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Do kids learn as well on iPads, eBooks?

Compared with traditional textbooks, the iPad and other devices for reading digital books have the potential to save on textbook costs in the long term, provide students with more and better information faster, and lighten the typical college student’s backpack. Yet the track record on campus for eReader devices so far has been bumpy, USA Today reports. Early trials of the Kindle DX, for example, drew complaints from students about clunky highlighting of text and slow refresh rates. Princeton and George Washington universities this spring found the iPad caused network problems. Federal officials in June cautioned colleges to hold off on using eReaders in the classroom unless the technology can accommodate disabled students. Though many of those problems are being or have been addressed, some of the most tech-savvy students aren’t quite ready to endorse the devices for academic use. And some educational psychologists suggest the dizzying array of options and choices offered by the ever-evolving technology might be making it harder to learn, rather than easier. “The challenge for working in the electronic age is that we have so much access to information but we still have the same brain we always had,” says Richard Mayer, psychology professor at the University of California-Santa Barbara. “The problem is not access to information. It is integrating that information and making sense out of it.”

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