Archive for ‘Discussion’

December 10, 2012

Penumbra Interactions Demo

check 2:15 mark

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December 9, 2012

Only Revolutions infographic

David Ryan Andersson: Visualizing patterns in Mark Z. Danielewski’s Only Revolutions

OR infographic

December 7, 2012

Slate: MZD & e-books

From Slate, “The Ghost in the Machine” (December 3, 2012):

“…At the moment, e-book sales account for more than 20 percent of dollars that consumers spend on books. Almost all of that market share belongs to the “print mimic”-style e-books. But there’s also an emerging category called enhanced e-books—digital editions with special features like audio and video—that are more than just mimics. Or at least they can be, in the right hands.

…Enhanced e-books are rare in publishing because they’re expensive to produce, and the audience is, for the moment, pretty limited. (Some enhanced e-books, including The Fifty Year Sword, can be viewed only on an iPad.) “We’re finding that the effort behind these types of books is a magnitude of somewhere between seven and 15 times as much effort as a typical illustrated e-book,” said Liisa McCloy-Kelley, head of the digital production group at Random House (which owns Pantheon). To complicate matters, the differences among rapidly evolving platforms and formats make enhanced e-books difficult to market, even to tech-savvy consumers.”

December 5, 2012

New apps for Shakespeare

From the NY Times (Nov 30, 2012): “good cheer! It’s the 21st century, and modern technology has made wonderful advances in making Shakespeare’s plays and poems more accessible — even enticing — for an audience equipped with iPads and smartphones….”

November 24, 2012

“What Should Children Read?”

From Sara Mosle, “What Should Children Read?” NY Times (November 22, 2012):

“What schools really need isn’t more nonfiction but better nonfiction, especially that which provides good models for student writing. Most students could use greater familiarity with what newspaper, magazine and book editors call “narrative nonfiction”: writing that tells a factual story, sometimes even a personal one, but also makes an argument and conveys information in vivid, effective ways.

What Tom Wolfe once said about New Journalism could be applied to most student writing. It benefits from intense reporting, immersion in a subject, imaginative scene setting, dialogue and telling details. These are the very skills most English teachers want students to develop. What’s odd is how rarely such literary nonfiction appears on English — or other class — reading lists. In addition to a biology textbook, for example, why can’t more high school students read “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”?”

October 23, 2012

“Reading More but Learning Less?”

From the NY  Times:  “When one of the “big two” newsweeklies is going out of print, it’s clear that Americans are not consuming news the way they used to. Maybe that’s a good thing, if the technology revolution has made it easier to get more of the kind of information and analysis that readers once sought from Newsweek. But if Americans are finding a more polarized reality online, they may have just grown more partisan with less knowledge, making it more important for forums like presidential debates to deal with the details of policy.”
With posts from Cass Sunstein, Nicholas Carr, Eli Pariser, Denise Cheng, et al

September 24, 2012

SAT reading scores hit four-decade low

From the Washington Post: “SAT reading scores for graduating high school seniors this year reached a four-decade low as the number and diversity of students taking the college admissions tests hit an all-time high, the College Board reported Monday. The average reading score for the Class of 2012 was 496, down one point from the previous year and 34 points since 1972….In writing, the average score was 488, down nine points since that subject was first tested in 2006.”

September 20, 2012

Brain scans of Jane Austen readers

From Stanford University news: “The inside of an MRI machine might not seem like the best place to cozy up and concentrate on a good novel, but a team of researchers at Stanford are asking readers to do just that. In an innovative interdisciplinary study, neurobiological experts, radiologists and humanities scholars are working together to explore the relationship between reading, attention and distraction – by reading Jane Austen….

The experiment focuses on literary attention, or more specifically, the cognitive dynamics of the different kinds of focus we bring to reading. This experiment grew out of [literary researcher] Phillips’ ongoing research about Enlightenment writers who were concerned about issues of attention span, or what they called ‘wandering attention.’ …. Critical reading of humanities-oriented texts is recognized for fostering analytical thought, but if such results hold across subjects, Phillips said it would suggest ‘it’s not only what we read – but thinking rigorously about it that’s of value, and that literary study provides a truly valuable exercise of people’s brains.’ “

September 7, 2012

Survey of reading practices of UK children

From paidContent: “In the UK, 7.8 percent of schoolchildren aged nine and up read e-books outside of class last year, according to new research. That rate is up from 5.6 percent a year earlier, according to the National Literacy Trust’s “Children’s Reading Today” survey (release). The survey of kids from 128 UK schools gives an insight in to how the next generation is using various platforms to read…It shows that: “Since 2005, reading across all formats has fallen – with the exception of text messages.”

August 8, 2012

Quantitative studies of student “knowledge work”

In addition to the NEA studies about reading and the UC San Diego study of information consumption, here is some data from a study of academic performance by college students:

stats from Academically Adrift

Second there is the Academic Time Use Survey for College Students (more data on Bureau of Labor Statistics website):

BLS time use chart