Publication Date


Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Doctor of Education in Educational Technology


Educational Technology

Major Advisor

Norm Friesen, Ph.D.


Patrick Lowenthal, Ph.D.


Ross Perkins, Ph.D.


Digital and print texts, as well as the efficiency of reader engagement with them, have long been of interest in scholarly literature. Most of the studies undertaken in this connection seek to compare reader comprehension of these two text media. But what are the lived experiences of reading digital versus print? And how do those who are still expected to be growing in their reading skills experience immersion and distraction in either medium? This study utilizes a hermeneutic phenomenological approach to investigate high school students’ experiences of digital texts in order to examine how their experiences with digital texts differ from experiences with traditional print media. The students in this study all had experiences with reading both printed and digital texts in the classroom environment and had been exposed to purposeful instruction in digital literacy. Two rounds of data collection took place; a total of 22 adolescents were interviewed virtually and asked about their reading experiences involving both print and digital texts. Experiences with printed texts were often more emotional and more connected with the sense of smell. Digital texts were associated with a more deliberate focus, as well as a greater variety of distractions, many of which are connected with the device itself, such as notifications. While experiences with printed reading materials were more likely to be described as immersive, students also described experiences with digital texts, often shorter ones, having immersive characteristics. Recommendations include providing materials for adolescent students in a variety of formats and genres, as well as comfortable and private reading locations and time for adolescents to enjoy reading. By connecting with and living out positive reading experiences, adolescents can improve their reading skills and become lifelong learners because they are lifelong readers.


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