Online Conference "Future of a Book in the Digital Age. Intercultural Dialogue of the USA and Russia"
How often do today's youth read the books? What genres of literature do young people prefer today? What versions of books - electronic or printed - are popular today? Participants of a joint online conference with international participation tried to answer these and many other questions, which was organized between schoolchildren of the Warrensburg High School, Missouri USA, under the guidance of Rebekkah Smale, teacher of Algebra and Mathematics, and the 2nd year students learning English as the principal foreign language in programs "Information Systems", "Applied Mathematics" of the Institute of Mathematics and Information Technologies as well as 2nd year students of the Institute of Biology, Ecology and Agricultural Technologies of PetrSU under the guidance of Vladislav Dorofeev, a senior lecturer at the Department of Foreign Languages for Technical and Natural Sciences.
The online conference was held online via Skype and was dedicated to the future and prospects for the coexistence of the traditional printed book in the digital age along with e-books and gadgets. The prior purpose of the meeting is to broaden background knowledge about the country where the target language is spoken; promote intercultural exchange and organize real-time language practice for students.
"Following the analysis of the entire range of information regarding books reading represented in various Internet sources as well as in videos posted on Youtube, students from the USA and Russia have prepared oral reports raising this issue.
Russian students made presentations in English with detailed statistics on readers’ preferences, including: trends in certain genres of literature among the older and younger Russian generations; interest in reading books among residents of Russia; the impact of digital technology as well as quarantine restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic on readers’ choices.
American schoolchildren, in turn, shared information with their peers from Russia about how often and how much young people in the United States read, telling in detail about the reading club activities in the United States and literature circles organized in American schools",
- told Vladislav Dorofeev, a senior lecturer at the Department of Foreign Languages for Technical and Natural Sciences of the Institute of Foreign Languages.
In the final part of the online conference, both groups of students from Russia and the United States participated in a debate on the prospects of using a traditional printed book in the era of ICT development.
The participants of the online conference have come to the conclusion that, despite the visible surge in e-books and various digital media popularity in recent years, it cannot be said with an accuracy of 100 percent that traditional printed books will suffer the fate of clay tablets and ancient scrolls. Printed books and e-books have their supporters and opponents.
The main argument in favor of e-books is still the price, however, young people both in the United States and Russia still prefer the paper version since the printed book has its own unique aura, aesthetic content, helps improve memory and concentration, keep eyes healthy and can just serve as a wonderful gift.