High -Tech Heretic: Reflections of a Computer Contrarian

High -Tech Heretic: Reflections of a Computer Contrarian

3.9 427
by Clifford Stoll
     
 

The cry for and against computers in the classroom is a topic of concern to parents, educators, and communities everywhere. Now, from a Silicon Valley hero and bestselling technology writer comes a pointed critique of the hype surrounding computers and their real benefits, especially in education. In High-Tech Heretic, Clifford Stoll questions the relentless

Overview

The cry for and against computers in the classroom is a topic of concern to parents, educators, and communities everywhere. Now, from a Silicon Valley hero and bestselling technology writer comes a pointed critique of the hype surrounding computers and their real benefits, especially in education. In High-Tech Heretic, Clifford Stoll questions the relentless drumbeat for "computer literacy" by educators and the computer industry, particularly since most people just use computers for word processing and games—and computers become outmoded or obsolete much sooner than new textbooks or a good teacher.

As one who loves computers as much as he disdains the inflated promises made on their behalf, Stoll offers a commonsense look at how we can make a technological world better suited for people, instead of making people better suited to using machines.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An often funny and acerbic look at the new computer priesthood." —The Christian Science Monitor

"Stoll's long experience with technology gives him authority. . . . His claims are based on facts, logic and common sense." —The Seattle Times

"Wonderful. . . . Stoll has Internetted there, computed that and seen through the hype about computers and education."        —Chicago Sun-Times

"When Stoll says something, gearheads and non-gearheads alike usually listen. Not only is he an entertaining writer, but he is completely sensible in his approach about the role computers should play in our lives."        —The San Diego Union-Tribune

"Wonderful...SHould be in the hands of every school administrator ready to sign a check for more computers."-Chicago Sun-Times

Industry Standard
Distant Learning


Do computers belong in the schools? Should public libraries be cutting back on books in favor of PCs and Internet connections? Can you make an aquarium out of a used Mac?

The answer to one of these questions is yes, and Clifford Stoll has the goldfish to prove it. An Internet legend and well-known dissenter from the utopian hype that has sprung up around personal computers, Stoll assaults in his latest book the idea that computers and the Internet offer any special learning opportunities, attacking school administrators, librarians and gullible parents for thinking these machines, in the brief period between purchase and obsolescence, could possibly substitute for reading books and thinking critically with the help of a dedicated teacher.

These criticisms come from a man who knows a little something about computers. An avowed ex-hippie, Stoll was an astronomer and systems administrator at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory in the 1980s when he noticed that he couldn't account for 75 cents worth of computer time. He investigated and discovered a hacker breaking into the system -- a spy, in fact, who wandered all over the network of U.S. military computers in search of sensitive data. Stoll's inspired sleuthing led to the intruder's capture in Europe, and Stoll's account of this drama was the basis for his best-selling first book, The Cuckoo's Egg, as well as an episode of the PBS program Nova. His next book was the provocative Silicon Snake Oil.

His latest, High-Tech Heretic, is a further critique of the idea that computers, networked or otherwise, represent a panacea in the complex business of living human lives. Stoll's book is written in what I call Net prose, a chipper, informal style that (perhaps unwittingly) owes much to modern advertising copy. It's inoffensive, somewhat flavorless and poses no problems to the vocabulary-challenged.

Fortunately, Stoll is a very smart guy who brings his skeptical intelligence to bear on some critical questions. This is a man who cares passionately about learning and its transmission, and he can't figure out how diverting students with computer exercises fosters understanding. He cites horrifying instances of schools shortchanging true pedagogy for machinery they're not properly equipped to use, and demolishes the arguments one by one for computers in schools.

To the idea that students will graduate into a world of ubiquitous computing, he says, "Automobiles are everywhere, too. They play a damned important part in our society and it's hard to get a job if you can't drive. ... But we don't teach automobile literacy."

To the notion that networked computers can keep curricula current, he scoffs, "The past two decades of research haven't greatly changed basic high-school math, physics and chemistry."

To the suggestion that computers make learning fun, he answers that real learning is unavoidably hard, and that computers merely substitute games. His arguments, like those of Yale computer scientist David Gelernter before him, are convincing. "Computer literacy" is an empty cliche that, for most people, means knowing how to type, backspace and click a mouse. In fact, Stoll doesn't think schools need much in the way of technology, aside from indoor plumbing and good light. He sees "distance learning" as a joke, and loathes the tendency of today's students to rely on calculators. He heaps scorn, too, on the idea that computers can somehow replace books in libraries.

In the vein of Silicon Snake Oil, Stoll is convinced the Internet isolates us (in part by enfolding us in useless data while real life is going on outside), rather than bringing us together. He says the Net is filled with junk, which of course it is, but doesn't credit its extraordinary usefulness as an everyday source of information, goods and services.

High-Tech Heretic is one of those books that makes me wonder anew why the Internet hasn't revived the monograph. Old-fashioned, single-subject tracts of this kind are impossible to sell as books, because they aren't long enough to justify a book's price, but they're too long for magazines.

On the Internet, however, people could buy them electronically, print them out and read them on paper. That way an author like Stoll wouldn't be tempted to pad a perfectly reasonable work on a worthwhile topic with lesser pieces that really aren't apropos.

At least he really make an aquarium from an old Mac. And showing his true colors (not Big Blue), he turns an old PC into a kitty litterbox.

—Daniel Akst writes frequently about money and investing.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Stoll's first book, The Cuckoo's Egg, an exhilarating account of how he brought down a ring of computer hackers, was a 1989 bestseller. By 1995's Silicon Snake Oil, he'd become a digital apostate. He reiterates many of the points made in his second book here, focusing on the increasingly widespread use of computers in nurseries, preschools, classrooms and libraries. Throwing down the gauntlet in his introduction, he states, "I believe that a good school needs no computers. And a bad school won't be much improved by even the fastest Internet links. That a good teacher can handle her subject without any multimedia support.... That students, justifiably, recognize computer assignments primarily as entertainment, rather than education." In the first half of the book, he explains and justifies these beliefs: computers are expensive, quickly become obsolete and require maintenance by an expensive technical staff, usually paid for by eliminating other services (e.g., money for Internet connectivity sometimes comes from library budgets). He contends that computers and calculators work against familiarity with numbers, learning basic arithmetic and an understanding of algebra. Distance learning is a high-tech successor to correspondence schools, and neither has the impact or fascination of live courses, he believes. Stoll takes society's responsibility to educate children seriously, but his excessively anecdotal approach weakens his arguments, which would have been bolstered by a short bibliography. Still, there is much useful ammunition here for parents who share Stoll's views. (Oct.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Computer gadfly Stoll is a prophet crying out in the high-tech wilderness. In this jeremiad against the cult of computing, particularly in the classroom, he argues that inspiring teachers, library books and journals, and human contact are far more important for students than the latest technology. Countering the clich s of Don Tapscott's Growing Up Digital (LJ 11/1/97) and Seymour Papert's The Connected Family (LJ 11/1/97), Stoll proclaims that because of overemphasis on acquiring computer literacy students are missing out on fundamental skills and experiences that make them well rounded. He agrees with Jane Healy, author of Failure To Connect (LJ 8/98), that computers are not good for young children and are used for entertainment more than education. Exceptionally readable, Stoll's book offers numerous anecdotes and research studies to support his argument. Continuing in the provocative vein of his Silicon Snake Oil, this is recommended for all libraries.--Laverna Saunders, Salem State Coll. Lib., MA Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Do computers belong in the schools? Should public libraries be cutting back on books in favor of PCs and Internet connections? Can you make an aquarium out of a used Mac?

