If you could take one thing from the traditional “sit down and read a book” experience, and insert that into the “perusing through hypertext world”, what would it be? First of all, as much as I love computers, nothing beats taking a good book, with that old paper smell, and holding in my hands while I fall asleep in my comfy chair. In reality though, technology is far from transforming my laptop into a musty book, so the items I would like to see used more when developing hypertext, are pages that turn and a more accessible highlighting feature.
When I read a traditional text, I look forward to the moment when I reach the end of the page, and I get to turn that page and see what is next. When reading most hypertext, the closest I get to turning a page is pressing an arrow for next. For me, it always seems like I am watching a slide show or scrolling down a never ending paper. It would also make it easier for younger children to make the connection between traditional text and hypertext. They both consist of pages, paragraphs, main ideas, and details. Many of my students would not connect any of these literary elements between the two, but if when they clicked the word NEXT and a page turned, they might begin to notice the similarities.
Most of my time reading is spent with a nonfiction text, either for school or for enjoyment. Since this is the type of reading I enjoy, I usually carry a highlighter and transform the pages into an artwork of important facts. I know this option exists in some programs, but it is not easily accessible when reading all hypertext. Three weeks ago, my students were using a new assessment software which allowed them to quickly highlight important sentences with their mouse as they read. It was as simple as right clicking and dragging, and instantly, the text turned yellow. It stayed highlighted until they were finished. Wouldn’t it be great to be able individualize hypertext everywhere with our own highlighter?
Linking to new text, looking up a definition in seconds, and jumping between paragraphs make reading much more user friendly, but some things cannot be replicated. Feel free to let me know what you think could be added to hypertext to make it more like a traditional text.