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High -Tech Heretic: Reflections of a Computer Contrarian

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Bruce Harkins Jr. Review

Technology is such a a very differentiated subject for most people living in the world today Although there are gray areas, there are generally three different types of views. 1. Technology revolutionizes education. 2. Technology is a hindrance and we shouldn't use it ...
Technology is such a a very differentiated subject for most people living in the world today Although there are gray areas, there are generally three different types of views. 1. Technology revolutionizes education. 2. Technology is a hindrance and we shouldn't use it at all. 3. The belief that technology (when appropriately used in moderation) is helpful in various aspects of society. The author, Clifford Stoll, believes that technology is a great and powerful tool in our society and it should be used to its maximum potential.. Stoll recognized that technology is helpful but humanity must remain vigilante to the idea of decreased dependency of technology. After reading the book, one can become better equipped to think the way that Stoll does. I read the book with the idea that we are attached to technology and there is absolutely no way that we could survive with out it. After reading it I was became comfortable with the idea that we do not need to computers to survive.. He brings to light the different views that people have regarding technology. Stoll then dives into the discussion of why do we need these computers? Why isn't having pencil, paper, and a good teacher enough to teach a student. Stoll even goes on to tell us that even the worst teacher would not become a better teacher because she/he has technology in their classroom. One can sense the stress that Stoll places on the simple fact that humans depend on technology far too often Even if you already know that you agree with what he believes there are still so many issues that you don't think about that he brings to your attention. I know that as a future teacher these issues that were brought to my attention were very helpful. It makes you think a little more and decide for yourself what you really think. He was completely right when he said that computers don't go well with mud, water, paint, etc. that comes with being a kindergartener. He even points out that it doesn't take much to learn how to use a computer and children learn this easily. Computers cannot teach essential skills. These are all things we need to think about and he helps us to do that that. With the presentation of his strong and informed opinion, Stoll helps to bring to light some of the issues that society has encountered with technology. The book is very well composed and I found his words to be well supported and I agree on many point. The author was able to demonstrate that technology can be used for many beneficial reasons. However, he was also able to state the obvious and not so obvious problems that occur when an emphasis is placed on technology. If you are looking for book that will provide a lot of insight into the benefits and detriments of technology in society, I would strongly recommend this book.

posted by Bruski2006 on May 9, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Jasmine Jackson jnjack01@moreheadstate.edu

Stroll made some very interesting points in his book, and I feel that it would be a great book for teachers in the school systems to read, because I do feel that there are some teachers that do rely on technology more now to teach their classrooms, instead of doing hand...
Stroll made some very interesting points in his book, and I feel that it would be a great book for teachers in the school systems to read, because I do feel that there are some teachers that do rely on technology more now to teach their classrooms, instead of doing hands on activities. I will be the type of the teacher that will include as little technology in the classroom, because I am not great with computers any how. Yes I do believe there is need of some technology in the classrooms, because there is so much new technology in the world that our students will have to learn how to work regardless if it is for work or school in the future. I feel that in Elementary classes there is not much need of using technology, and yes it does make learning fun in classrooms if they get to play a game, but if they are depending on games to help them learn early on then they are going to expect the same when they get older. Also the use of calculators in classrooms is starting early on in the classrooms. When I was in school, we started using calculators when we started using the high tech calculators, now I see young students using calculators to do mental math. I know I have not been out of school very long, but when I was in grade school we were not able to use calculators to do mental math. One thing that I didn't agree with Stroll is learning is not suppose to be fun. I feel that learning can be fun at times. I am a very outgoing person and I believe in fun in learning. I feel that there are other ways than technology that you can have fun to learn. I learn by doing, and if you are a good teacher you will be able to find ways to keep a child's attention without technology at all times. I do believe it is ok to have technology in your lesson plans ever now and then, however I don't think it is ok to depend on technology to teach your classroom. There are both pros and cons to using technology. Yes it is ok to use technology in the classroom, because technology is part of the world, but it should have its limit and teachers should not abuse it and use it as a crutch to teach their students. I also agree that instead of schools using all their money on computers and technology software, they could be using it towards something different than trying to put computers in every classroom.

posted by Jasmine67 on May 3, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2014

    High Tech Heretic is an interesting read only for its historical

    High Tech Heretic is an interesting read only for its historical value. The book published in 1999 attempts to dissuade the reader from the temptations of using computer technology in the classroom and marginalize predictions and promotions of the computer industry.

    The author brings up several good points and concerns with the use of computer technology in education. How it is easier for most people to read paper than a screen, and how the internet is full of misinformation. Several of his points do deserve consideration when implementing computer technology in the classroom. However the world has changed a lot in the past fifteen years and many of the authors technical concerns have gone away and the environment we call the internet has changed a great deal.

