Hybrids and Vooks

I saw this post on Facebook by my colleague at PCCC, Greg Fallon.

The hybrids are coming! Textbooks with well-chosen, embedded multimedia content should clearly enhance learning. Let's hope, though, that the quiet, solitary experience of sustained reading doesn't one day turn into a quaint pastime.
He links to an article on the NY Times that posits that in this age of the iPhone, Kindle and YouTube (though I'm not sure how that replaces a book any more than TV or movies do), traditional book publishers are actually looking at mashups of text, video and Web features.

An example is the solidly old-fashioned Simon & Schuster who is working with a multimedia partner to release four “vooks.” I'm not sure that term will survive but it is a video interspersed with electronic text that you can read and view online, on an iPhone or iPod Touch.

Is this kind of multimedia hybrid really necessary to get today's readers to read? Is it still reading?

“There is no question that these new media are going to be superb at engaging and interesting the reader,” said Maryanne Wolf, a professor of child development at Tufts University and author of Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain. But, she added, “Can you any longer read Henry James or George Eliot? Do you have the patience?”

And, if we are talking about EducationWorld, I still haven't seen enough evidence of electronic books having any real impact. How many people do you actually know using a Kindle or  Sony Reader? I only know one person.

I like this quote from novelist Walter Mosley in the article:

“As a novelist I would never ever allow videos to substitute for prose. Reading is one of the few experiences we have outside of relationships in which our cognitive abilities grow. And our cognitive abilities actually go backwards when we’re watching television or doing stuff on computers.”
So, leave this blog post right now and read a book or, better yet, go to that person you have a relationship with and grow your cognitive ability!

BTW: If you were thinking of grabbing "vook" as a website URL to get ahead of the pack, you are already behind - see http://vook.com for some samples of vooks.


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