Romano....c'mon man. This is a very twisted argument that has a simple solution. First, do kids have shorter attention spans "these days" compared to previous generations? Yes, I guess you could say that (not that I knew my parents or grandparents as kids so who would I be to judge this) so let me answer again. Yes, from what I have been told "kids these days cannot focus like they use to." Oh come on this is some bs. I will tell you why kids don't "focus as well" or better yet obey elders such as professors or mentors like they have in the past. The expectations have remained the same but the punishments have faded. I have sat in classrooms before where the night before we were supposed to read an assignment. 10 minutes into the class it was apparent who had read the material and who had not. Did anything come from it...no. The students who read talked the whole time and the ones who didn't sat there praying that they were not called on. Class ended and that was that.
I believe it is the teacher's duty and job to enforce the rules of the class. If he feels a 10 pg reading will do just as good as a 100 pg paper than that is his decision. Honestly, I am all for the short reading lessons and maybe long ones such as books or reports for projects or more heavily weighted grading.
My favorite part about Romano's text is the Clemson shoutout, "Look for readings with graphics and pictures that reinforce the text, and pare down the required pages to the essentials. The less reading assigned, the more likely students will do it." Well Romano, Nilson might be right but I believe this quote to be taken way out of context. For the record, I would love to sit down and read more books and articles such as the ones Romano is talking about, but the majority of the time it is just not feasible. I would like her to be in a student's shoes with 19 hours, a part time job, a dog, extracurricular activities etc... and see if she would be more willing to agree with Nilson.
Times are changing. People need to adapt and move on. Each one of these articles are about clinging to the past when their time would be better spent worrying about how to better the future.