I have some sad news for that little person inside me who was doing everything she could to find an excuse to purchase a Kindle.
According to a recent study done by the University of Washington’s Department of Computer Science & Engineering, e-readers are better as supplementary devices since most of them don’t work well with the human brain.
A breakdown of the problem is as follows:
- poor note-taking support
- limited/cumbersome skimming capabilities
- more difficult to look up references
- digital text disrupts cognitive mapping
For some of you, this may not be an issue, but for me, this is a huge issue. One of the main drawbacks of an e-reader for me was the fact that I would not be able to annotate by hand. Mind you, I’m the girl who purchased a smaller laptop to “study better by saving trees and taking notes in class” who ended up printing out a gazillion pdfs (to be fair, I put 4 sheets a page, front and back. I think I killed my eyes though) and taking notes longhand anyway. So yeah, I guess one study confirms that this is indeed a bit bothersome. Yet, I thought maybe this was an obstacle I could overcome – just like the way I would overcome the way the Kindle’s digital page peskily blinks every time it “turns”. (A coworker assured me that I would get used to it in no time)!
The digital text also disrupted a technique called cognitive mapping, in which readers used physical cues such as the location on the page and the position in the book to go back and find a section of text or even to help retain and recall the information they had read.
Or perhaps, I’m expecting too much from the Kindle? Why not use it with a supplementary notebook on hand? It is still lighter, reduces waste paper use, and conveniently holds all my texts in one teeny location.
Plus, I could read the news and do crossword puzzles! Okay, this last bit doesn’t really add to this conversation now, does it?