have a plagiarism checker, you can still make use of one to test your students’ assignments.  However, what does it mean to “check” the material?

Several years ago, the school I was working at had a contract with Turnitin.com.  When faculty sent an assignment to Turnitin.com, the program generated a similarity report.  Turnitin.com uses a 0-100% scale where the percentage is the amount of the paper that is similar to other sources. Faculty would always ask what number means plagiarism. The faculty wanted an exact number, at X% the student committed plagiarism.

Unfortunately, it is not always that clear. Technically a single sentence can be plagiarism.  The previous sentence is seven words long 0.6% of this document, and if I had stolen that sentence, it would be plagiarism.  The definition of Plagiarizing “: to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own: use (another’s production) without crediting the source” (Merriam-Webster) does not include a word length.  If a writer takes another person’s text and attempts to pass it off as their own, no matter how short or long, it is plagiarism.

However, using the rule that any similarity score is plagiarism can also cause problems.  Most plagiarism checkers will recognize quotes and references.  Beyond that, maybe the writer forgot to add a reference or quotation marks.  Alternatively, there is a limit to how many ways a writer can write something.  Suppose a student is writing a review of a Sherlock Holmes book by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  How many ways are there to write a sentence stating where Sherlock lives?

  • Sherlock Holmes lives at 221b Baker Street.
  • Sherlock Holmes lived at 221b Baker Street, London, England.
  • Sherlock Holmes lived in apartment b at 221 Baker street.
  • Sherlock Holmes lived in apartment b at 221 Baker Street, London, England.
  • Sherlock Holmes made his residence at 221b Baker Street.
  • Sherlock Holmes made his residence at 221b Baker Street, London, England.
  • The story began at the residence of Sherlock Holmes at 221b Baker Street.
  • The story began at the residence of Sherlock Holmes at 221b Baker Street, London, England.
  • Sherlock Holmes shared an apartment with Dr. Watson at 221b Baker Street.
  • Sherlock Holmes shared an apartment with Dr. Watson at 221b Baker Street, London, England.

I can quickly come up with ten sentences; I am sure I could come up with more without a lot of work.  I would also be utterly shocked if someone has not written these sentences before.  A Google search using the sentence “Sherlock Holmes lived at 221b Baker Street, London England.” produced 324,000 hits.  The sentence “Sherlock Holmes made his residence at 221b Baker Street.” Produced 443,000 hits. Does this mean I plagiarized them?  Well, I didn’t look them up, I didn’t copy and paste them, I created them from my memory of Sherlock Holmes address. I would say no, this is not plagiarism others might say yes, it is plagiarism.

Perhaps this is a situation in which a direct quote would be better.  With very little research I found that 221b Baker Street first appears in the book A Study in Scarlet,

“We met next day as he had arranged, and inspected the rooms at No. 221B, Baker Street, of which he had spoken at our meeting.  They consisted of a couple of comfortable bed-rooms and a single large airy sitting-room, cheerfully furnished, and illuminated by two broad windows.  So desirable in every way were the apartments, and so moderate did the terms seem when divided between us, that the bargain was concluded upon the spot, and we at once entered into possession.”

The truth of the matter is that just about any plagiarism score below 100% (maybe 90%) you are probably going to have to review yourself.  However, I have found that the schools and faculty that use plagiarism checks the best don’t only use the tools to watch for plagiarism but also as a means of teaching.

Make the plagiarism tools available to your students let them self-check.  The plagiarism tools will help students identify simple mistakes like a forgotten reference or quote.  Additionally, if they find that sections of their text are showing a lot of similarities, perhaps it is time to find an actual quote or reference.  Plagiarism checkers can also enhance research skills, for instance, is that paper, book, or website the primary source for a quote. If your source is not the primary source, what is the primary source? The student might even find that the secondary source misused or quoted the primary source.  Additionally, if the checker marks something on a student’s paper and they are confused by it, they can talk to their instructor generating a teachable moment.

It is easier than ever for students (or really anyone) to plagiarize someone else’s work.  Fortunately, tools that help us uncover plagiarism are also getting better and better.  However, we should remember that the best way to use these tools is not exclusively as punishment but also as teaching tools.  We can use these plagiarism checkers to reinforce research and using references, quotes, and citations.  Remember any tool that can be used to check, and grade can also be used to teach.

