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robertogreco : joshuakim   3

A Book Addict's Defense of the Smartphone | Technology and Learning
"A counterargument to the emerging conventional wisdom"



"Smartphones are either like cigarettes or comic books. Either bad for humans, or good for those who make their living telling us what is bad.

The smartphone worrywarts have some evidence on their side. I’ll get to some disturbing smartphone numbers in a second, but first some smartphone love.

Smartphones are the best thing to happen to book lovers since the paperback. The iPhone is a bookstore, library, and narrator.

The biggest reason that we don’t read more books is not lack of desire, but a shortage of time.

With my iPhone, I’m able to listen to audiobooks while walking, cooking, and cleaning. The Kindle iOS app allows me to read e-books in short bursts. I’ll read a page or two while standing in line at the grocery store, or while eating my morning cereal.

Does the advantages of the iPhone for book discovery, portability and reading outweigh the costs of mobile computing for everything else?

The big worry about smartphones is that they are killing our ability to focus. Productive thinking requires our attention, and smartphones are attention magnets.

On average, smartphone users (which is everyone now) spend 3 hours and 15 minutes a day on their phones. The top 20 percent of smartphone users are on their devices for an average of 4.5 hours per day.

Smartphones have been associated with everything from rising levels of anxiety and depression among teenagers to damaging interpersonal relationships.

Professors find the use of smartphones so distracting for teaching and learning that 1 in 4 has banned them from their classes.

A recent MIT study showed that even a single day with access to their smartphone can cause college students to have elevated levels of stress and anxiety.

Some warning signs of smartphone addiction that I found online include:

• “Difficulty completing chores or work due to concentration issues.”

• "Seclusion from family and friends or using your phone when in conversation.”

• Masking of smartphone use by sneaking off to the bathroom at work.

• “Worry that you’re missing out on something when you’re not with your phone.”

• Feeling "anxious or irritable” when not with your phone

• Sleep problems.

There seems to be a growing acceptance that we can’t control our smartphone actions. A recent NYTimes article called "Do Not Disturb: How I Ditched My Phone and Unbroke My Brain" (2/23/19) received 495 comments.

Almost half of Americans have tried to limit their smartphone usage in the past, with only 30 percent being successful.

I could go on enumerating all the disturbing smartphone statistics.

My point is not that I don’t think that smartphones can cause problems for attention, focus, and interpersonal relationships. I’ll stipulate that we have not adjusted to the downsides of having the internet - and everything that comes along with the web - in our pockets.

What I am saying is that the advantages of being to store, listen to, and read books - wherever and whenever - outweigh all the smartphone negatives.

The audiobook and the e-book, purchased (or borrowed) and read/listened to on a smartphone, is the game changer for book lovers.

Strangely, the wonderful opportunities to spend more time reading books that smartphones have enabled has gone largely uncelebrated. Academics - we people of the book - should be overjoyed about the potential of the smartphone to increase reading time.

We should be making the argument that the problem with the smartphone is not the device, but how people use it. Delete that Facebook app. Get rid of Twitter. Take the games off the phone. Maybe even remove your e-mail accounts.

Keep the Kindle and Audible apps. (Or whatever e-book and audiobook app that you use).

Think only of the smartphone as a reading device and a bookshelf.

Do you use your phone to read books?"
smartphones  mobile  phones  howweread  reading  joshuakim  infooverload  distraction  kindle  ebooks  audiobooks  access  accessibility  attention  2019 
april 2019 by robertogreco
My Half-Baked Hypothesis About Audiobooks and Reading Speed | Technology and Learning
"Audiobooks changed my life.

You don’t listen to audiobooks.

Audiobooks allow me to read many more books, as I listen to books while I’m doing something else.

For you, listening to audiobooks is torture.

Based on a sample size of 2, I’m going to suggest a hypothesis of why you don’t like audiobooks. (My sample comes from my wife, and a cherished colleague who I will call Michael S. Evans).

You read too fast.

My half-baked hypothesis is that audiobooks are just too slow for really fast readers. An audiobook, at non chipmunk speed, goes by at about 150-160 words per minute (wpm). The average reader reads words on a page at about 300 wpm. Very fast readers, so I understand, read by looking at the text more as a whole - and then by pulling together all the threads to form a narrative. In other words, very fast readers are less linear in their reading. According to one source I found, the average college professor reads at about 675 wpm, and true speed reader can read at about 1,500 wpm.

You can check your reading speed here.

If you are a nonlinear reader, and your brain requires a very high throughput of information to stay happy, then an audiobook probably will not work for you. The audiobook information delivery is too linear and too slow.

How people’s brains work and how they like to read books seems like a rich field of study.

