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Reading in the 21st Century: The Challenges of Modern Media Abbie Brown, Ph.D. Heidi Blair, Ph.D. Kenneth Luterbach, Ph.D.

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Presentation on theme: "Reading in the 21st Century: The Challenges of Modern Media Abbie Brown, Ph.D. Heidi Blair, Ph.D. Kenneth Luterbach, Ph.D."— Presentation transcript:

1 Reading in the 21st Century: The Challenges of Modern Media Abbie Brown, Ph.D. brownab@ecu.edu Heidi Blair, Ph.D. blairh@ecu.edu Kenneth Luterbach, Ph.D. luterbachk@ecu.edu East Carolina University

2 Reading in the 21 st Century Readers are faced with greater challenges in learning to read than ever before. Unlike students of the mid-20th Century who were by and large exposed to text from basal readers and print materials that relied heavily on standard typefaces, the 21st Century student is presented with text in a variety of formats and an assortment of media ranging from television to slideshow presentation (i.e. PowerPoint) to hypertext intensive Web pages.

3 Reading in the 21 st Century While educators recognize and appreciate that modern readers face these challenges, they may not be familiar with the research in the field of optics, monitor and projector display, cognition, and comprehension that directly relate to the decoding, navigation, comprehension, and interpretation of text in new and different formats.

4 Goals of this Presentation We will examine issues related to reading comprehension through a synthesis of the current research in disparate fields including optics, computer engineering and design, and brain- based research Based on an understanding of the research conducted in these areas, we will provide tips to help educators select or design appropriate media and provide proper guidance for its use.

5 We asked ourselves 6 Questions 1. Is there a greater strain to reading hypertext? 2. Is hypertext more appropriate for learners at a certain age? 3. How does the use of animations near static text in computer-based presentations affect reading fatigue? 4. What are the more readable background/text color combinations for the computer screen? 5. In terms of fatigue from sustained reading, what is the difference between reading print media and reading a computer screen? 6. Does relatively low screen resolution affect legibility?

6 Questions 1 and 2 1. Is there a greater strain to reading HyperText? 2. Is HyperText more appropriate for learners at a certain age?

7 Complexity of the Question Hypertext/Hypermedia is a huge field to study. Researchers consider: –Multiple computer characteristics (e.g., navigation; vertical scrolling; horizontal scrolling; font size and type; color contrast, etc.) –Reader characteristics (e.g. age, gender, prior content knowledge, prior experience with hypertext systems) –Different genres of hypertext (informational web sites, instructional web sites, hypertext fiction, hypertext poetry) In the limited time we have, we offer the following perspectives on the two hypertext questions.

8 Is there a greater strain to reading Hypertext? Yes, due to: –Difficulties reading from a computer monitor compared to paper (considered subsequently in this presentation). –In hypertext systems, vertical scrolling is not much different from page turning. However, sometimes one must scroll horizontally to read hypertext. This adds significant strain. Eye movement studies (see Walz, 2001a) have shown that readers look back and forth at text (not always ahead), but horizontal scrolling hides text just read.

9 Greater Strain to Reading Hypertext due to … It is not possible to write annotations on a web browser, but writing notes beside text that appears on paper is a well recognized reading strategy. Web pages contain few helpful textual conventions (marginal glosses, notes, pre-reading activities, post- reading activities) Web sites disappear There is a need to use cognitive resources to determine whether to click on a hyperlink Linear reading is orienting; multiple paths through a text may be disorienting. This problem diminishes as one gains more experience reading hypertext.

10 Greater Strain to Reading Hypertext also due to … There is a much greater need for the reader to evaluate validity and bias of websites compared to a single printed document. Additional skill may be required to understand cultural allusions at various websites.various websites

11 Question 1: Summary and Tips Some aspects of reading hypertext are the same as reading traditional text (e.g., character decoding, word recognition, comprehension), but characteristics unique to reading hypertext compound task complexity. What can teachers do about this? –Select and create websites that scroll vertically only; use contrasting background and foreground colors; keep navigation simple (e.g., use drop-down menus sparingly) –Encourage goal setting (to help learners determine whether to click on a hyperlink) –Encourage hypertext reading in order to gain experience –Teach learners to make predictions about validity and bias based on the Uniform Resource Locator (URL) any webpage visited. Also, teach learners to consider the source and date of web pages.

