An new Iowa State University study finds students at an unnamed midwestern university did not stop reading despite the use of new technologies such as the internet. Professor Kouider Mokhtari, says they studied some 500 students who routinely used the internet, along with instant messaging, and other electronic devices.

Mokhtari says they were interested in the reading done by the students for pleasure and for classes. He says they were particularly interested in whether the time spent on the internet interfered with reading for pleasure and school. Mokhtari says they were surprised to learn that college students were spending more time reading than students of 10 years ago.

He says researchers thought the prevalence of the internet and the amount of time spent on-line would take time away from other types of reading — but he says they found that students are still reading for pleasure — even with the internet. Mokhtari is a professor of curriculum and instruction and says it’s important that students continue reading off-line.

Mokhtari says reading is good for acquiring knowledge and becoming literate and they believe that reading because you want to is even more important than reading because someone wants you to read. Mokhtari says they now want to take the study to another step and see if students who "multitask" learn as well.

He says students tend to be on the phone and listening to music while also reading for pleasure or school, and the researchers want to find out if doing two or three things at the same time impacts their ability to concentrate on what they are doing. Mokhtari says finding out the effectiveness of multitasking will answer more questions.

Mokhtari says it will tell how much students are able to focus when multitasking, and how much they are able to comprehend. Goudidar says they plan to do another study to address the questions about multitasking. Students in the study did report more enjoyment from using the internet than reading or watching television.