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Thursday, May 04, 2017

Digital storybooks might be just as good as an adult reading to a child | The Hechinger Report

This story was produced by The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, independent news organization focused on inequality and innovation in education. Read more about Blended Learning.


Photo: Nichole Dobo
"The quality of the story matters more than the medium, according to a new study" summarizes Nichole Dobo, staff writer and social media editor.  

NYU Steinhardt
Photo: quintanilla 



Young children can learn just as much from a story delivered entirely via a digital device as they can from an adult reading a dead-trees version of the same story, according to a new study from researchers at New York University.

The quality of the content matters more than the format it’s delivered in, according to the study, which was released Monday.

Photo: Susan B. Neuman
“This should calm family fears that digital media is not necessarily a good thing,” Susan B. Neuman, professor of childhood and literacy education at New York University’s department of teaching and learning, said in an interview. “It can be a good learning tool, if used properly.”

The small study of 38 children in a Head Start preschool program sought to find out whether oral language comprehension differed if a story was delivered by a digital device or by an adult reading a words-on-paper storybook to the child. The children watched and heard the digital story on an app called Speakaboos that uses audio and pictures with action. The researchers adapted four of the digital storybooks to paper format for the study.

The findings are significant because the debate about children’s exposure to digital devices – known as “screen time” – is an enduring source of consternation for parents and teachers. That hasn’t stopped the march of technology in schools. Even in preschool classrooms, the amount of technology has been rapidly growing: In 2015 more than half of preschools surveyed by Northwestern University reported digital devices were available in the classroom.
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Source: The Hechinger Report


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