    Think of how many more professional news outlets publish their works online. How search engines have changed and become more refined. And the rise of social media and social interactions that now occur online. These ideas where simply not available when this book was written and have greatly impacted the value of the internet and the information it contains.

    The author’s ideas of valid sources of information have been turned on their heads in the past fifteen years. With the emergence of crowd sourcing and the ability for every tone to contribute, change, and comment on information published on the internet. Many have said that this leads to inaccurate information. However I submit that with the ability for the audience to correct misinformation it make it much more likely that a text will be corrected than a print book ware only a few people can change the work.

    If you are looking for a book that will take you back to the turn of the millennium this is an interesting read, but if you are looking for wonderful insight on computers in education look for a more current source

    (In the interest of full disclosure I am writing this review for a graduate class and would not have naturally picked up this book)
    chris lang

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  • Posted December 7, 2012

    High Tech Heretic Review┬┐Very Good Read!

    While reading this book, I especially noticed that even though Stoll was a computer programmer he wasn’t a fan of using technology in the classroom; he believed technology had its pros and cons in the education world. This book will bring many things to your attention especially what kind of uses to bring into your classroom as an educator. Clifford Stoll worries about the misuse and use of computers in education. I believe he is right; there is no substitute for a certain amount of hard effort when it comes to learning. A lot of multimedia software attempts to make learning fun and there is nothing wrong with that as long as it doesn't make light of the learning process. There is much of value in this book but for me the most important part was Stoll's thoughts on the differences between hypertext and "real" text and just how detrimental an effect those differences can have on the reading habits and abilities of young people. I also enjoyed Stoll's exposé of the eagerness, at many levels of government throughout the United States, to install technology at any cost. This demonstrates a lack of understanding among officials who should know better. Often, it seems, the funding of technology in schools becomes a political gamble. Stoll points out that there is little need to emphasize the learning of technology within the curriculum, especially at the expense of other subjects, because young people pick it up so easily anyway. I think it wouldn't be too strong to say that he views a large part of the US policy on computers in schools as crazy. He puts a lot of strong arguments to support this view.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2011

    Overview of High Tech Heretic

    Clifford Stoll¿s book High Tech Heretic is an interesting book that discusses a topic that has been debated since the early nineteen nineties which is are computers beneficial to students in schools. There are many people who insist that computers are beneficial and many people that say that computers are not needed and hinder the students more than assisting them. Clifford Stoll shows that there has not been a single documented study that proves that computers are doing students any good as well as the fact that there hasn¿t really been a documented study that shows that computers are doing students any harm either. There is not really anything that a computer can do for a student that a good teacher is incapable of doing for a student. Computers are good for gathering information on different topics however they are not required or needed to teach a student and they are not there to encourage students to learn that is what the teacher is supposed to do and yet there is so much emphasis on computers and technology in the classroom.
    Clifford Stoll¿s book High Tech Heretic gives the reader a one sided view of the debate that has been occurring since the nineteen nineties about computers and technology in the classrooms. Clifford Stoll sides with those who believe that technology should not be in the classrooms at all even going into the debate as to whether calculators should be allowed to be used in classrooms. It seems as though Clifford Stoll believes that technology is hindering the students not only in the classroom and in school but also outside in the community in social situations and in the careers that they will have later on in life. Clifford Stoll gives his opinion about technology in the classroom and does not hold back any thought or feeling.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2011

    High Tech Heretic: An One-Sided Arguement

    B.Isaac
    High Tech Heretic Review
    Fall 2011

    In Clifford Stoll¿s book High Tech Heretic it talks about his worries with the usage of technology in today¿s classrooms. His view is mainly that we are misusing them rather than using them for their true purpose. I am a huge advocate for the use of technology in the classroom, but feel that technology should not be the sole resource in a learning environment. There is plenty of software out there that takes away the process of learning the skills necessary for being in a society where everything is a competition.

    Being a College Student technology has played a huge role in my Education, and they way Stoll emphasizes the use of technology in the curriculum is a little non- opened minded. He talks about how we shouldn¿t emphasize the concept of learning technology in classroom curriculum because it takes away from other subject areas. His claim is that since students can easily pick up on it there is no need to teach it.

    High Tech Heretic was an easy read, but for all the wrong reasons. This book was extremely one sided, lacked a good argument and their were several moments throughout the book where it seemed like he repeated himself a lot. The parts about Education were very repetitious and Stoll could have took out several things throughout the book and shorten the number of chapters. The parts about computer technology were very general in what Stoll discussed and I feel like it was things that were not important to his purpose for this book.

    Stoll¿s inconsistency to include both sides of the argument really hurts his credibility in my opinion. It will certainly give you something to think about. Why in the world did I read this? Over all I would give this a book a 5/10 and in my opinion that is being nice. Maybe someone else would like this book, but I was more annoyed with it, than informed.

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