Thanks for Listing to My Musings
The Teaching Cyborg

If a Picture is Worth a Thousand Words, Why Do We Use Words in Education?

“A true photograph need not be explained, nor can it be contained in words.”
Ansel Adams

A picture is worth a thousand words. As someone who has practiced the art of photography for most of his life, this phrase has always rung true.  The phrase seems to have had its origin in US advertising in the early 20th center. (The Phrase Finder, retrieved June 25, 2019, from https://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/a-picture-is-worth-a-thousand-words.html) While it is certainly possible to learn without images, ask the 63,357 K-12 blind students in the US, (National Federation of the Blind, Blindness Statistics, retrieved June 25, 2019, from https://nfb.org/resources/blindness-statistics) image use is quite prevalent in education.

I don’t know many biology teachers that teach the structure of a eukaryotic cell without using a picture like the following one.

Unannotated version of File:Animal_Cell.svg, Author Kelvin Song, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Animal_Cell.svg. This file is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.
Unannotated version of File:Animal_Cell.svg, Author Kelvin Song, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Animal_Cell.svg. This file is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.

Not only does this diagram display the components of a cell, but it also helps to establish a relationship between the different parts of the cell. In the textbook Concepts of Biology, the introduction to the structure-function of eukaryotic cells is 14 pages long.  There are 16 images and 4486 words on 14 pages.  That works out to about 320 words and one image per page.

The ratio of text to images in textbooks changes as students’ progress from kindergarten to college. The structure of the college textbook is different from primary school readers.  For example, in the Jack and Jill or Little Dog Spot readers, the whole page is a picture with a maybe seven words (Jack and Jill went up the hill).  While I don’t think a cell biology textbook written like a Jack and Jill book would be a good idea.  Can you imagine how long a college textbook would be if each page were a full-page image with a single sentence like, “eukaryotic cells contain a membrane-bound nucleus?”

While textbooks composed primarily of images will probably not work, I do wonder if we make proper use of images in textbooks.  One of the most common complaints, besides cost, I hear from students is that textbooks are boring, too long, and hard to read.  While the central point of a textbook should be as a teaching tool not merely as a download of facts, we also need to remember that learning to extract information from text is essential.  There are times when books of exclusively just text are necessary, even essential. I don’t see my Shakespearean literature class having worked without reading the plays. That said I do wonder if textbooks should not only include more images but use the images as a central teaching tool rather than just support for text after all image use is a core part of our mental processes.

Images have been with us for longer than written language.  Some of the earliest examples of human-created images are cave paintings, like the paintings found in the Leang Timpuseng cave on the island of Sulawesi, Indonesia.  Scientists have dated the paintings in this cave to at least 35,400 years old.  While they are not as well-known as the paintings in France’s Chauvet Caves, they are older than Chauvet (32,000 – 28,000 years old) making them possibly the earliest cave painting in the world.

Written language was developed around 5200 years ago in the form of the cuneiform script by the Mesopotamians.  The cuneiform script has a direct linkage to images carved in small clay tablets.  The earliest writing was to take these clay tablets and press them into a sheet of clay, “recording the image.”  These images evolved into the symbols of the cuneiform script. In addition to the fact that humans have been using imagery for 10s of thousands of years longer than written language, there is also evidence that images are more effective for learning than text.

One of the ideas behind images being better learning aids, then the text is the theory of dual-coding.  Simply the theory of dual-coding is that images activate two memory centers.  A text-based system and a separate image-based system.  While text by itself only activates a text-based system.  It is also possible that this dual-coding system would work with the other senses, touch, smell, and taste. In education, dual-coding gives the learner twice the number of memory locations for recall.

Beyond cognitive mechanisms like dual-coding, there is also the idea of visual langue. “Visual language is defined as the tight integration of words and visual elements and as having characteristics that distinguish it from natural languages as a separate communication tool as well as a distinctive subject of research.” (Visual Language and Converging Technologies in the Next 10-15 Years (and Beyond)) Infographics are an example of visual language.  Additionally, the paper Visual Language and Converging Technologies in the Next 10-15 Years (and Beyond), says that visual communication increases information transfer. “For example, improvements in human performance from 23 to 89% have been obtained by using integrated visual-verbal “stand-alone” diagrams.”

