Reading on paper and scrolling text on a screen in academic learning

Ana Isabel Santos, Carlos Miguel Ferreira, Maria José Sá, Sandro Nuno Ferreira de Serpa

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In the contemporary context, there is a growing practice of reading higher education teaching support material using digital media tools, via scrolling text on a screen on multiple devices (e.g. tablets, iPads and computers). These materials can be either specifically prepared digital texts or scanned printed texts, as opposed to the tradition of reading on paper. Thus, the following question emerges, which functions as the leitmotiv of the present study: what is the pedagogical potential of digital reading by scrolling text? In order to answer this question, we analysed a variety of information addressing this topic, which was collected from multiple sources. The analysis of this information allows concluding that, sometimes, rather than by the intentionality or pedagogical potential of the academic learning reading processes, this practice seems to be justified by the possibility of implementing a technology that tends to meet the actors' expectations (mainly students). There is the need for some caution in the mobilisation of digital reading in each specific situation, insofar as this reading is not always - necessarily and under any circumstance - the most fruitful. Besides the specificities that differentiate digital reading from printed reading (such as concentration and the relationship with new technologies), students' traits, their motivation, their knowledge about the use of the reading device or the type of digital document are some of the key elements to take into account for the success of learning through this reading process in academic learning, which, in addition, cannot overlook the importance of the type of teacher-student relationship established.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-143
Number of pages8
JournalAcademic Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Academic training
  • Higher education
  • Printed reading
  • Screen reading
  • Scrolling text on a screen


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