The children returning to school this week with their new gadgets don’t remember a world without smartphones, tablets, e-readers and laptops. For some, this generation of digital natives are using technology in collaborative and social ways that will revolutionise learning. Others worry about the damage these devices are doing to their concentration spans and their ability to think deeply.
So what is the truth about technology and education? Is it better to read War and Peace on a Kindle or on paper? Or should we forgo 19th-century novels completely in favour of co-creating our own stories on Facebook? As a recent New Scientist article acknowledged, the rapid pace of technological change means large-scale studies of many of these issues are lacking. However, there is some reliable research.