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Let’s Ban all Print Books on College Campuses

November 16, 2011

Marc Prensky, who coined the term “digital native,” an idea which has been used to label may of our current and future college students as naturally technologically savvy, wrote an inflammatory opinion article that was posted on the Chronicle of Higher Education’s website this past Sunday, Nov. 13th. In this article Prensky advocates for the immediate ban of all print books on college campuses.

“Let me be clear,” he says, “that I’m not advocating that we get rid of the good and valuable ideas, thoughts, or words in books—only that we transfer them to (and have students absorb them through) another form” which would be “transformational, in very positive ways, for education.” Some of these transformations which Prensky cites in his article are the ability of e-readers to collect commentary from professors and other sources, and to link their readers to multiple other texts.

However, perhaps more interesting than the article itself, are some of the comments people have made in response to this article, which total 60 at this point in time. Some of the comments speculate upon the nature of the piece and wonder if it is intended to be a satire or if Prensky is actually serious in making this argument. Other comments point out flaws in this so called “plan,” such as the current cost of e-readers and the fact that the copyright still constrains a lot of what society can do with electronic texts. Still others argue that e-readers and e-books would do nothing to help students learn to think more deeply and critically. There are event comments which are directly related to concerns of librarians, such as the question of who owns all this digital information. And then there is the final comment that I will leave you with,Someone’s drunk a whole lot of industrial strength industry Kool-Aid”

I will leave it to you to decide….

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