use and understanding

from BBC NEWS — Net beats books with children “Children apparently know more about the internet than about […]

from BBC NEWS — Net beats books with children

“Children apparently know more about the internet than about books, a survey suggests.
Six out of 10 youngsters questioned knew that “homepage” was the front page of a website – but only 9% could explain what the preface to a book was.
More than a third knew that “hardback” was a type of book, but 57% identified “hard drive” as part of a computer.
Children said they were regularly using the internet to help with their school work. ”

I wonder what this study actually tells us. Knowing what a homepage is helps you navigate– it’s a term you have to learn to be able to use functionality. A preface is common in books for older kids, and not all books have them, and if you don’t know what it is, it doesn’t harm your ability to use the book.

I would have liked to see something on how books stacked up in leisure time… how does Harry Potter do against Yahooligans? Still, it’s clear that the web is here to stay is a vital research tool for everyone from children to the scientists who spawned the beast.


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  1. 2

    I think you have the right idea but I’d go even further: I would wager that there simply are no prefaces in kid’s books, for older kids or younger kids. In fact, from the paragraph you excerpted, Id say that the researchers themselves don’t understand the web. Isn’t a homepage more properly compared with the *cover* of a book?


  2. 3
    Paul Nattress

    I think the survey was a bit unfair. A preface in a book is the equivilent of “site furniture”. It’s a not a major ingredient in the whole of the book but rather something that some books have as a supplement to the main content.

    On a site, the homepage is the single most important part of the website. I agree with Phil – a fairer comparison would have been the blurb on the back or the dust jacket. I’m sure the figures would have been closer if these were compared to the homepage.

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