Books beat the web for depth of understanding

19th November 2010 at 00:00

I was concerned at the conclusions of your story "'Technology trumps books'" (November 12). Seven out of 10 teachers believe interactive whiteboards and computers are more important than textbooks, it maintains.

This flies in the face of recent research that the presence of interactive whiteboards has added no value whatsoever. But what has? Libraries and librarians which co-ordinate book and IT provision intelligently.

Now, if we are saying that some textbooks date too quickly and the information is better delivered by IT, I have no problem with that. But try doing deep research on evidence by computer alone. Take the Second World War. You can Google the facts, but to truly understand you will need to read Antony Beevor and the like. An over-reliance on the browsing and quick-retrieval advantages of the internet will weaken, rather than strengthen, pupils' understanding.

Many reports, including material from the OECD, have demonstrated clearly that reading for pleasure is the single most effective guarantor of academic success.

Alan Gibbons, Campaign For the Book, Liverpool.

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