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High -Tech Heretic: Reflections of a Computer Contrarian

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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...
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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.

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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.
From The Critics
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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385489768
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/28/2000
  • Edition description: First Anchor Books Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 221
  • Sales rank: 991,862
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.53 (d)

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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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.

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Table of Contents

Introduction
1 Why Computers Don't Belong in the Classroom 1
A Literate Luddite? 3
Makes Learning Fun 11
The Hidden Price of Computers 23
Loony for Laptops 35
Multimedia Comics 53
CRTs for Tots 61
A Question of Balance 69
Calculating Against Calculators 75
Education by E-Mail 91
Cyberschool 103
2 The Computer Contrarian 109
Arrogance of the Techies 111
Software Guinea Pigs 127
The Tyranny of the Ugly Computer 135
"Information Is Power" 141
Help! I'm Stuck at a Help Desk! 149
The Connected Library 155
Planned Obsolescence 165
New Uses for Your Old Computer 171
The Plague of PowerPoint 179
Junk Food and the Internet: The Economics of Information 185
Rule Number Two 195
Isolated by the Internet 197
All Truth 211
Index with an Attitude 215
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 388 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 388 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2013

    The School System is Racing Down the Information Super Highway,

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 9, 2012

    Computers in the Classroom? Ready, Set, No! Tony Dillow EDEL 302

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2012

    After reading High-Tech Heretic: Reflections of a Computer Contr

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 4, 2012

    If you compare the methods of educating students today, to the m

    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!

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  • Posted May 9, 2011

    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 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.

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  • Posted May 2, 2011

    A true "thinker". Makes you mad at times and empowered at others.

    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?

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  • Posted April 28, 2011

    Wow!!!!!!!!This Book Is a Must READ!!!

    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.

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  • Posted April 26, 2011

    HIGH-TECH HERETIC IS A WINNER!

    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.

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  • Posted May 3, 2010

    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 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.

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  • Posted November 21, 2014

    Is Having So Much Technology Really A good Thing? While reading

    Is Having So Much Technology
    Really A good Thing?
    While reading High-Tech Heretic there were a lot of moments where I had to just sit and think about where technology in our world is heading. Sure, people all over the world are using technology and at this point they wouldn’t want to give that up. As a future teacher the use of technology is something that, while meaning well, could turn into something harmful for students.
    Clifford Stoll addresses teachers and schools who have implemented computers for all their students. While some is all for it he states the impact that it not only affects the students learning capabilities but the expenses put on the school. Is it really a wise choice to let a fourth grader have their own computer, which is paid for by the school, when they are lucky enough to not lose their homework that they had just received hours ago?
    In this book, Stoll also makes a good claim that when going into the profession of teaching the teacher is not going into it for the benefits for themselves. I can relate to this tremendously. When I go in my classroom and teach my students I don’t want them glued to a screen. I want full eye contact to ensure they understand what I am presenting to them. I want the satisfaction on my students’ faces when they learn something new.
    All in all, this book is a good read not only for educators, but for anyone wanting to understand the effects that are coming out of this technology age. While it is good in moderation technology has its place and shouldn’t be forced on all aspects of daily life. Learning is not an easy thing and it should not be taken lightly, especially when it comes to teaching our future leaders of the world. Children do not deserve a cheap shot of education, they deserve the very best we have to offer and this doesn’t always mean the most up-to-date technology should be used.

