Inquiry Plan

Inquiry Plan.

Question: Should the use of Physical/Written material continue to be used when there is the option of Digital/Electronic material?

Why I chose this question: I got the idea of this question sometime in the last week when I was reading a book, and I remarked on the fact that I much rather enjoyed reading when it was the actual physical book rather than reading the digital version on my laptop. This made me wonder is there was any actual reasoning to keep physical copies of books or writing things out rather then digitalizing them or typing out your notes. Is it possible that writing notes out by hand could help you retain knowledge better than typing it out, and could reading from a physical book rather from a digital version make you remember more? Overall I’m just curious as to the pros and cons of moving from the written era of books and paper to the digital era of computers and laptops.


First round: In my first round I will be looking into the difference that it makes between reading things off of a screen vs a physical book. Whether we retain things to the same degree from both, why there may or may not be a difference between the two, and how the different surfaces affect us. Reading causes eyestrain, is the effect worsened on an electronic surface, does late-night reading become a bad habit with electronics due to the emitted blue light that also reduces melatonin production and makes it harder for us to sleep, these are things that I would like to look into on this round to compare reading between physical and electronic surfaces.

Second round: In this round, I will be looking into the differences between taking down information by writing out on a piece of paper vs typing it out on a computer/laptop. Is there a difference in retention because with writing you learned to write each letter out so with each word you have to think about it and so your mind pays more attention vs on a keyboard where you simply press a button and no further thought is put into what you are taking down. There is also the issue of hand pains from the position you have to keep your hands in while writing and when typing. As well as what other differences there are between typing information vs writing it down.

Third round: In this round, I will be looking into how the two compare as tools, what are their limitations and what can they help accomplish. How do the two compare in the different methods that they can be used? Computers have the advantage of being able to automate and calculate things that would usually be tedious to accomplish by hand, while the paper may have the advantage of it’s easier to go back and correct mistakes or mark errors. What is their ideal use and In which cases may one be thought to be better than the other.

How will this question have implications upon others: This question may affect others as the change from paper and books to computers and laptops is happening right now, and more and more schools and people are choosing to use computers to take their notes or to read their books off of. I believe just this year they started saying that all the grade nines would be using laptops in Charles Best. So obviously as we move to electronics it’s important to know not just the good of them saving paper and trees but also what may be the bad of changing to electronics. My hope with this inquiry is to get a better understanding of how we learn from taking notes, reading and doing exercises which I have no doubt may prove to be useful to others as well.


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Thank you for reading!

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