The ideas of dual-coding, coupled with visual language, suggest that textbooks should include more images.  Additionally, these images should be integrated tightly with the text and viewed as a central component of the learning process. Authors should not consider Images as secondary to the text but as an essential learning component on their own.

However, like so many other aspects of educational research while there is research stating that textbooks are not useful learning tools.  It is not clear if this failure is because textbooks are inherently ineffective learning tools or because of factors other than learning drive textbook design.  As I have said repeatedly, we desperately need more research into what makes an effective textbook.  In the meantime, maybe we should add a couple of pictures.

Thanks for Listing to my Musings
The Teaching Cyborg

Blame the Tools, It’s Easier

“PowerPoint is the Rodney Dangerfield of software. It gets no respect.”
Ken Goldberg

Universities should ban PowerPoint. It makes students stupid and professors boring.” That is the title of an article from the Business Insider that recently came up in my LinkedIn feed.  While I generally agree with the author’s statement that schools usually measure student satisfaction instead of student learning.  I do take exception to the idea that PowerPoint is the root of all evil.  The core of the author’s argument seems to be that lectures are generally not effective learning tools.  Again, I generally agree with the idea that lectures are not effective.  However, the author seems to blame PowerPoint for the persistence of lectures in education.

To quote the author, “Overreliance on slides has contributed to the absurd belief that expecting and requiring students to read books, attend classes, take notes, and do homework is unreasonable.”  I, however, find this statement a little strange.  For starters in almost all college-level courses, students don’t read in class.  Students are expected to do their reading, textbook, novel, manuscript, and articles, either as preparation for class or review after class.  How does the use of PowerPoint in class effect students reading out of class? 

While I expect students being bored with poor lecturers could lead to decreases in attendance.  I suspect attendance has more to do with faculty policy then the technology used in the classroom.  In many undergraduate course’s faculty say it is up to the students to determine if they are going to attend or not.  They often call it “treating them like adults.”  If you think attendance is essential, require it, and then make the class time worthwhile, don’t blame random tech.

Homework, just like reading, is done outside of class.  Of all the complaints, the only one that might be valid is note taking. After all, how the instructor presents the material will affect the student’s ability to take notes.  However, is this the fault of the program or the failure of the presenter.

 Whenever people start blaming educational problems exclusively on technology, I remember a quote I heard years ago. “The students got distracted by Facebook, so we took away the Internet. The students got distracted playing Solitaire, so we took away their computers, the students got distracted doodling, so we took away their pencils.”  -Anonymous. This quote always reminds me of how easy it is to blame other things when the individual ultimately responsible for the classroom is the teacher.

So is the presentation tool PowerPoint responsible for poor classroom engagement and bad lectures or is the real problem that individuals don’t learn how to use PowerPoint.  Let’s start with the basics, suppose I’m teaching An Introduction to Circuits course. First, we need to create a new slide presentation, and PowerPoint gives us lots of choices.  Never use just a plain white background. With a white background; you can get chromatic aberration; the projector produces rainbows on the screen.  The critical thing to remember is, I don’t want anything showing up on my slides that I don’t put there.

Look at the three slides below they are all available in PowerPoint which slide do you think would be the best.

Three PowerPoint Title slides with Title An Introduction to Circuits and subtitle CH1-Voltage. Slide A has a pretty but busy background and white text in a black box. Slide B has a light blue background with a dark gradient toward the bottom right corner and a circuit pattern along the left edge. The text is white. Slide C has a light blue background with white text.
Three PowerPoint Title slides with Title An Introduction to Circuits and subtitle CH1-Voltage. Slide A has a pretty but busy background and white text in a black box. Slide B has a light blue background with a dark gradient toward the bottom right corner and a circuit pattern along the left edge. The text is white. Slide C has a light blue background with white text.

How many of you choose C as the best option?  Slide A is to use an old saying too busy.  The circuit drawings on the side of B might be a distraction.  The color gradient is not that bad an idea? We read slides from left to right and top to bottom a color gradient that uses the same pattern can help direct the eyes across the slide. However, you will have to keep this directionality in mind with everything you put on the slide. That leaves slide C, which is honestly not great.  Modern projectors are bright, light text on a light background is hard to read.  Creating an excellent presentation is all about fighting the defaults. So instead of light text use dark text, this gives us the slide below.