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  • Posted June 27, 2014

    High Tech Heretic by Clifford Stoll is an entertaining yet autho

    High Tech Heretic by Clifford Stoll is an entertaining yet authoritative look at why computer literacy is pushed so heavily in our current system of education. Stoll makes it clear that he has no disdain for computers themselves—he is only skeptical of their current overinflated sense of worth in the classroom and in life in current society as a whole. Throughout the first half of the book, Stoll describes the current education system and the incessant need for “learning to be fun.” Learning doesn’t need to be fun, in Stoll’s estimation. He says on page 22, “To turn leaning into fun is to denigrate the two most important things we can do as humans. To teach. To learn.” He goes on to explain that teaching through computers teaches students how to use computer—skills that shouldn’t (and doesn’t) take long to master—rather than teaching the content of the lesson. Students should be receiving real experiences rather than the multimedia simulation of experience. Professor David Gelernter in the book is quoted as saying, “Professional educators are leading us full-speed toward a world of smart machines and stupid people.” Stoll asks some very common sense questions about the current state of education. Why are more computers being added to the classroom at the expense of hiring good teachers? Why is the interactivity of a computer screen seen as preferable to the interaction of student and teacher? Why use computers when paper and pencil are more efficient?  
    I appreciate Stoll’s point in view. He is heavy on skepticism but understands and readily admits that the love of computers (and other gadgets) is very real. But he doesn’t offer any support of them in this book other than as a tool for entertainment. His arguments often make us wonder why watch television or be on the Internet at all. The language is the book is conversational (he often writes “ ‘em” as opposed to “them” just to keep things from reading like an academic manual) and is a quick and easy read. For anyone who spends too much time browsing the web, who is taking or teaching online classes, or for anyone who loves their computer but feels that something just isn’t quite right about the direction the use of computers is going, read this book. It’s written for you.   

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  • Posted June 27, 2014

    The book titled High-Tech Heretic could be a very controversial

    The book titled High-Tech Heretic could be a very controversial book in today's technologically focused society. Dr. Clifford Stoll addresses the major misconceptions associated with the integration of technology in today's classrooms. Many people will argue that it is essential to introduce content with differing types of technology because that is what today's students spend the majority of their free time focused on. However, Dr. Stoll made a great argument in that many technology savvy kids are missing out on the necessary vocabulary, interactions, and ancillary knowledge necessary to be a well-rounded, educated person.
    One of the quotes that stood out to me from the book was when Stoll stated that "computer literate certainly does not equal smart." I found this quote to be very interesting in the sense that everyone always associates individuals that are good with technology as being highly intelligent people. I believe that the reality is that people who are well-rounded are those that are highly intelligent. As a teacher in the classroom the scary part of what's happening to today's youth is that more and more of them are not well-rounded and fear failure. According to the book a lot of this can be contributed to the lack of interactions that occur in the daily lives of today's youth.
    Overall, I would recommend this book for anyone to read. When I first started reading the book I was very hesitant about it. I had always been one that felt like it was important to incorporate technology into the classroom in order to allow my students to understand the content. I realize now however, it's not about the technology it is all in the way the content is presented. This is a definite must read!

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  • Posted June 27, 2014

    Computers In the Classroom High-Tech Heretic by Clifford Stoll

    Computers In the Classroom
    High-Tech Heretic by Clifford Stoll is a book about whether or not the use of technology (computers, software, ect.) is what our society really needs.  In the book, Stoll talks about how everyone tries to sell the technology with the premise that it will make learning fun and interactive. He argues that in the real world everything isn’t a “game” that we all do and that working with your teacher should be interactive.  He takes about a student who was learning, from the computer, about magnets, but because she had never had any hands on experience with a magnet she truly didn’t understand how a magnet really even worked.   He goes on to talk how students are not only losing out on the hands on experience, but supplies to, because of the cost involved with being “high tech”.  He argues that the cost of supplies and books would be cheaper, in the long run, because no one would have to be hired to keep them updated, buying new software, and replacing damaged and outdated machines, while also having to make sure that all software being compatible with whichever platform is being used (PC vs. Apple).  He also talks about how it takes less time for students to get out their book than it would to get out their computer and get it ready to get started.  
    One of the biggest problems, according to Stoll, is with “technology” taking over the libraries instead of books.  Students are losing out on learning how to use a dictionary or even knowing what it is like to hold a book in your hands and turn the pages. 
    In this book, Stoll, gives facts from both sides of the fence.  In this book he really makes you think about the way you should teach and what is best for student learning.  This book is a must read for any parent, teacher or up in coming teacher to read.  