The answer to one of these questions is yes, and Clifford Stoll has the goldfish to prove it. An Internet legend and well-known dissenter from the utopian hype that has sprung up around personal computers, Stoll assaults in his latest book the idea that computers and the Internet offer any special learning opportunities, attacking school administrators, librarians and gullible parents for thinking these machines, in the brief period between purchase and obsolescence, could possibly substitute for reading books and thinking critically with the help of a dedicated teacher.

These criticisms come from a man who knows a little something about computers. An avowed ex-hippie, Stoll was an astronomer and systems administrator at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory in the 1980s when he noticed that he couldn't account for 75 cents worth of computer time. He investigated and discovered a hacker breaking into the system – a spy, in fact, who wandered all over the network of U.S. military computers in search of sensitive data. Stoll's inspired sleuthing led to the intruder's capture in Europe, and Stoll's account of this drama was the basis for his best-selling first book, The Cuckoo's Egg, as well as an episode of the PBS program Nova. His next book was the provocative Silicon Snake Oil.

His latest, High-Tech Heretic, is a further critique of the idea that computers, networked or otherwise, represent a panacea in the complex business of living human lives. Stoll's book is written in what I call Net prose, a chipper, informal style that (perhaps unwittingly) owes much to modern advertising copy. It's inoffensive, somewhat flavorless and poses no problems to the vocabulary-challenged.

Fortunately, Stoll is a very smart guy who brings his skeptical intelligence to bear on some critical questions. This is a man who cares passionately about learning and its transmission, and he can't figure out how diverting students with computer exercises fosters understanding. He cites horrifying instances of schools shortchanging true pedagogy for machinery they're not properly equipped to use, and demolishes the arguments one by one for computers in schools.

To the idea that students will graduate into a world of ubiquitous computing, he says, "Automobiles are everywhere, too. They play a damned important part in our society and it's hard to get a job if you can't drive. ... But we don't teach automobile literacy."

To the notion that networked computers can keep curricula current, he scoffs, "The past two decades of research haven't greatly changed basic high-school math, physics and chemistry."

To the suggestion that computers make learning fun, he answers that real learning is unavoidably hard, and that computers merely substitute games. His arguments, like those of Yale computer scientist David Gelernter before him, are convincing. "Computer literacy" is an empty cliche that, for most people, means knowing how to type, backspace and click a mouse. In fact, Stoll doesn't think schools need much in the way of technology, aside from indoor plumbing and good light. He sees "distance learning" as a joke, and loathes the tendency of today's students to rely on calculators. He heaps scorn, too, on the idea that computers can somehow replace books in libraries.

In the vein of Silicon Snake Oil, Stoll is convinced the Internet isolates us (in part by enfolding us in useless data while real life is going on outside), rather than bringing us together. He says the Net is filled with junk, which of course it is, but doesn't credit its extraordinary usefulness as an everyday source of information, goods and services.

High-Tech Heretic is one of those books that makes me wonder anew why the Internet hasn't revived the monograph. Old-fashioned, single-subject tracts of this kind are impossible to sell as books, because they aren't long enough to justify a book's price, but they're too long for magazines.

On the Internet, however, people could buy them electronically, print them out and read them on paper. That way an author like Stoll wouldn't be tempted to pad a perfectly reasonable work on a worthwhile topic with lesser pieces that really aren't apropos.

At least he really make an aquarium from an old Mac. And showing his true colors (not Big Blue), he turns an old PC into a kitty litterbox.

- Daniel Akst writes frequently about money and investing.

Kirkus Reviews
A brilliant skeptic assails high-tech boosterism, attacking the trendy assumption that computers will profoundly improve our schools, libraries, and whole society. Stoll (Silicon Snake Oil, 1995) has spent the last two decades participating in, and commenting on, the Information Age. Unlike most high-tech insiders, Stoll isn't sure that society's problems will disappear if people spend more time in front of their computers, surfing the Web, or chatting online. Stoll bemoans a major educational trend of the last decade: the rapid computerization of the classroom. He's a passionate believer in a quite old-fashioned medium of data transmission: the book. He asserts that advocates of the computerized classroom have confused data with wisdom, wisdom being the ability to filter data and place it into a larger perspective. This is exactly what the internet cannot do, says Stoll. In the computerized classroom, "solving a problem means clicking on the right icon," allowing zero time to reflect. Thus, students focus on the shallowness of data, supplemented by multimedia graphics, while failing to consider the real-world contexts in which problems arise. Computers and calculators also create unhealthy dependencies that lead to student laziness and emotional detachment. In addition, computer learning erodes social skills. Wonderful as they may be, virtual communities can't replace human interaction: The internet "gives us the illusion of making friends with faraway strangers while taking our attention away from our friends, family, and neighbors." As schools and libraries blithely race down the information superhighway, our most public institutions become dehumanized, so that researchlibrarians and teachers are increasingly "technology facilitators." Despite the conventional wisdom, Stoll isn't so sure there's a pot of gold at the end of the high-tech rainbow. A much-needed antidote to all the current buzz about our glorious "wired" future. If you can manage to get away from your computer screen long enough, read this valuable book.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780385489768
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/28/2000
Edition description:
First Anchor Books Edition
Pages:
240
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.53(d)

Read an Excerpt

A Literate Luddite?

