New vs News: The Medium Is the Medium

July 12, 2010 at 11:54 am Leave a comment

David Brooks’ most recent op-ed piece for the NYTimes reminded me of Alan Kay’s comment about what’s truly New vs. what’s News.  Brooks is arguing that books are more powerful than the Internet for real educational gains.  Of course, empirical studies of the Internet today can only measure the Internet as it is today.  The potential (as I’m suggesting in my mini-post today about the iPad) is much greater.

This study, along with many others, illustrates the tremendous power of books. We already knew, from research in 27 countries, that kids who grow up in a home with 500 books stay in school longer and do better. This new study suggests that introducing books into homes that may not have them also produces significant educational gains.

Recently, Internet mavens got some bad news. Jacob Vigdor and Helen Ladd of Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy examined computer use among a half-million 5th through 8th graders in North Carolina. They found that the spread of home computers and high-speed Internet access was associated with significant declines in math and reading scores.

via Op-Ed Columnist – The Medium Is the Medium – NYTimes.com.

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