A PowerPoint title slide with a light blue background and black text
A PowerPoint title slide with a light blue background and black text

The next point concerning text is readability.  The most significant impact on readability is room size.  The larger the room, the bigger the text needs to be on the screen.  Dave Paradi wrote a great article on text size for presentations Selecting the correct font size.  Using Paradi’s work using a 10’ screen in a classroom where the furthest student is ~45’ away (100 student lecture hall) the smallest usable font size is 24 point.  In a 500-student lecture hall (most distant student ~150’ away) the smallest usable font is 44 point.  See the slides below.

Two PowerPoint title slides The two slide the first uses 24 Point text as the smallest and is for viewing form a maximum of 45 ft the second uses 44 point text as the smallest and is for viewing from a maximum of 150 ft.
Two PowerPoint title slides The two slide the first uses 24 Point text as the smallest and is for viewing form a maximum of 45 ft the second uses 44 point text as the smallest and is for viewing from a maximum of 150 ft.

That is a significant change in the appearance of the slides for a difference of about 100’.

Beyond text size and color, the most common complaint I hear is that PowerPoint forces you to use bullets.  However, you can change bullets. You can turn them off, or not use them.  Textboxes and other slide layouts mean you can place text anywhere you want.  Remember an excellent PowerPoint presentation requires you to fight the defaults.

Now let’s be honest while I believe most if not all the problems with PowerPoint presentation are because of a lack of training the solution is not easy.  After all, I only covered the basics of background and font size in a PowerPoint presentation.  There are also issues concerning images, slide layouts, and presentation lengths to discuss.  It is also possible to add questions to use with student response systems. Lastly, instructors can use PowerPoint presentations for active engagement. Maybe I should write a few more posts on this topic?

Thanks for Listing to My Musings
The Teaching Cyborg

Common Core Math Does it Work?

“Do not worry about your difficulties in Mathematics. I can assure you mine are still greater.”
Albert Einstein

A friend of mine sent me a YouTube video comparing common core math with “old math.”

My first thought was this is the dumbest thing I have ever seen. Now let’s be clear my reaction was not because the old math was so much faster. After all, the person doing the old math is merely solving an equation. The teacher is instructing the students in a common core mathematics process which takes longer. So it was not the length, it seems to me that the process is complicated, off track, and fails in several cognitive theories.

However, I believe in letting the research speak for itself, which means double checking your opinions with the literature. Most of my work is at the college and university level with a focus on STEM education. So what effect has the common core had on college students, primarily STEM students?

Before we look at the effect of the common core standards lets review what the common core is. The common core standers are a guideline of what students should learn each year of K-12 education. The standards are meant to be rigorous and meet the need of colleges and employers. According to the criteria for the working group, each standard should have:

“Goal: The standards as a whole must be essential, rigorous, clear, and specific, coherent, and internationally bench marked.

Essential: The standards must be reasonable in scope in defining the knowledge, and skills students should have to be ready to succeed in entry-level, credit-bearing, academic college courses, and in workforce training programs.”

The publishing of the full common core standards was in 2010. As of 2017, 46 states have adopted the common core standard to some degree. Eleven of the states have announced they are undertaking rewrites and changes to the standards.

Even with 11 states announcing rewrites or changes, this is still a high adoption rate. The adoption rate does not tell the whole picture. In K-12 education a lot is left up to the local school districts. While states have adopted the standards, it is not clear how consistent implementation is. It will likely get even harder to study the common core standards, as many states are renaming and modifying the standards. Many of these changes may be cosmetic as Tom Loveless says:

“A lot of states have simply re-branded the standards, changing the name or slightly tinkering with them without making any great change in substance” Loveless says. “That to me suggests that it’s more a political response than anything else.” (Common Core no more? New York and 21 other states revise or rename K12 standards, District Administration, By Alison DeNisco | October 9, 2017, retrieved June 6, 2019, from https://districtadministration.com/common-core-no-more-new-york-and-21-other-states-revise-or-rename-k12-standards/)