12 Is Hypertext more appropriate for learners at a certain age? We found no advice about hypertext being appropriate to learners at a certain age. Obviously an ability to read text is a prerequisite. Perhaps there is little on this question because many learners, even before they can read, have had much experience clicking on hypertext links and hyperlinked images.

13 Questions 3 and 4 3. How does the use of animations near static text in computer-based presentations affect reading fatigue? 4. What are the more readable background/text color combinations for the computer screen?

14 First, A Review of the Psychophysics of Reading People scan static text: –Fixation – Saccade – Fixation – Saccade ( -- Regression --)… The reader focuses upon a short portion of the text (around 8 characters), then shifts focus to the next short portion.

15 How does the use of animation near static text in computer-based presentations affect reading fatigue? The onset of motion will generally produce a shift to the object and fixations will then track the objects path. Faraday and Sutcliff. Page 274. Humans are hard-wired to track movement: –Its part of how our ancestors ate…and avoided being eaten!

16 How does the use of animation near static text in computer-based presentations affect reading fatigue? Motion within our field of vision causes us to interrupt the scanning of a text to fixate on whatever is moving. We may shift quickly between scanning the text and tracking the motion, but we cannot do both simultaneously. The result is increased strain and fatigue. –Motion has a unique ability to attract attention over a large visual field and offers a rich graphical vocabulary. Its use has only recently become feasible due to the advent of fast graphics processors and supporting software technologies. Bartram et al. Page 516 –Of special interest is the fact that motion triggers a kind of orienting response attracting a users attention, even when it appears in the periphery of the visual field (Faraday and Sutcliffe, 1997). Bartram et al. Page 517 –…our ability to perceive motion falls off much less towards the periphery of the visual field. Bartram et al. Page 517.

17 Question 3: Summary and Tips Animation near static text increases fatigue and strain –The human eye can scan or track, but it cannot do both simultaneously. –Humans will divert their attention to movement within their field of vision. Tips: –Avoid placing recurring animations near static text –Use animation to gain the readers attention (e.g. screen transitions).

18 What are the more readable background/text color combinations for the computer screen? The physics of color: –Different colors are different wavelengths of visible light Image borrowed from the ACEPT W 3 Group at Arizona State University http://acept.asu.edu/PiN/rdg/color/color.shtml

19 What are the more readable background/text color combinations for the computer screen? Black text on a white background continues to prove itself the most easily read color combination (Pastoor, 1990; Scharff and Hill, 1996). Subjectively, individuals express preference for color text/background combinations, claiming it is less monotonous and less of a strain (Pastoor, 1990). Although no specific combinations were considered far superior to others, the combinations that worked best were high contrast and low saturation. A classic easy-to-read combination for computer-screen text is blue background with yellow text.

20 Question 4: Summary and Tips Some text/background color combinations are more readable than others: –Studies show that black text on a white background is the easiest to read combination. –In text/background color studies, respondents have indicated a subjective preference for color over monochromatic (dichromatic) displays. –The best text/background color combinations use low-saturation colors. Tips: –Use black text and white background when possible. –Use yellow text with a blue background to add visual interest and maintain legibility.

21 Questions 5 and 6 5. In terms of fatigue from sustained reading, what is the difference between print media and reading a computer screen? 6. Does relatively low screen resolution affect legibility?

