The loss of something

As life moves forward, we lose some things.

When I was a kid, my family had encyclopedias. I used to enjoy sitting down and reading them. Or skimming them to find interesting articles. Hours and hours of my childhood were spent learning that way.

Today, kids have Wikipedia and Google. Both offer huge advantages over encyclopedias. But some things are lost. I wonder how many kids spend hours combing Wikipedia for interesting articles.

I have a Kindle, and I love it. But it’s far from perfect.

Recently, I learned of a high school not far away that is “paperless.” No books, except eBooks. Again, some good things come with that — but some things are lost.

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5 Replies to “The loss of something”

  1. There’s a blog article, which I can’t dig out at the moment, which describes a study that someone did on students using ebooks exclusively. What they miss out on are the visual cues from paper books — the weight of the book, flipping quickly between two pages, scribbles in the margin, having two or more books open at once. There are technological ways round all of those, but they aren’t as easy to use, and so don’t get used.

  2. I still have a set of World Book, and occasionally we pull down a couple of volumes to look stuff up, but mostly we use the internet. But there was something about browsing through those pages… My kids didn’t have internet access until a few years ago, so they read voraciously throughout their childhood. I’m glad we did it that way.

  3. Yes! I spent hours looking at Egypt. Also, we had a medical dictionary that was just enough to suggest hypochondria without throwing me into full-scale panic the way webmd.com does. Oh, the good old days!

  4. I memorized the various breeds of dogs and cats, and I pored over biographies of Helen Keller and Anne Frank. In later years, I discovered history-changing events and the theories of wacky philosophers and psychologists.

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