In my sample size of 2, both subjects not only shun audiobooks - they also don’t like e-books. Reading with an e-book reader is not so great for people who move through pages quickly - and who may skip around in the book. The tactile sensations paper reading - turned down pages and the feel of page thickness from the back cover - are key tactile enablers of nonlinear reading.

Can we design non-paper reading systems for fast readers? What would an audiobook or e-book look like that would work well for nonlinear readers? Is there any research on cognitive processes, information intake preferences, and reading platforms that you can point us towards?

What can we do so that our students can read the books that we assign in the platforms that work best for them? (I would have read many more books in college and grad school if I had a synced audiobook / e-book option).

How fast do you read?

What is your most (and least) preferred method of reading?"
audiobooks  reading  howweread  speedreading  2016  speed  time  joshuakim 
april 2016 by robertogreco
The Value Problem in Digital Badging | Technology and Learning @insidehighered
"Badging in higher ed is one of those topics where my understanding falls short of my curiosity. It is for this reason that I asked my colleagues Mike Goudzwaard and Michael Evans if they would be willing to write a guest post on some of the issues around badging that our IHE community should be discussing. Mike G. is an Instructional Designer and Michael E. is a Neukom Fellow in the Neukom Institute for Computational Science, and together they are leading the discussion of digital badging our institution. Here is their guest post:

Digital badges are gaining traction in higher education. A learner might earn one badge in a traditional university classroom, another for participating in a MOOC, and yet another from a professional organization for completing a training course.

But now what?

In theory, badging empowers learners to self-direct their lifelong learning by combining badges from different sources and exchanging them for more advanced badges, credentials, certifications, or degrees.

In practice, this rarely happens. Most of the effort in badge ecosystems involves issuing and collecting, and most of the issuing happens within institutions like universities, museums, and professional organizations. The current situation is that digital badges are relatively easy to collect and display, but relatively difficult to assess and exchange, especially across different organizations and institutions.

The core problem is what we call the "value problem" in badging. Which badges are valuable? Who recognizes and accepts them in exchange for more advanced badges, credentials, certifications, or degrees? What badges will actually help you progress toward lifelong learning goals? How can one organization determine the value of a badge issued by a different organization?

The typical response to the value problem is that badges, unlike grades or other traditional credentials, carry metadata that links to evidence of the underlying accomplishments and skills. You can value a badge by looking at the attached evidence.

Badges do carry evidence. But in practical terms, evidence takes time to assess, and time does not scale. Few evaluators, whether they are employers making a decision about accepting a credential, organizations making a decision about issuing a more advanced certification, or learners seeking to find the right path to advance their learning goals, will be able to spend additional time on badge assessment without significant extra cost.

Evaluators need a better, faster way to value digital badges. Until this value problem is solved, the potential for digital badging in higher education will be limited.

To address the value problem, we recently started a project called Open Badge Exchange designed to provide a public, distributed, and shared badge transaction ledger. When badges are successfully exchanged for other badges or digital credentials, a transaction record is written to the shared ledger. Anyone can look up successful transactions for a given badge in the shared ledger, drastically reducing the evaluation time required for digital badges that have previously been exchanged.

Say, for example, that a university accepts a badge in partial exchange for a certification credential. Learners seeking that certification credential can see the successful transaction and choose to pursue the badge that is consistent with their learning goals. Likewise, peer institutions can see the successful transaction and choose to accept the badge into their own credential program with confidence that it has value.

Making transactions visible also creates entrepreneurial opportunities in the assessment of badges. The recent explosion of MOOCs, the rising cost of traditional degrees, and the need to build skills in a rapidly changing workplace challenges universities to "unbundle" the degree into agile learning experiences. But bite-sized learning on its own lacks the narrative of a traditional degree program. Opportunities exist for a trusted institution to bundle and credential a learner-driven, synthesized narrative of lifelong learning achievements. (See, for example, the "credentials for your career" offered by Deakin University sponsored startup DeakinDigital.

Digital badges can empower lifelong learners, but they are most powerful when they connect learning opportunities to valued recognition. Open Badge Exchange seeks to address the value problem by opening up the badge economy, connecting learning opportunities to the assessment of digital badges, and supporting issuing of credentials based on actual exchanges. Whatever the ultimate solution looks like, solving the value problem requires connecting the learners and institutions that give digital badges their value, allowing all participants to collaborate based on real-world information.

What do you think about the idea of Open Badge Exchange?

How is your institution addressing the value problem in digital badging?

Would you participate in Open Badge Exchange?

What do you think is the right way to value digital badges?

How might badge value rankings help learners to set and achieve their learning goals?"
education  badges  learning  highered  highereducation  2015  joshuakim  mikegoudzwaard  michaelevans  credentials  assessment  scale  evaluation  howwelearn  valueproblem  openbadgeexchange  digital 
march 2015 by robertogreco

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