How do teachers view the standards? According to a report by the Center for Educational policy: “Across the five focus groups, most elementary school teachers expressed positive views of the Common Core State Standards. … Teachers said the Common Core had changed instruction in positive ways, such as teaching for conceptual understanding and developing students’ thinking and problem-solving skills.” (Listening to and Learning from Teachers: A Summary of Focus Groups on the Common Core and Assessments Key Findings and Policy Recommendations, Center on Education Policy, By Diane Stark Rentner, Nancy Kober, Mathew Frizzell, and Maria Ferguson, October 12, 2016, Retrieved June 6, 2019, from https://www.cep-dc.org/cfcontent_file.cfm?Attachment=RentnerKoberFrizzellFerguson%5FSummary%5FListenLearnTeachers%5F10%2E12%2E16%2Epdf)

So why don’t I like the method of mathematics presented in the video? Let’s look at the steps the students are being asked to do when answering, 35 x 12. In the first step the students break the numbers down into their components 35 = 30 + 5 while 12 = 10 +2. Students then plug the numbers into a grid and multiplication is done by multiply the rows by the columns. The multiplication produces four numbers which are added to get the final answer.

I have heard several arguments about why this method is better. First, it teaches students how to manipulate numbers. Second, by breaking the numbers apart, it is easier for students to remember and do the math in their head. The grid is a rectangle some instructors use area equations to represent the multiplication, height x width = area. By using this representation, students get a feel for the real size of numbers.

While I agree learning to manipulate numbers is essential for students, I am not sure this method teaches students that. I think it is more likely that students are viewing this as a trick or formula. We know from research that students are good at plugging numbers into formulas without understanding what they mean. Just look up the original research on the Force Concept Inventory Test.

The idea that this method makes it easier to do in your head sounds intuitively correct. However, it might fall short of our research on how memory works. Again we know that working memory has a capacity limit (I wrote about it here).

So when multiplying 35 x 12 in your head, you have to remember two numbers. When you separate the numbers, you need to remember four numbers; 30, 5, 10, & 2. Additionally, as I do the math, I need to remember more numbers 30 * 10 = 300. I need to remember; 30, 5, 10, 2, & 300 additionally, I need to remember that 300 is different than the other four. Using this method, it is more likely that a student will run out of working memory.

Lastly, I have two problems with using the grid to represent the actual size of the number. There is a counter argument of numerals being symbols so we can deal with numbers that we can’t intuitively grasp. However, that is not the biggest problem; the real issue is transference. Transference is the ability of students to take the information they learned and use it in new situations. If students get to fixated on numbers representing fiscal shapes and physical quontites, they may have trouble with things that are difficult to see or understand.

So what does the research say about college students that were taught using the Common Core standards during their K-12 years? According to a 2016 study, there is disagreement about what math standards college students need. “Mathematics finding 4 indicates that although middle school and high school teachers generally agree about what mathematics skills are important to success in STEM courses and careers, college instructors or workforce respondents ascribed much less importance to those skills.” (ACT National Curriculum Survey 2016, ACT, Inc, retrieved June 6, 2019, from http://www.act.org/content/act/en/research/reports/act-publications/national-curriculum-survey.html ) At least part of this discrepancy comes from colleges and universities have different views and requirements. The 2015 Brown Center Report on American Education (https://www.brookings.edu/research/2015-brown-center-report-on-american-education-how-well-are-american-students-learning/) shows small gains in student performance in states that fully implemented the common core standards. Unfortunately, these difference are below or borderline concerning statistical significance.

Sadly it appears there is not a lot of research, at least yet, on the common core standards. What research exists seems to be leaning in the direction of the standards not living up to its goal. Whether this is the results of implementation or the standards themselves, it is not clear. For the time being, I will have to live with my dislike while trying to keep an open mind. What is defiantly clear is that more research, mainly that focused on learning gains, is desperately needed. Also, colleges and universities frantically need to work with K-12 so that everyone knows what is the need and expected of students perusing higher education.