Am I the only one scratching my head over the relentless invocation of the cliche "computer literacy"? Is a supermarket checkout clerk computer literate because he operates a laser scanner, a digital scale, and a networked point-of-sale computer? Is my sister computer literate because she uses a word processor? Are the mirthless robots at the corner arcade computer literate because they reflexively react to Nintendo droids?

Our nation now spends about three billion dollars a year to wire our classrooms, with an aim of making our country's students computer literate. But how much computing does a high school student need to know?

I'd say a high school graduate, intent on going to college, should be able to use a word processor, manipulate a spreadsheet, know what a database does, be able to use e-mail, and know how to browse the World Wide Web.

But not every high school graduate needs to be able to program spreadsheets or lay out databases. It's a waste of time to teach competency on specific programs . . . software taught in high school probably won't be used elsewhere, or will soon be outdated. Instead, we should teach what a database does and where it's useful, so that if that student winds up running a warehouse or keeping an address book, she'll know to turn to a database program.

So, how long did it take you to learn a word processor? A day? Maybe three? Aside from the mechanical typing lessons, this just isn't challenging stuff.

To cover what I've outlined is hardly difficult—perhaps a few weeks on a computer. Unworthy of much time or academic attention. Learning how to use a computer—as opposed to programming a computer—is essentially a mechanical task, one that doesn't require or encourage creativity.

Of course, using a computer requires learning to type. Oops, I mean acquiring keyboarding proficiency. Again, hardly rocket science.

Computer literacy doesn't demand the same level of instruction as English, American history, or physics. It doesn't require the same amount of effort, either. Spending semesters teaching computing simply subtracts time from other subjects.

Probably because computers are so easy for students to learn, educators love to teach computer techniques. But what are their students prepared for? A lifetime of poking at a keyboard for eight hours a day. It's one more way to dumb down the school, giving the appearance of teaching futuristic subjects while dodging truly challenging topics.

Today, practically all office workers know word processing. Most learned it late in life, well past age eighteen. But some subjects, while easy for a child to learn, are impossible for adults . . . languages, for instance. The earlier you start, the easier to become fluent. Same with playing a musical instrument. Or drawing. Or public speaking. Gymnastics. Plenty of people wish they'd learned a musical instrument or a foreign language as a child. But I've never heard anyone complain that they were deprived because they weren't exposed enough to computers or television as a kid.

Which gives you more advantages in business: having a long history of computer experiences, going back to programming Logo? Or fluency in Japanese, German, French, and Chinese? Which is more likely to lead to a rich, happy life: a childhood of Nintendo and Playstations, or one of hikes and bikes?

When I point out the dubious value of computers in schools, I hear the point "Look, computers are everywhere, so we have to bring them into the classroom."

Well, automobiles are everywhere too. They play a damned important part in our society and it's hard to get a job if you can't drive. Cars account for more of our economy than do computers: General Motors' revenues are many times those of Microsoft.

But we don't teach automobile literacy. Nor do we make driver's education a central part of the curriculum—indeed, many schools are now dropping driver's ed, recognizing that teenagers can learn to drive without intensive schooling.

Sure, cars and computers play a prominent role in our lives. Hey—soft-drink ads dominate our skylines and our globe's awash in a syrupy, brown sugar solution, yet we don't push Coca-Cola into elementary schools. At least, we didn't until educators invited Channel-1 and the advertising-laden Internet into classrooms.

But since computers seem ubiquitous, don't we have to bring them to school? Well, no. Television, which is certainly omnipresent, has been relegated to a fairly minor role in education, and politicians aren't funding new initiatives to buy more classroom TV sets.

Want a nation of dolts? Just center the curriculum on technology—teach with videos, computers, and multimedia systems. Aim for highest possible scores on standardized tests. Push aside such less vocationally applicable subjects as music, art, and history. Dolts are what we'll get.

Mathematician Neal Koblitz recognizes the anti-intellectual appeal of computers: "They're used in the classroom in a way that fosters a golly-gee-whiz attitude that sees science as a magical black box, rather than as an area of critical thinking. Instead of asking whether or not technology can support the curriculum, educators try to find ways to squeeze the curriculum into a mold so that computers and calculators can be used."

Computers encourage students to turn in visually exciting hypermedia projects, often at the expense of written compositions and hand-drawn projects. Pasting a fancy graphic into a science report doesn't mean an eighth grader has learned anything. Nor does a downloaded report from the Internet suggest that a student has any understanding of the material.

Yet the emphasis on professional reports sends students the message that appearance and fonts mean more than content. Kids stuck with pencils feel somehow inferior and out of place next to those with computer-generated compositions. The computer-enabled students spend more time preening their reports, rather than understanding the subject matter.

At a high school science fair, I saw a multicolor map of the Earth, showing global temperature distributions. I asked the report's author why the Amazon rain forest seemed so cold—the map showed the jungle to be thirty-eight degrees. "I don't know," he shrugged. "I found the map from the Internet." The guy never considered that the data might be in Celsius, rather than Fahrenheit.

Meet the Author

Clifford Stoll, an MSNBC commentator, a lecturer, and a Berkeley astronomer, is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Cuckoo's Egg and Silicon Snake Oil. He lives with his family in the San Francisco Bay area.

