E-MAIL'S PLUSES AND MINUSES: E-mail may help some people reduce the costs of long-distance communication, but a recent study suggests chats over the phone (remember those?) have a personal touch that e-mail just cannot mimic.
Of 309 people surveyed by researchers from Ohio State University, roughly half said they've made fewer long-distance telephone calls since they began using e-mail.
The respondents said they prefer actual conversations when it comes to expressing affection or giving advice, but they preferred e-mail for communicating with people in faraway time zones, ending the problem of back-and-forth answering machine ''phone tag.''
HIGH-TECH TESTING: When it comes to taking paper-and-pencil tests, the handwriting is on the wall for students who learned how to write using computers.
That is the basic finding of experiments conducted at five public schools in Wellesley, Mass., where students who wrote compositions for the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System on word processors scored higher than those who wrote on paper. Out of a possible 20-points, essays written on computers were graded about two points higher than those written on paper.
READIN', WRITIN' AND RECRUITIN': With unemployment at near-record lows, companies scouring the labor pool to meet staffing needs are finding that fewer recruits make the grade when it comes to basic skills in math, writing or reading, a study shows.
U.S. corporations that tested job applicants in 1999 for basic skills found 38 percent lacked ''the ability to read instructions, write reports and/or do arithmetic at a level adequate to perform common workplace tasks,'' according to the American Management Association.
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