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  • Posted June 26, 2014

    Are we creating generations of ¿dolts?¿ Stoll believes that with

    Are we creating generations of ‘dolts?’ Stoll believes that with the increasing push of computers and gadgets in the classroom that we definitely are! This book truly was a punch in the gut for me! Here I am a teacher that is constantly encouraged to incorporate as much technology as possible in my classroom (it is one of the ‘Teacher Standards’) in addition to working on a ‘Educational Technology’ degree and this man just totally changed my perspective on technology in the classroom!

    We are constantly hearing about how great technology is in the classroom and what it can do for our students, but Stoll pulls the veil off of ‘New Math,’ ‘discovery learning,’ ‘collaborative learning,’ and ‘techno-rich education’ (and other big trending names for new learning methods) that we find in our classrooms today in this energizing read. Technology is often seen as the answer to all of our educational problems. But it is one big quick fix for problems that are incapable of being fixed quickly. Stoll has revealed to his readers that this push towards ‘techucation’ is actually creating more problems rather than fixing them. Stoll states that with computers, “problem solving becomes button pressing” and that “appearance and fonts (of assignments) mean more than content (learned).” We know in our little teacher hearts that this is not we want or intend, but it is happening and fast!

    Stoll discusses that learning isn’t going to be fun all of the time and through teaching students that it is in fact fun all of the time, they begin to think that if they are not enjoying themselves that they are not learning which results in a “distaste for persistence, trial, and error.”

    Again, this book really makes you rethink your position on technology in the classroom and how it is used. As Stoll states in his introduction, computers are not the answer for bad teachers, good teachers are the answer. And this statement sets the tone for the rest of the book, technology can and is useful in the classroom, but it can not replace a good teacher.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2014

    The book High-Tech Heretic by Clifford Stoll has a basic overall

    The book High-Tech Heretic by Clifford Stoll has a basic overall idea about the excessive usage of technology in the classroom. I have always thought that technology in the classroom was a good thing but Stoll gives an intense insight at the negative aspects. In this book Stoll discusses how computers can’t replace good or bad teachers. A good teacher should be able to teach and encourage the love of learning within their students without the help of any technological devices. As technology cannot make a bad teacher teach any better or their students learn more. Stoll stated that “There’s no shortcut to a quality education.” If a student is only taught through computer programs then they will miss out on necessary skills. Stoll discusses how a student must be able to mix colors on their own to see how the new colors are made, how a chemistry student needs to be able to mix chemicals, and how a student needs to be able to play with magnets to understand how they work. These things can not truly be expressed by watching it on a computer.
    Instead of buying computers that will be obsolete after about 5 years, it would be more logical to buy hands on materials for students that can be used for a longer period of time. For example: buying a textbook compared to a computer, the textbook would be much more durable then a computer. If a student drops a textbook they will still be able to use it, but a computer might not be able to survive the fall. In addition an old computer will be useless but an old book will still have useful content. Schools cut programs that are necessary in a student’s education due to lack of funding but they often find money that can be used to buy new technology. I believe it would be much more beneficial for students to have programs such as music and art, as well as being able go on field trips to have real life experiences. A computer just cannot replace such memorial experiences.
    Overall, this book has given me a new view on technology in the classroom. Technology does given students additional ways to learn particular skills but it can’t replace teacher instruction as well as hands-on experiences. Stoll himself said that he uses computers and technology but the point of this book was to help the reader understand that technology shouldn’t be so highly relied on because of its negative effects.
    Review Written By: Amy Maggard EDEL 616