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High -Tech Heretic: Reflections of a Computer Contrarian 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 427 reviews.
TonyRacer More than 1 year ago
Computers in the Classroom? Ready, Set, No! Tony Dillow EDEL 302 High Tech Heretic is a book written by Clifford Stoll that questions the necessity of the Internet and computers in the education of our children and society today. Stoll has been programming computers since the sixties and on the internet since the seventies. However, in this book Stoll warns against the effects that the Internet and computers will have on our interactions with others. Stoll challenges what he calls, “techies” to question the false promises and gross exaggerations made by Internet and computer companies. Stoll has separated the book into two parts Why Computers Don’t Belong in the Classroom and The Computer Contrarian. Stoll has authored several other books including, The Cuckoo’s Egg, which brought him worldwide attention. Stoll is an energetic and entertaining speaker who is an astronomer at the University of California Berkley. Stoll is also a commentator for MSNBC. Stoll’s skepticism of the Internet and computers is shown in the section in the book titled A Literate Luddite. While at a science fair, he noticed a multicolor map of the Earth depicting global temperatures. He noticed that the Amazon rain forest, according to the map, was thirty-eight degrees. When he questioned the author of the report as to why the rain forest was so cold, the authors answer was “I don’t know, it was on the internet”. The author of the report never considered that the temperatures could have been in Celsius not Fahrenheit. This is just one of the many examples that Stoll uses in the book to show his harsh skepticism of the Internet and computers being the answer to our educational needs in the classroom. I really enjoyed reading the book. It has given me a completely different perspective of the importance or the lack of importance the Internet and computers should play in our schools. I recommend this book to anyone that has decided that the Internet and computers are the only way of the future for our children and society. Keep an open mind and listen to Stoll’s skepticism.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The School System is Racing Down the Information Super Highway, can we afford the fuel? “The byways of success are littered with geniuses unable to transform their ideas into reality”, a growing problem of technology in the classroom. In the book, High-Tech Heretic, Clifford Stoll delves into the world of technology as it is applied to the modern classroom. Looking at both the benefits of computers and disadvantages with the growing dependence on computers. Stoll does not look upon technology in a diminutive manner, just the overpopulation of computers in the school system. Though written over a decade ago, Clifford Stoll’s ideas and arguments still hold true today. Stoll is clear and concise with his opinion on the over use of computers in the classroom. Stoll supports his theories through both facts and statistics throughout the book. Stoll general thesis shows his disdain with computers being over used in the classrooms daily. Stoll states a computer cannot replace a good teacher. This point rings true with many aspects of learning. With students engaged in computer use, limitations on learning styles and the ability to affectively teach our children is ever growing. Stoll uses many examples to demonstrate this and many other points. Stoll discusses a child learning about magnets on a computer but does not understand the concept until an actual magnet is placed in the child’s hand. Tactile learning requires more than the stroke of a few keys, it is referred to hands on for a reason. Stoll’s arguments though conjecture, are sound and leave little room for debate. This book is a must read for any current, new, or prospective teacher. It will open your eyes to the pitfalls of overusing computers in the classroom, and hopefully remind some that the job of a teacher is to teach, not rely on the internet as a simple source of information.
Rosie_Smith More than 1 year ago
After reading High-Tech Heretic: Reflections of a Computer Contrarian by Clifford Stoll, I now have a different perspective towards technology in schools and classrooms. He makes his argument against the use of computers/technology in the classroom which takes away from important content. One would imagine having computers in a classroom may help the children learn more but in actuality how much more can children learn from computers than from a teacher? Stoll points out in his book that a computer cannot replace a good teacher and bad teachers ought to be replaced by good teachers not by computers. This I completely agree with; he questions what happens when a fifty-minute class gets diluted with a fifteen minute computer break. When he addresses this issue it dawned on me how a classroom with technology integrated into it could be cut short due to computer loading glitches. How many times have you been in class waiting for the teacher to get his/her PowerPoint presentation uploaded? During this entire time of waiting students get antsy and start talking to their classmates then when the teacher is ready he/she has to take more time out from teaching to get the students to calm down and get focused again. Stoll has many important points that make one question the use of technology and also the high costs schools are funding to integrate technology but lack educational resources such as books and supplies. I find it interesting that schools lack books for each student but yet most classrooms are equipped with macs. Another issue he talks about is the computer literacy movement and who stands to gain from this. “Corporations including telephone companies, communication firms, media outlets all promoting the wiring of our schools. What do these companies know or care about childhood development and education?” After he addresses this I’m left thinking and agreeing with Stoll that these companies have no clue about childhood development and education; we live in a society/world where making money is the quintessential part of life and targeting children and education is the key to making millions. These companies know that parents, teachers, schools etc. will pay lots of money if they think their children will benefit from technology but in reality our children’s education isn’t benefiting the corporations are. Clifford Stoll does an excellent job arguing his views on the implementation of technology into schools and classrooms and the negative impact they have on children and their future. This is a must read for parents, teachers and any student going into the education profession.
rebecca_shannon More than 1 year ago
If you compare the methods of educating students today, to the methods of ten years ago, a sizeable difference can be found between the tools that are used to teach children. One of the common strategies used to teach children today is through technology. Technology advancements have opened a new door for educators to teach materials to students in new ways. Is teaching students by using technology actually the most efficient method? This is a concern for parents, educators and students. In “High-Tech Heretic” by Clifford Stoll, Stoll examines the advantages and disadvantages of computers and other technology in the classroom. Stoll is an authority in the field of technology which makes the points he brings forth even more valid. Stoll is also very enthusiastic with his opinions that are supported by facts and statistics. Prior to reading the book, you may jump to the conclusion that Stoll is totally against technology, but he plainly points out in his introduction that he is critical of computing, but not down on technology and that computers do not bother him, as he uses one himself. He even states that the book “isn’t an anti-technology manifesto”. He simply seeks to point out the downsides of technology that may be more important than the benefits and seems to cover all bases. He asks questions like “What’s lost when we adopt new technologies?” and seeks to answer these questions. I feel he addresses these issues well. One of Stoll’s opinions that stood out for me was that “A computer cannot replace a good teacher”. This may lead to the idea that a computer should replace a bad teacher, but Stoll quickly points out that no, “A good teacher should replace the bad teacher.” He states that “A good school needs no computers.” I love how enthusiastic Stoll is in his ideas and how he points out these outstanding examples and support for his ideas that make the reader think. He points out a time when a child created a firehouse using construction paper and crayons and he sought reinforcement from his teachers about the work. Instead, of encouragement, he was ignored as the teacher worked with students on a computer to create computer graphic printouts. This provides an example of the school world today. Stoll’s writing of his ideas is hard to go against as he creates an elegant and well-backed argument. Stoll also doesn’t simply point out his ideas, he provides other views that may go against his own and then provides his input on the topic to showcase both sides of an argument to the reader where all positions are covered on the given topic to bring a home run view. This allows you the reader, to form your own opinion about technology, especially computers, being used in the classroom. This book is a must read to gain new insights on the idea of computers and other technology being used in the classroom. It may just change your whole perspective; read it!
