Konference | Raziskovalna skupina

Reading and Company: Embodiment and Social Space in Silent Reading Practices

Books and Screens and the Reading Brain

Dr. Ana Vogrinčič Čepič je sodelovala na mednarodni znanstveni konferenci Books, Screens and the Reading Brain, ki je potekala med 27. in 29. septembrom 2017 v Vilni v Litvi. Predstavila je svoj prispevek z naslovom “Reading and Company: Embodiment and Social Space in Silent Reading Practices”.


O konferenci:

From the earliest clay tablets and down to the latest touch screens – reading is an interaction of embodied humans with technology. Over time, technological developments have caused numerous changes, transformations even, in reading habits and the reading culture. The introduction of the rotary press, together with the industrial paper production in the nineteenth century, for example, made cheap reading materials available for the masses. This was followed by a tremendous growth not just in the number of readers but, more significantly by a major change in the demographics of the reading public. By contrast, in the course of the second half of the twentieth century, notably after the introduction of television, many unskilled readers stopped reading books. Similarly, the current wholesale adoption of digital screens – in educational as well as leisure settings – has begun to affect our reading habits. Screens offer a substitute for reading from paper, but equally offer viewing, gaming and listening opportunities on the same device, not to mention the constant lure of social media. This increases screen time, offering strong competition for people’s leisure time and reducing time spent on sustained (book) reading. It also raises urgent questions concerning small- and large-scale effects of technology on educational outcomes. There is evidence that screens change the reading experience in terms of memory and (in the case of fiction) transportation. It is also likely that digital texts are simply taken less seriously than texts on paper to begin with. Together with the 24/7 availability of the huge amounts of searchable information, these and other changes will no doubt affect how we think about knowledge and information. It promotes justin- time information gathering rather than memorizing of facts, as well as thinking in terms of smaller fragments of information rather than longer chunks that have already been synthesized into knowledge. The multidisciplinary EU COST E-READ Action, running between 2014 and 2018, has fostered a great deal of empirical research on the effects of the wholesale adoption of screens for reading. The conference Books and Screens and the Reading Brain is intended to showcase some of the preliminary findings. What really changes and why? But these findings also need contextualization, relating them to the history and present practice of reading and the social history of literacy.


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