Children, and Chances

by Harry on April 18, 2013

The Boston Review symposium I pointed to last year on James Heckman’s “Promoting Social Mobility” is now out in book form as Giving Kids a Fair Chance. Its all still on the web, at least right now, but the book is cute and inexpensive. I’m curious what other people’s experience is, but I find that when I assign a book in class it gets read by more students, and more carefully, than if I assign something from the web; so I am planning to use it alongside Unequal Childhoods with my freshman class in the fall.



Kevin McDonough 04.18.13 at 2:27 pm

Yes, to the pedagogical advantages of hard material over web based stuff. Absolutely — paper over paperless any day.


kbob 04.18.13 at 6:50 pm

Is there any reason to think we don’t all read and retain better when we use paper?


John Quiggin 04.18.13 at 7:43 pm

Capacity to search? Instant availability anywhere? I would expect the outcome to be the same as in when reading replaced oral transmission: Internet users read more, and put less effort into retention, since it’s so easy to go back and find it again.

Going beyond speculation and anecdote, is there any good research on this? I remember some on word processors vs handwriting, but I don’t know where it came out, and it didn’t matter to me since I was barely capable of handwriting, so abandoned it at first opportunity.


roger nowosielski 04.18.13 at 7:57 pm

Since speech is a motor activity, one would think that handwriting, typing, taking notes, etc., would tend to reinforce retention.


Fu Ko 04.20.13 at 3:13 pm

I’d be interested in a three-way comparison: computers, paper, and book-readers with passive displays.


Fu Ko 04.20.13 at 3:17 pm

Incidentally, you can download Unequal Childhoods from

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