Bruski2006 More than 1 year ago
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.
jay_bauer More than 1 year ago
High Tech Heretic lets us in on one of the author's, Clifford Stoll's soapboxes. The book brings to light one important question that we as teachers, students, parents, and administrators should ask ourselves often: are computers truly beneficial to education? Since the boom of the internet in the nineties this has been a much debated topic of interest. Throughout the book, Stoll quotes many so-called references that are claimed about technology in the classroom, yet cannot find any proof or examples of it actually doing anything a good teacher couldn't do. Whether one agrees with Stoll or finds him to be negative, nobody can doubt his passion for trying to shed light on this often heated subject. The author is an astronomer. Oddly enough, he was part of the successful growth and "boom" of the internet. However, Stoll suggests that we need to retain a high level of caution and skepticism when bringing this great technology into the classroom. It is important to note that Stoll never doubts the powerful and positive impact in today's world, yet does feel strongly that it may not be worthwhile in the classroom. Stoll makes many good points in this common sense book. In one chapter, Stoll looks further into the cliché of "Information is Power" and how many say the internet provides the information. He asks us who in our neighborhoods has the most access to information. This answer, in most cases, would be the librarians. He then goes on to ask if there are any might and powerful librarians around. He actually has a point here. All the information we really need is already there-with or without computers or internet. He fears that we are trying to put a band-aid on a flesh wound here by pretending the problem with schools today is "not enough technology". The real issues are lack of interest by students, lack of motivation and so on. In the author's eyes, computers are not going to generate any lasting interest and drive to excel in math, reading, sciences or any subject more than a teacher can. Another point worth considering that the author introduces is that of "Isolation by Internet". He shares that studies have shown that the internet can, and has, had long-term social impacts in negative ways. People are essentially unplugging themselves from certain healthy social realms as they fire up their Macintosh. I personally support Stoll's quest and realize that there are certain times in school that require no technology, yet we sometimes go to the tool as an easy fix or time-killer. I would like to, however, see some facts that support many of his ideas. I am suspicious that he has not put in the time, so to speak, to see if every point he made can be backed up. I am also weary that he may be guilty of taking some quotations out of context, bending the meaning in miniscule yet potent ways. In all, I agree with his chapter on finding the healthy balance. It is no surprise that society is in fact heading in a direction where computer literacy is of increasing importance, whether we like it or not. Therefore, the healthy balance is necessary in my opinion. I do end with this point though. A computer should never do anything that a teacher of any caliber can do. Which poses one final question: is there anything a computer can do that a teacher cannot?
Stephanie0071 More than 1 year ago
High-Tech Heretic was mind blowing from beginning to end. Just an amazing read all the way around. The pages were full of thoughtful insight that really can change the mind of the reader. This text will leave the reader in pure astonishment with facts, logic, and common sense that the author brings to light. It not possible after reading this book to look at computers in the classroom the same again; this book will not only entertain but educate as well. This book dances with the topic of computers in classrooms with humor and cold facts to give the reader a chance to decide their own opinion of the topic. High-Tech Heretic is a must read for any one concerned about the education of our youth. High-Tech Heretic opens Pandora's Box, once you have been educated in the truth of computers in the classroom you can never turn back. This book unravels the very fiber of technology and education in the classroom, and allows the reader to see how what happens when they become intertwined. This book hits hard on this touchy subject of computers in the classroom for parents, educators, and communities. Again, High-Tech Heretic is a must read and pass along to your friends kind of book. Finally, High-Tech Heretic really gets its readers to things more in-debt about the modern age of computers, and just how much we really need computers in our life. Furthermore, this book will leave you breathless and full of thoughtful details into what our classrooms are really made up of. Once you have read this piece you will have an opinion of your own to add to the conversations next time at your local school board meeting on the topic of more funding for technology in the classroom. Whatever you do don't let this book sit on the shelf, pick it up and read it.
cherylbaileyedel302 More than 1 year ago
High Tech Heretic, by Clifford Stoll, is a masterpiece. Every parent and anyone in the educational field, needs to take a look at this book. There is a whole world out there that we aren't aware of. This world is the world of our children's education and how computers are playing a major role. I was shocked after reading his book! This book has been most informative to me, as I am going to be a Special Education Teacher. I never would have known about the ways computers are wasting much needed funds that could be used in other areas of a child's education. Every educator should dive into this book so that they can make informed decisions about our children's education. Parents should also read the book because they need to know where some of the art programs are going and why some libraries are disappearing. Also Stoll points out that, the school ratio of teacher versus student could be better if the funds were going to buy new computers and IT people to maintain them. With all this being said, this book entertaining and on the basis of his take it or leave it attitude. The book actually informs without pushing the issue down your throat. I found his book to be fresh and to the point. I also found it to be so insightful that it didn't just state his point of view, it also made sense. Anyone who is uneducated about this topic should give this book a try. Then, you can make an informed decision on the basis of common knowledge. This book is full of common sense. The way he writes is amazing. This book is full of "ah-ha" moments. It is also full of things you would have never thought possible with schools. I love that he takes such a hard topic and makes it interesting and actually fun at times.
Jasmine67 More than 1 year ago
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.
SStambaugh 28 days ago
High-Tech Heretic Review By: Shellie Stambaugh EDEL 616 So my continually thought throughout reading this book is I wish that he would have written it now in 2016 because I want his thoughts on Smart Phones. We already know that Stoll he saw the world going toward smart machines and stupid people (Stoll, 2000, p.82). This book truly makes you think of the real need for computers in the education setting. Do computer enhance learning or are they taking valuable time and resources away from schools that could be used in a more productive way? Before reading this book I would have said yes, we need computers, we don’t want our students to be behind their peers when they go to college. I would have said that computers are there to even the playing field. Now Stoll has opened up my thoughts to how technology is being used in the classroom. Before the chapter on balance I would has said that its all about balance, it how the teacher used the technology in the classroom, but once again my mind was changed. Technology is cool and can be used to enhance learning, but should be used just because its technology, it should be used when there isn’t another way to teach it. The next YES… moment came in the calculator chapter. As the kid brother to the computer the calculator is taking away basic mathematical skill. I clearly remember practicing and practicing multiplication fact and those 1-minute drills. Those were not fun, but I know my facts and I can multiply in my head. My teachers only encouraged the use of calculators to check our work after we did it all on paper. The footnote on the bottom of page 76 remind the reader that students are taught how to write legibly, or how to spell anymore, because of the addition of the computer to the educational process. I’m an Educational Technology major and now I’m wondering if I am going to be the problem, am I going to be a hindrance to the students that I have agreed to teach. This book has made me re-think my purpose of completing this degree. Then I remember that I now know think to think before I add technology into my lesson just because it technology, I now know to be a skeptic when choosing software for my classroom and do my research. I think that a class designed to teach technology and how to use it and be comfortable with its use is a great middle ground for technology in education. Stoll, C. (2000). High-Tech Heretic: Reflections of a Computer Contrarian (1st ed.). New York, NY: Anchor Books.
