PVCA calls on govt to favour print in schools
The Print and Visual Communication Association is urging the Australian Federal and State governments to favour print over digital to improve learning in schools, to avert a decline in the nation's educational standards
PVCA says a major new study concludes that print scores over digital for learning, especially for longer texts, and that by going digital, educational levels will suffer.
The Stavanger Declaration in Europe has reported that the experience of reading and understanding is different between digital and paper. It says, “There are severe long term consequences of the headlong rush into digital reading.”
The E Read report is a meta study of 54 experiments across 19 countries involving 170,000 participants over four years. Its conclusion is that “the transition from paper to digital is not neutral”.
It says even the digital native generation does not understand the meaning of long texts when read in digital form as when printed. What concerns PVCA is that schools across Europe are promoting the use of digital technology, pushing out print. The PVCA says, “The longer term risk from this is that there will be a generation that is not as well educated nor as well equipped as a pre-digital generation. There are severe long term consequences of the headlong rush into digital reading.”
PVCA is therefore calling on schools to prioritise print over digital reading, saying print on paper is vital for “cognitive achievement across all ages”. It sets out an action plan for the Australian Federal Government, State Governments and social partners.
The PVCA calls on Government to recognise that digital is not always best; to promote the use of print in schools; to support further research into the impact of reading from a screen; to create guidelines for the implementation of digital technology; to support national implementations; and to foster greater communication between academics, schools, and those responsible for setting policy.
PVCA points out that while the difference in understanding between reading from paper and from screen is well known in academic circles, it is not understood more widely where the transition to digital is considered to be progress. It suggests setting aside a time when only printed books are used and that governments “motivate schools to use, and students to read, paper books”.
However, it faces a tough fight. Academic publishers have been using digital to create new products as well as to replace paper versions. Pearson, for example, has announced that college text books in the US would no longer be available to buy in print form, but only to rent in digital formats.