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A study of the influences of e-book reading on tablet PC on the elementary school children’s reading ability and attitude
Facing the emergence of the digital reading era, the education sector is concerned about the impact on the elementary school children when they read e-books on tablet PC rather than paper books. In the present study, an experiment of e-book reading lasting for ten weeks is carried out on the elementary school children who were allowed to freely read 120 e-books downloaded on tablet PC and use all the functions of tablet PC. The present study aims at investigating the influences of e-book reading on tablet PC on the children’s reading ability and attitude, analyzing the children’s reading behavior with respect to e-books and understanding the children’s, the parents’ and teachers’ opinions about the children’s e-book reading on tablet PC in order to give some useful suggestions to the relevant units hoping to promote e-book reading among children. The present study adopted mixed methods. Firstly, it adopted the single-group pretest and posttest design. Before and after the experiment, the participating children were required to take part in a literacy skills test and a reading comprehension test and fill in a questionnaire related to reading attitude in order to understand whether the participating children’s reading ability and reading attitude were significantly changed. Secondly, it adopted a program to retrieve from the tablet PC the children’s reading traces on the e-reading software in order to analyze and summarize the reading records. Lastly, it adopted the semi-structured interviews with the children, the experiment class teachers and teacher librarians in order to understand the children’s and parents’ opinions about e-book reading on tablet PC; besides, the parents of children were invited to fill in a feedback form in order to investigate the parents’ opinions about school children’s e-book reading on tablet PC. According to the results of the study, I. the influences of e-book reading on tablet PC on the children’s reading ability are：1. E-book reading on tablet PC helps the children to increase their literacy skills. 2. E-book reading on tablet PC helps the children to enhance their reading comprehension. 3. There is no significant difference between boys and girls with respect to the effectiveness of e-book reading. 4. There is not necessarily a significant difference between children of different grades. Further studies are required to prove this link. 5. The children’s computer self-efficacy produces an important influence on the effectiveness of their literacy skills through e-book reading but no influence on the effectiveness of their reading comprehension. 6. There is a positive correlation between the children’s language score and their reading ability. II. The influences of e-book reading on tablet PC on the children’s reading attitude are: 1. After having the experience of e-book reading on tablet PC, the children’s reading attitude had been significantly and generally improved. 2. After having the experience of e-book reading on tablet PC, the children’s positive cognition with respect to reading had been significantly enhanced. 3. After having the experience of e-book reading on tablet PC, the children’s preference with respect to reading had been increased. 4. After having the experience of e-book reading on tablet PC, the school children’s reading behavior trend had been upgraded. III. The children’s reading behavior on e-book reading are: 1.In the process of reading, they had a lot of acts of sliding the finger across the screen. 2. While reading, they only spent a little time on reading a page. Although they read a lot of books, they often simply skimmed the books and seldom carefully read the books.As a result, it only produced a very limited effect on their reading comprehension. 3. While reading their favorite books, they would read page by page but had many acts of sliding and skipping page. This behavior was not really different from their behavior while reading paper books. 4. They chose the books subjectively and quickly. While facing a book they didn’t like, they would skim through a couple of pages and skipped out quickly. The content of book was the point allowing the children to continue to read. 5. While reading an e-book, they had multiple behaviors at the same time, such as listening to music and accessing Internet. 6. The children were not accustomed to using reading tool so they seldom used tools in the process of reading. 7. When they encountered a problem in the process of reading, the school children would try to find a solution according to their own habits and they would not firstly try to make use of the various functions of tablet PC to solve the problem even though the tablet PC was on their hand. IV. The children’s, the parents’ and teachers’ opinions about e-book reading on tablet PC are: 1. The children preferred e-books to paper books. 2. The children considered that e-books allowed them to more enjoy reading and that their reading ability was improved because they had more reading. 3. The children considered their multiple behaviors at the same time while reading had no influence on their concentration of reading. This viewpoint was different from the parents and teachers. 4. The parents and teachers considered that the main advantage of e-book reading on tablet PC was its convenience and that the children’s interest in reading was really increased because of e-books. This was the point that the parents and teachers were willing to see. 5. The parents and teachers were concerned about looking at the monitor for a long time would cause harm to the children’s eyesight. 6. The parents and teachers considered that the various functions of tablet PC, such as accessing Internet and game download, were more attractive than e-books for the children. An appropriate control or management is required. 7. The school children, parents and teachers all considered that the disadvantages of e-book reading on tablet PC were the hardware defects of tablet PC and the software operation of e-book. Based on the results of the study, the researcher gives some suggestions to reading guiders and e-book reading promoters, and those who produce e-books and e-readers. The researcher also gives some suggestions about the future study and hopes to be helpful to the practice and research area of elementary school children’s e-book reading.
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