Paper or pixels? Does the medium affect the way people read?

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Paper or pixels? Does the medium affect the way people read?

Andrew Dillon Ph.D., the dean of the Graduate School of Information Science at the University of Texas has written a very interesting blog post on the nuances of online reading.

Reading beyond cognition

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you know that I’m interested in the topic of thinking on a holistic level. I consider systems thinking and embodied cognition milestones towards the goal of holistic thinking. Given that interest, I found Mr. Dillon’s comment at #2 in the list below a good reminder to what reading requires:

2) The act of reading involves all levels of human activity: physical, perceptual, cognitive and social. We tend to think of it only as a perceptual and cognitive act but materials must be located and handled, and the forms of information we share reflect cultural and behavioral norms of groups which manifest as genres and types. Any significant act of reading moves seamlessly among these levels of engagement.

The medium matters

Not all types of content should be consumed on the same medium. The medium matters. Your goals behind consuming the content also matters. Consider the following comment from the same article:

With most of the material we read during the working day and online, we often aren’t willing to commit to the full range and stop after scanning. Content providers know this and produce accordingly. Add to this the delivery of digital material on a platform that is constantly refreshing, updating and allows users to multi-task across applications, and the results are a series of short acts involving the perusal and reaction to messages and short form texts that break up the normal progression through deep reading tasks.

Is this bad? Not if your goal is to keep on top of changing contexts and identify facts. Yes if you want to read a novel or really study a technical report.

Read the whole article

This excerpt doesn’t do the original post any justice. I recommend reading the entire article: “Reading Online is Ruining My Life…” Graduate School of Information – University of Texas, blog post by Andrew Dillon Ph.D. Downloaded April 10, 2014 from: http://blogs.ischool.utexas.edu/infomatters/2014/04/10/reading-online-is-ruining-my-life

Listen to a related podcast

I also recommend listening to a recent NPR radio affiliate interview with Mr. Dillon titled: “Is reading online affecting your ability to learn?“. SCPR.org “Airtalk” by Larry Mantle, Downloaded on April 10, 2014.http://www.scpr.org/programs/airtalk/2014/04/10/36878/is-reading-online-affecting-our-ability-to-learn/

Your day your city your future; a unique project encompassing Civic Engagement, Film Making, Social Media, Educational, and Art.

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Originally posted on The Curious Case Of Passion:

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Your Day. Your City. Your Future. is a unique project encompassing Civic Engagement, Film Making, Social Media, Educational, and Art.

Most of the world’s people now live in Cities. As global population swells, the efficiency and functionality of our cities are essential to the sustainability of human existence. Cities are the centers of our current society. They exist for the people they serve. Help us take a closer look at how we can better live together in tight communities, with the best services that provide opportunities for the future. Your Day. Your City. Your Future. is a campaign platform that inspires urbanites to tell stories that inform a more sustainable future in their cities.

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Zooming out from healthcare to systems thinking

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Originally posted on Find What Works:

I’ve written about health systems in a few other places recently: a post on  Humanosphere  talks about health systems in general, and a post on Reboot’s blog  looks at lessons from governance reform. Both posts were sparked by a recent event  hosted by the Center for Global Development, Population Services International, and others.

One of the big takeaways from the event was the need for the global health sector to renew its focus on health systems strengthening. Experts from several organizations and donors acknowledged the successes of disease-specific approaches in recent years, but highlighted how enabling environments and system-level interventions hold promise for improving health outcomes across multiple conditions. Thinking about systems is important in global health and, more broadly, international development.

However, there are several distinctions to be made as we zoom out from health to the systems surrounding it. At the risk of being pedantic, I want to slice up our thinking…

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When another perspective is needed

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Originally posted on Achieving Business Outcome With Enterprise Architecture:

Russell Ackoff taught about synthesis, the opposite of analysis.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russell_L._Ackoff

He said you can’t understand something by looking at its pieces.

His three steps of synthetic thinking are to ask:

  1. What is this thing a part of?
  2. What is the behavior of its containing whole?
  3. What is the role of the thing in that containing whole?

Think big picture. Ask big-picture questions.

Dr. Russell Ackoff on Systems Thinking – Pt 1

Dr. Russell Ackoff on Systems Thinking – Pt 2

Dr. Russell Ackoff on Systems Thinking – Pt 3

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Wearing your systems thinking hat: habits for better evaluation

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Originally posted on Megan Rita Roberts:

My undergraduate education had a strong foundation in systems thinking – it is one tool that is particularly well aligned with the work of Human Ecologists , for helping us understand complex interactions in social-ecological systems and mechanisms for change. I came, naively, to evaluation thinking that I would be able to apply these big systems thinking approaches (e.g. soft systems methodology , critical systems heuristics ) on a large scale in evaluations. That is, that I would be writing them into methodologies, that clients would be lapping them up, excited to see the possibilities for reflective practice. In reality, this reflects my initially instrumental understanding of systems thinking!

It’s also why I was so excited when I discovered that there is a body of literature around systems concepts and thinking in evaluation – bringing two interest areas of mine together. Bob Williams and Iraj Imam’s anthology of systems thinking…

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Do We Fully Understand Diversity?

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Originally posted on Systems Savvy:

Dimensions of Diversity

This graphic does a decent job of showing the different dimensions in which we find diversity

What do we mean when we talk about diversity? Merriam-Webster online’s first definition is “the quality or state of having many different forms, types, ideas, etc.” Not bad. Not bad at all. How about the second definition? It’s presented as “the state of having people who are different races or who have different cultures in a group or organization.”

I find this second definition somewhat troublesome and simplistic, in large part because I think a large percentage, if not an overwhelming majority, of people think of diversity in a very limited form. In my experience, within organizations — i.e. enterprise-size businesses — race, ethnicity, physical ability, and gender are about the only classifications in which “diversity” is interpreted to matter. This in spite of definitions that suggest far more inclusiveness, like this one from the University…

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Search Interface Design (workshop at ESE 2014)

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Originally posted on Information Interaction:

ESE 2014

I’m pleased to say that on Monday 28 April I’ll be leading a workshop at Enterprise Search Europe on the subject of Search Interface Design. It’ll be held at the Park Plaza Victoria London, and will consist of a mix of formal presentations, group work and discussion. It’s a chance to discuss with like-minded folks your own challenges in the world of search interface design and usability, and to share ideas, best practices and solutions. I’ve appended a longer abstract below. If you have any queries, just drop me a line.

Hope to see you there!

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