Hard science to back up what we've know all along -- the brain can learn emotions, sensitivity and experience from reading, not just living. In tests watching which areas of the brain become active when reading about different things, scientists found that there's no neurological difference between and action and reading about an actionl -- the same parts of the brain go to work. AND, when reading metaphor or evocative description -- a description of a skunky smell activates the smelling regions of the brain as well as the image regions. Reading DOES
A better title might be "In Defense of Books" -- "Books can bridge that gap between very general and very scholarly that is difficult to find in a journal article. They often cover a broad subject in smaller chunks (i.e., chapters), and can provide a good model for narrowing a topic into one that’s manageable for a short research assignments. Books can also help students exercise the muscles that they need for better internet and database searching as they mine chapter titles and the index for keywords."
There is so much freely available that was impossible to access only a few years ago, and a motivated student CAN put together a high quality education w/o formal college (or really even high school). The sticking point is, and always has been, motivation -- and that's something no college or university can provide, open online or otherwise.
Wow. Arizona has banned Mexican-American studies, including YA novel Mexican White Boy by Matt de la Peña, in high schools. Imagine banning Asian American studies in California, or African American studies here in Atlanta. How can they do this and get away with it?