Anonymous 6 months ago
The author of High Tech Heretic, Clifford Stoll, offers some unusual insight concerning the use and allocation of funds towards technology in the classroom. Stoll, a pioneer in the development of the internet and a leading person in the computer industry argues that technology does more harm than good in the classroom and that the thousands of dollars spent on wiring these schools and keeping the technology up to date would be better spent on more concrete forms of education like books and lab equipment. Stoll brings attention to common beliefs about technology in the classroom and debunks them. He explains that being computer literate doesn’t necessarily mean that someone is intelligent, it just means that they know how to work a machine and that nearly anyone can learn how to use a computer’s basic functions. When argued that computers in the classroom make learning fun, Stoll argues that learning is not always fun and teaching children that learning is fun only makes them hate it when learning is hard and you have to focus yourself. He argues that computers are cost inefficient, costing schools hundreds of thousands of dollars to be purchased, wired, programmed, and to keep a technology specialist on call only to be out of date, if not useless, within the next five years. Stoll believes that computer laptops being assigned to children only create another financial gap between poor and wealthy children whose parents are required to make a monthly insurance payment. Stoll argues that money spent on computers should be spent on books whose content is researched, that are durable, doesn’t make children targets, and that are going to last for at least a decade. All in all, High Tech Heretic brings to light the misconceptions people commonly have about computers in the classroom and stresses the need for common sense use of computers to aid, not take over the classroom and for students and teachers to focus on actually learning the content and not just assuming a student has mastered the content just because they made a flashy PowerPoint about it.
Anonymous 6 months ago
High Tech Heretic is a fast paced book that discusses the good and bad of technology in the classroom. The author, Clifford Stoll, is a lover of technology and computers! But even with his love of technology, Stoll still believes that technology is hurting our students and educators. In the book he talks about how "I believe that a good school needs no computers. And a bad school won't be much improved by even the fastest Internet links. That a good teacher can handle her subject without any multimedia support.... That students, justifiably, recognize computer assignments primarily as entertainment, rather than education”. This is saying that technology, computers or the Internet can in no way help a student with out the guidance or a good school and a knowledgeable teacher. With out these crucial things the Internet has not purpose being in a classroom since it wont really help beyond the point of providing knowledge. With the guidance of educators, that knowledge really means nothing. Stoll was very adamant about not being able to replace teachers with computers. "For years, we've been bludgeoned with the cliché 'information is power.' But information isn't power. After all, who's got the most information in your neighborhood? Librarians. And they're famous for having no power at all. And who has the most power in your community? Politicians. And they're notorious for being ill-informed." Stoll truly believed that information was not power, meaning, what’s the point of having the information if you don’t know what to do with it! It is so incredibly important to not just let technology over rule your life, there are many things a computer cant teach you, and even the things it “can teach” is just the computer giving information, not actually teaching in a hands on way where the student can learn.
Anonymous 7 months ago
I would highly recommend this book. This book could change the minds of people who have decided that the internet and technology is the future of our society and education. One of the reasons that i enjoyed this book oppose to other books written on the same topic, is because it is easy to follow. The first chapters are confusing, and i thought that the entire book would be as well. As you go on, the book is separated into two sections. This helps to guide the reader and eliminate confusion. Stoll offers may direct examples of his beliefs in the book. Stoll provides evidence and facts to support the topics of computer use in today's classrooms. This book is a must read for educators, students and parents alike. The content and information given by Stoll is mind blowing and shocking. It will change your perspective of computers and the way they are incorporated into schools. The informational facts and evidence alone makes Stoll's points valid. He does not push his opinions and try to persuade people to agree with this thoughts, but with the overwhelming information i do agree with him. This book has made me look at the way computers affect and do not affect students in today's classrooms.
JCaldwellmsu 7 months ago
High-Tech Heretic by Clifford Stoll takes in depths look into how computers are being used in classrooms. This book very carefully dissects whether or not the internet and computers are actually a benefit or if they are hindering learning. Clifford Stool very pointedly criticizes not the computer themselves but the hype and the over exaggerated promise of what they can do. In the book he states that he has built his career around computers but he is wary about their almost unreachable hype. I agree with Stoll on many points in this book the largest one being, that teachers cannot be replaced by technology or computers. Many people argue that technology is the way of the future but they sometimes forget the very large human component that goes into making that future prosperous. Technology can’t create change in the world the only thing that can do that is people with technology being used as a tool to aid them in that change. This is idea is what I think Stoll was trying to get across. Teachers are in classrooms to inspire and care for students and to give them the tools they need to succeed. These tools include computers and when used properly computers are a great promoter of learning but as Clifford Stoll points out in this book they can never replace what teachers do. Another great point that is pointed out in this book is the fact that so many things can malfunction with technology. A computer can get a virus and crash or have something break and if we were solely dependent on computers that would be the end of a lesson for that day. Oppositely though if we are creative and mindful people who are using technology as an aid rather than a lifeline the lesson will always continue regardless of whether or not the computer is working that day. Overall I really enjoyed this book there were a lot of great points that made me question, and also confirmed many ideas I had prior to reading this book. I would recommend this book to anyone considering or already in a teaching position.
IrettaMSU 7 months ago
I have never read anything from Clifford Stoll so I was going into this book blindly as a reader seeking for a personality. This book was introduced to me by my professor in my technology in the classroom class I had to take for my major, education. My class taught me ways to use technology for the greater good in the classroom and how much it would benefit the students. I thought for sure this book would give me more reasons on why I should use technology and everything I could do with it in my future classroom. Boy, was I wrong. This book speaks to you, down right comes out and smacks you in the face with discussions all about the use of technology. In this book you will not find dry facts about technology and benefits, you will find experience. Not to mention he is a delight to read if you love a sarcastic tone. With every opinion he has a counter opinion to really make you think for yourself. Stoll discusses what classroom may have been before turning them into computer labs, which is one of my favorite parts. What classes were cut because computers are an easier way of doing it? Art? Carpentry? It really makes you think what all we have given up just to add a computer to a room. Stoll writes about how learning is interpreted by teachers today who love technology in the classroom. Everything you have ever thought about technology will be questioned. The ultimate goal of this book is to think and answer for yourself. By all means you won’t be able to find your opinion of something by searching the web. He talks about all of things that may go wrong while using technology in the classroom and all things that some think are right. Everything is questioned in a delightful, finny, sarcastic tone. A great read for future educators of all grades levels.
AmandaReveal 7 months ago