Thanks for Listing to my Mussing
The Teaching Cyborg

Pixels or Ink

“The technology itself is not transformative. It’s the school, the pedagogy, that is transformative.”
Tanya Byron

In an earlier blog post (To Be Digital or Not to Be Digital) I discussed how governments and schools are encouraging the adoption of digital media especially etextbooks (etexts) as a means of controlling cost. However, in most cases, these groups have failed to look at whether or not students want to use these etexts. Because of multiple issues, current students are not adopting etexts at a high rate. However, even if institutions deal with the problems of etext adoption, should we be using etexts?

While cost is an import factor in making education accessible, we need to be careful that cost does not run roughshod over pedagogy. In addition to the questions of whether students will use current etexts, we also need to ask to do etexts work, are etexts a legitimate pedagogical tool? Does it make any difference if words are on paper or screen to the learner? I don’t think written language has been around long enough for the brain to evolve to function exclusively with print.

Modern human evolved between 200,000 to 300,000 years ago in Africa (Smithsonian and UK National History Museum. Around 5200 years ago, humans invented writing. Writing gave us the ability to record complex ideas, theories, and information. Writing has only existed for 2.6% – 1.7% of human existence.

For most of writings existence information was recorded on things like; clay, stone, and paper. Today our writing can also be displayed on screens. While it might not be obvious, there is some evidence that the method of reading on paper vs. electronic screen might make a difference in learning.

Digital reading or more specifically reading on a digital device has many advantages. As Singer & Alexander say in their paper Reading on Paper and Digitally: What the Past Decades of Empirical Research Reveal “These paperless classrooms allow the reader to alter the size of the text, highlight important passages, and search related terms outside of the text with the click of a button.”

One of the outcomes from Reading on Paper and Digitally: What the Past Decades of Empirical Research Reveal are; students had better comprehension when reading a printed book when the text length was more than one page or screen. Researchers have proposed that scrolling text leads to increased cognitive load, which would negatively impact comprehension.

Interestingly when it came to general comprehension (general or broad topics), there was no difference in basic comprehension between digital and paper texts. However, when it came to specific questions (specific facts, comparisons, and deep understanding), there was better comprehension from paper texts over digital. It is possible that this difference between general and specific content has to do with differences in how students read in a digital vs. paper environment.

When the research was designed to study comprehension between digital and paper reading while reducing cognitive load, there were no significant differences in comprehension between digital and paper. However, it did appear that there was a broader deviation in the digital group then the paper group. (The Effects of Reading Mode on Recall and Comprehension). Why is there a difference between different types of comprehension?

Research into student reading has shown that digital readers have developed different reading habits. In Reading behavior in the digital environment: Changes in reading behavior over the past ten years it is shown that digital readers make greater use of short cuts like skimming for keywords, bookmarks, and skimming the text then paper readers. Additionally, it has been shown that it is much easier for students to become distracted by multitasking when using digital texts (David B. Daniel and William Douglas Woody, “E textbooks at what cost? Performance and use of electronic vs. print texts,” Computers in Education, Vol. 62 (March 2013): 18-23)

In addition to a lower rate of adoption of etexts, the current research suggests that etexts, in general, might hurt learning especially deep learning. However, except for the cognitive load because of scrolling, there is little information that shows etexts have a significant (cognitive) adverse effect on learning. I would be interested in variations on this cognitive load of scrolling.

While I have encountered a lot of etexts that require scrolling, especially on the web, I have encountered other types of digital page turning. On my tablet (Samsung Galaxy), I have read books that have the same layout as print books where you flip pages from the edge of the screen. I also have, an e-reader (A dedicated ebook reader) again, the reader uses the same basic layout as a print book, and readers turn pages with small buttons. I would be interested in seeing if these methods of digital reading had the same effect on cognitive load and comprehension as scrolling.

The issues of digital devices leading to more significant amounts of skimming versus in-depth reading and increased multitasking is an issue of training. Somewhere along the line, we forgot that part of a students educational training is teaching them how to study and learn. It may well be that due to external forces, education will convert to the effective use of etexts. While there might be problems with etexts, many of the issues could be dealt with by teaching students how to study and read using etexts. Almost all of the ereaders (both physical and app-based) give students the ability to highlight, take notes, bookmark, and link to additional materials. If we teach students to use these tools, it might be that the comprehension differences will go away. Anyone care to look into it?

Thanks For Listening to my Musings
The Teaching Cyborg