22 What is Eye Fatigue? Dashiell (1959) defined eye fatigue as……shorthand for a condition consequent upon prolonged ocular work. p. 377 Reading = Nearwork –Physiology of Nearwork Ciliary Muscle Change lens shape Rhcastilhos (2007).Schematic Diagram of the Human Eye in English. Retrieved from Schematic_diagram_of_the_human_eye_with_English_annotations.svg

23 Manifestations of Eye Fatigue Nearwork-Induced Transient Myopia (NITM) Sensitivity to light Aching or sore eyes Black and white images tinged with color for up to one hour (Prabhu, Gandhi, & Goddard, 2005)

24 Implications of Eye Fatigue Decrease in reading speed Decrease in comprehension Impacts readers ability to attend to the content (Levy, 1993) Genesis of myopia related to the nearwork-induced transient myopia. (Ciuffreda & Lee, 2002) soooo… Your mother was right; your eyes might get stuck like that!

25 Reading on a Computer Screen Variety of Tasks –eBooks $100 million in 2002 to $3.5 billion in 2005 (Boone & Higgins, 2003) –eMail –Internet research (personal and academic) –Gaming –Text messaging Issues with computer screens (Boone & Higgins, 2003; Schmar-Dobler, 2003; Levy, 1997) –Blinking/moving graphics –Flicker –Back illumination –Vivid color –Limited Screen Placement and angle –Plus: humming and heat

26 Question 5 Summary and Tips Teach and Model Healthy Practices and Habits Ergonomics (Eye Health Library, 2005; Prabhu, Gandhi, & Goddard, 2005) –Monitor Distance to screen = arms length from eyes Location = fifteen to twenty degrees below eye level Angle = tipped back so the top is further away than bottom –Lighting Diffuse NOT direct Reduce glare and reflections –Cleaning Keep screens free of haze from dust and fingerprints

27 Question 5 Summary and Tips Teach and Model Healthy Practices and Habits Reading Habits (Eye Health Library, 2005; Prabhu, Gandhi, & Goddard, 2005) –Take Time Out - 20-20-20 Rule = 20 min. of work » 20 sec. break » focus 20 ft. away –Close your eyes –Remember to blink = Normal is 12 blinks/min, computer five blinks/min

28 Questions 5 and 6 5. In terms of fatigue from sustained reading, what is the difference between print media and reading a computer screen? 6. Does relatively low screen resolution affect legibility?

29 What is meant by legibility? Definitions –Ease of distinguishing one letter from another while reading literature, "legibility" refers to the ease with which a letter or word can be recognized (as in an eye exam). (Lupton, 2003) Legibility Factors (Bloodsworth, 1993; Chen, Jackson, Parsons, Sindt, Summerville, Tharp, Ullrich, & Caffarella, 1996) –Typeface –Font size –Leading –Line length –Space between characters –Color –Contrast –Density

30 Why is legibility an issue? Plays a role in eye fatigue Affects reading speed Affects reading comprehension

31 Legibility on the Computer Screen Little direct research on font size on computer screen (Chen, et al., 1996) Widely accepted Guidelines (Hooper & Hannafin, 1986) Basic Guidelines: –Size 10 or 12 –Leading = 15% of character width –Left Justified –Line-length = 80 characters –White space on both sides (Brockman, 1990)

32 Legibility on the Computer Screen Chen et al. (1993) Research Findings –No significant difference in reading speed or comprehension between varying font sizes –Findings There were internal and external reliability issues Prefer size 16 font Font size greater than 12 One font per screen Type face = New York or Geneva Consistent screen size and color

33 Question 6 Summary and Tips –Teach students to manipulate the way the online content is viewed. (Bernhardt, 1993) –Zoom in –Copy and paste to word document Increase font size Increase leading Change margins –Create online instructional content that follows recommendations: –Font size 14 and 16 –White space –Alignment left –Encourage healthy habits

34 Questions & Discussion Abbie Brown, Ph.D. brownab@ecu.edu Heidi Blair, Ph.D. blairh@ecu.edu Kenneth Luterbach, Ph.D. luterbachk@ecu.edu EastCarolinaUniversity


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