High Tech Heretic by Clifford Stoll is a great read and focuses on the negative of computers in the classroom. Stoll has developed his career around computers but realizes that they can also have a negative impact on education. He makes you think about how much technology should be used in the classroom. If a student constantly has a computer in front of them, they may become lazy and impatient. Students are able to immediately get feedback from a computer but are unable to do so in a classroom while a teacher is teaching. Stoll writes that a true balance would be ideal. Another point that Stoll makes is a computer cannot replace a good teacher. A quality education can be provided from a teacher. A computer cannot provide the education that is equal to a good teacher. Computers also have glitches and may delay the class. If a teacher has a classroom of young children and a glitch occurs, they are not going to sit and be patient until the technology is properly working. I agree with Stoll on several points that he talks about in the book. This book will be helpful when I think about incorporating technology into my classroom. Technology should be used in the classroom but there has to be a balance. As a future educator, I have to know how to balance it out to provide my students with a quality education. We need to be educated on the advantages and disadvantages of technology in the classroom. Stoll makes you think about how much technology is unnecessary in the classroom and potentially creating more problems than good. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and the way Stoll makes you think about technology. This is a must read for all future and current educators.
Lora 7 months ago
Should computers be put into a classroom? There are three different types of views on this subject according to Clifford Stoll the author of High Tech Heretics, 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 believes that technology is a great and powerful tool in our society and it should be used to its maximum potential. Stoll believes that technology is helped if it is used in the right way. Stoll dives into technology in the education world and even though this book was written over a decade ago it still holds true today’s modern education and technology. The author stats that a bad teacher cannot become a great teacher by using technology in the classroom. When reading this book I had the mindset of we cannot live without technology because we are so attached, but after reading Stoll’s ideas I now have a mindset that we do not have to have technology every second of the day to live. In his book Stoll places the mindset that people use technology far too much. Stoll talks about how computers don’t go with paint, water, and mud like they do with Kindergarten. As a future teacher I feel that making messes is part of learning and exploring and we can’t do those things with a computer. Learning how to use the computer comes natural in modern education and we cannot learn essential skills when using just technology. Stoll does a great job explaining how learning how to use the computer is easy for children and how we cannot learn essential skills with the use of technology. Clifford Stoll made this book easy to understand and he explained how technology can benefit us and how it can hurt us when teaching in the classroom. Overall, this was an excellent read and I encourage teachers and future teachers to read this book.
Anonymous 8 months ago
Should computers be put into a classroom? There are three different types of views on this subject according to Clifford Stoll the author of High Tech Heretics, 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 believes that technology is a great and powerful tool in our society and it should be used to its maximum potential. Stoll believes that technology is helped if it is used in the right way. Stoll dives into technology in the education world and even though this book was written over a decade ago it still holds true today’s modern education and technology. The author stats that a bad teacher cannot become a great teacher by using technology in the classroom. When reading this book I had the mindset of we cannot live without technology because we are so attached, but after reading Stoll’s ideas I now have a mindset that we do not have to have technology every second of the day to live. In his book Stoll places the mindset that people use technology far too much. Stoll talks about how computers don’t go with paint, water, and mud like they do with Kindergarten. As a future teacher I feel that making messes is part of learning and exploring and we can’t do those things with a computer. Learning how to use the computer comes natural in modern education and we cannot learn essential skills when using just technology. Stoll does a great job explaining how learning how to use the computer is easy for children and how we cannot learn essential skills with the use of technology. Clifford Stoll made this book easy to understand and he explained how technology can benefit us and how it can hurt us when teaching in the classroom. Overall, this was an excellent read and I encourage teachers and future teachers to read this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Clifford Stoll is an author whose sarcasm and intelligence about technology makes a text so interesting. This book makes your feelings and beliefs about technology in school systems and societies seem like a disadvantage and then it makes you think it could be an advantage as well (in your own mind). When I first started reading this book, I thought Christopher Stroll hates computing, but the more I read it the more I realized just how much he loved it. I understood that the whole purpose of the book was just bringing arguments to the table, that to some teachers, staff, parents may of not asked themselves before. It really makes you open your mind to a new world of technology and just how much technology is in your life without knowing it. Stroll made interesting points in this book, even when I didn’t fully agree with all of them. I suggest you have an open mind when you read this book, not only does this book make you thing Stroll is being negative towards education (which most of the time, he is!) but within all his sarcasm he raises very good point. There were points in the book that I totally agreed on, one of them being about how they are taking about art rooms and children’s hands on opportunities so they can make computer labs out of them! To me, this is one thing Christopher Stroll and me can agree on! It is good to have some knowledge (at a certain age) about computers, but why should kindergarteners have to take standardized test on a computer! Come on! This should be illegal! Its in that prime age that imagination grows and teaches itself. Even though it seems that Christopher Stroll had some negative reviews about this book, I do believe that he raises questions for all us teachers and citizens. Will I read this book again? Probably not, but I will say that it was worth reading!
LoriHoskins More than 1 year ago
High Tech Heretic by Clifford Stoll is a book about how allowing computers into the classroom will not improve students learning. Even though he has been programming computers for quite some time, he argues that computers should not be used as a way for students to learn in the classroom. Stoll strongly believes that good teachers are good teachers whether or not they have technology. He also mentions that technology won’t make bad teachers, good teachers. He insists that classrooms shouldn’t depend on computers to teach their students. Computers in the classroom are more of a distraction than a learning tool. Stoll says, “That students justifiably, recognize computer assignments primarily as entertainment, rather than education.” Students are not learning anything challenging from a computer. Stoll says, “Computer literacy doesn’t demand the same level of instruction as English, American History, or physics. It doesn’t require the same amount of effort, either. Spending semesters teaching computing simply subtracts time from other subjects.” Most students learn the basics of how to use a computer quite easily, therefore there shouldn’t be much time spent on computers in the classroom. Most of the time students spend on computers in class is time wasted because they are not learning anything new. Stoll also discusses how students spend so much time on computers a day that they are missing out on learning basic things like vocabulary. Some students may appear to be highly intelligent because of their computer skills only to find out that those students are not even able to spell basic words. By spending hours a day on computers they are not socializing and engaging in important concepts they need to learn. According to Stoll, computers are actually hurting students rather than helping them. Stoll argues that computers take a big chunk of a school’s budget which could be better spent on something else. Computers themselves aren’t cheap and you also have to pay people to fix them when something goes wrong. There is so much money that is spent on technology for the classrooms that other programs are left out. These are just a few of the points Stoll discusses in his book about why computers don’t belong in the classroom. I enjoyed this book and believe he brought up some valid points that made me think about the use of computers in classrooms.