Sweden wants textbooks back in school. They have been replaced by screens, but these would be responsible for the drop in the level of the pupils.
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Sweden has chosen to invest 60 million euros for the return of books to the classroom. Objective: one textbook per subject and per student. Because in this country, paper media have indeed disappeared for fifteen years, but the government believes that the omnipresence of screens has made students lose the desire to read. When it comes to in-depth reading, and not just looking for information on short texts, studies show that reading on screen is more difficult and rather tiring
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A meta-analysis, summarizing around forty international studies, and covering 170,000 readers, showed that backlighting and reading while scrolling (therefore scrolling the text with the mouse) increases visual fatigue. , and disturbs spatial memory, because the sentences do not always appear in the same place on the screen. The consequence is that this reading gives less good comprehension results than reading on paper, especially when it comes to understanding and memorizing concepts. The only screen that is an exception, studies tell us, is the reader, because it works with a fixed page and electronic ink, which offers a visual comfort similar to paper.
A different situation in France
In France, we are not in the same situation regarding digital at school. Screens are used three times less in primary school and almost two times less in middle school compared to Sweden – this is what emerges from international surveys. It must be said that in France, textbooks are still present, and screens are used more as a complementary medium: for example to have access to a digital textbook, documentation or discussion forums.
And that seems to be bearing fruit: according to the latest international comparison on the ability of students to use a computer at the end of the fourth year, France is certainly not at the top of the ranking with Korea, Denmark and Finland, but we we are in the middle of the rankings, and even ahead of Germany and the United States for what is called “computational thinking”. This is the reasoning needed to write code or create a computer program.