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was required to read The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brain for a college class and was pleasantly surprised to have really enjoyed it. As a college student I often use the internet as a way of researching and studying, never thinking about how internet research could affect me. Like Carr says in the book I’ve also found that it’s hard for me to focus when reading books that require deep thinking recently. So seeing how he goes into depth to learn about the neuroscience behind brain plasticity, which offers clues about how the brain adapts to favor new skills over underutilized ones. Not only could I relate to Carr about struggling to read but I also realized that I struggle with deep thinking writing as well, as well as hindering social skills by longing to stay on the internet and social media! Reading The Shallows really opened me up to thoughts about the internet that I never would have considered without reading it. This book has really opened my eyes to how the internet can be harmful and not a blessing. The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brain not only opened me up to how the internet has affected me and my generation, but how it will affect the future generations of children as well! As a future teacher I think that The Shallows was a very important book for me to read, it ensured me that reading and writing on paper should be used in the classroom more often than typing or online research. This book is a must read for people who use the internet daily and we should all take note of his conclusions! The internet is changing the way we think - and we need to comprehend exactly how!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amanda Azelton EDEL 616 Book Review. Great read! High Tech Heretic brings up such important arguments AGAINST technology in the classroom. As an aspiring teacher, this book brought up some very interesting points to consider before bringing technology into the classroom.  In today’s society we are being pushed more and more to incorporate technology into the classroom, but it does not always have a positive effect on learning.  Stoll’s humor definitely is what makes this book such an enjoyable read, but the substance to what he says really stands out. For instance, Stoll claims, “A good school needs no computers”. Wow! That is completely the opposite to what I have heard in a lot of my education classes. Schools now are constantly being judged and critiqued on how many fancy gadgets and technology they have in the classroom. The focus should really be on the substance and depth the students are learning.  A good teacher doesn’t need computers to try and get their students attention. Their lessons should be captivating and intriguing on their own. Another strong point by Stoll that often is forgotten is the “isolation by internet”. There are SO MANY skills students learn in class that is outside of the curriculum. Basic life skills and socialization is learned from interactions between the other students and the teacher. Computers cannot teach that. Children are isolating themselves and it is resulting in social delays and deficiencies. I am so glad that Stoll addressed this in his book because it is a huge downside of technology that is often looked over. While I do not support the use of too much technology in the classroom, I am not completely against it. I believe if used properly, there are benefits to incorporating technology into the classroom. There are definitely times when showing a video clip or something on the Internet can enhance a lesson. Plus, I believe it is important for students to learn computer skills in a safe and monitored environment. I have just seen the misuse of technology way too often in classrooms, so I know how easy it is for students to take advantage or the situation or get off track. 
Cassie2015 More than 1 year ago
The book “High Tech Heretic” is a very opinionated piece with an obvious distaste for modern technology. The author, Mr. Clifford Stoll considers many elements of technology and why they might have negative effects on the children growing up in this technological world we live in.  He is adamant about the remove of all kinds of technology from the modern classroom Stoll feels that the classroom is an inappropriate place for technology to be used. There are so many things that teachers use today to modernize their classrooms, one huge example is the smart board. There are so many mixed emotions about the SmartBoard, on the one hand these types of technologies can really open a world of options when it comes to teaching styles and content. On the other, there are downfalls to using such technology. It could suddenly crash on you and quit cooperating or the students could become so fixated on how cool the use of the board and its markers and the clickers are instead of figuring out the importance of the lesson the teacher is presenting. A profound statement that Stoll made to this degree is that bad teachers should be replaced with good teachers, not computers. This book presents many points to consider, especially for teachers trying to choose their stance on technology and how they will end up using it in their classrooms. It could help people who whole heartedly believe in technology to understand the counterpoint for people that have a negative leaning toward technology, like Clifford Stoll. It would be my recommendation to consider other options into other opinions regarding technology before taking a stance on technology in your classroom or home. “High Tech Heretic” was not a difficult read, the average reader could realistically finish the book within a weeks’ time with correct pacing.
EmilyW2 More than 1 year ago
As I read “High Tech Heretic” by Clifford Stoll, it helped me to really open my eyes about technology in the classroom and in schools in ways that I hadn’t thought about before. This book is one that will make you question everything you once thought you knew or believed about technology being incorporated into the classroom. In this book, Clifford Stoll gives an entertaining insight on his opinions of technology in schools. He explains why he thinks that the use of technology in classrooms is exaggerated and isn’t as wonderful as many people believe it to be. Clifford Stoll is an experienced computer programmer and social critic. He loved his own computer so much that he turned it into an aquarium! An example such as this is why this book is so witty and entertaining. In my opinion, it makes the book much easier to read and understand because Stoll is able to “make fun” of computers and relate it back to everyday life. Stoll states that he particularly dislikes the, “blind faith that technology will deliver a cornucopia of futuristic goodies without extracting payment in kind”. Stoll tells his readers that he doesn’t so much hate technology, rather, he hates the idea that everyone is so dependent on it and thinks technology and computers are the best invention known to man and how it has taken over people’s everyday lives so much that books are seemed to be a thing of the past and are something that people don’t use much of anymore. After I finished reading this book, my main question was if this book was published in 1999 and Clifford Stoll had the chance to write this book again to make it “up-to-date” with more modern technology, how different would the two books be? Overall, I enjoyed reading this book and I liked that it made me question my own opinions on technology in the classrooms and in schools.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Maleesa Clark  EDEL 302 High-Tech Heretic is an excellent read. Before I began reading this book, I was expecting a long list of boring do’s and don’ts for the classroom. However to my surprise, Stoll created informative points of view, in which I found extremely thought provoking. Not only was Stoll giving his opinions on why computers should not be in the classroom, but he provided very thorough explanations. This was very helpful to follow his train of though. This book did not turn out to be boring whatsoever. In fact, Stoll added in a few phrases or comments that I came to find very humorous.  To some extent, this read delivered a change in my own thought processes. As an educator-to-be, I have taken in the message from Stoll and given it serious consideration. Stoll makes very clear opinions and well-thought reasons for the classroom being better off without the computers. Like Stoll, I am not opposed completely to computers and how they can have potential in education, but not completely overtaken.  Stoll writes a clear message in this book. Each chapter is filled with insight and explanations. The biggest point that I would agree with, is that computers in the classroom can create lazy and illiterate students, if used in the wrong way. This is especially true when discussing the internet. More so in middle and high school students, the internet trains people into wanting quick, easy, and effortless answers. Stoll talks about a balance with computers. I believe he has solid points about this issue. If a true balance could be formed, it would be ideal.  Overall, this is a book I would definitely recommend for future educators, current educators, and anyone interested in subjects relating to technology and classrooms. Stoll has delivered thought provoking subtopics and opinions. High-Tech Heretic is an informative and useful read. The text and content of this book is easy to read and understand. Again, I would absolutely recommend reading this book.