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2014

    High Tech Heretic Speaks the Truth      In Clifford Stoll¿s High

    High Tech Heretic Speaks the Truth
         In Clifford Stoll’s High Tech Heretic, Dr. Stoll takes on the common
    misconceptions about computers, the internet, and productivity in schools,
    the workplace, and home.  Dr. Stoll writes that “I’m not afraid of computers.
      And I don’t think our society suffers from the fear of technology. If anything,
    our problems are rooted in a love affair of gizmos.”   As he takes the reader
     through the book, he outlines how as a society we have lost much of our
    “personal space,” “home,” and an invasion of privacy. 
          This book is a must-read for anyone who relies on technology and
    especially educators.  Stoll discusses how even though students are
    constantly online, they are not using the computer as a tool and losing
    basic communication skills.  The underlying message of Dr. Stoll’s book is
    that society should drive technology, but technology should not drive society.
    He discusses the gardener that comes home from work to do her website
    but not work in her garden, and the family that eats together, but does not
    communicate because everyone comes to dinner with a cell phone.
     Later in the book, he quotes “our kids are increasingly programmed as
     academic automatons.”  Dr.  Stoll cites studies from psychologists’
     focus groups, his own experience with college students, and information
     gleaned from his own life.  Dr. Stoll is a physicist, computer programmer,
    and a well-respected member of technological and science circles.  
    One of the most convincing arguments in his books is that “There is a
    difference between having access to information and having the savvy it
    takes to interpret it.”  Students know how to play with a computer but not
     necessarily how to use it.    
         Dr. Stoll discusses the difference in libraries now that have more
     computers than books; schools purchasing computers over classroom
     teachers, and how with the coming of technology and gizmos, families
    are more isolated in their own homes from each other. 
         This book is a great read and presents the pros and cons of technology
     within our society and the placement of said technology in our education
     system.  The book presents the arguments with humor and anyone who
     uses technology on a daily basis can relate to Dr. Stoll’s own experiences
     with technology.  The book is an eye-opener and a page turner.
     Even though it was written 15 years ago, don’t be surprised if you have a
     paradigm shift about the usage of technology in our societal and educational
     systems. 

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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 May 6, 2014

    Clifford Stoll¿s book ¿High Tech Heretic¿ definitely opens the r

    Clifford Stoll’s book “High Tech Heretic” definitely opens the reader’s eye to a fascinating perspective on technology in both a reader’s light as well as a future educators light. Stoll brings the uses of technology in today’s classroom straight to the table by advocating that technology is very important, but it shouldn’t be replacing other core content areas or tactile creative content within a learning environment. Stoll believes strongly that there is a stopping point to the usage of technology, it can’t replace the fashion of teaching to it’s entirety and Stoll points this out throughout the book by believing that human and paper resources have been replaced by technology, and kids aren’t wired to learn through a computer screen. Grace Hopper stated in the book while speaking of computing pioneers that the revolutionary goal for technology is to replace, as far or as much as possible within the human brain by an electronic digital computer. Stoll’s chapter of “Information is Power” informs society that in order to sharpen our skills it’s important to know where you stand in the world of technology, you must stand before it, otherwise you’ll allow much of your time and energy to invest in a place that has no meaning when it could be directed to communal activities that benefit the world around you.  Throughout the book Stoll gives the impression that “yes” it’s fine and dandy to promote technology in the classroom but if it takes away the students idea to use their own brain, or to know that technology isn’t going to be able to provide communication skills, and or literacy skills then it’s being used entirely too often, the Internet today is making the world a lazy place, where kids waste their time thinking their gaining information but are really losing interest in the actual world around them, where parents would rather face emails with teacher rather than go to a Parent Teacher Conference this is otherwise known as a nation of isolates. I really enjoyed this book because Stoll really allowed me to see how computers have changed the world around us, and most aren’t aware of these changes even when they are happening right in front of them. We are really naïve idiots when it comes to the Internet. Stoll believes that teachers have allowed themselves to believe that if they can’t teach then the computer can be the substitute teacher, which his hoax. This is definitely a good read for those original thinkers out there who have the desire to see a world of individuality and creativity rather than a world full of robots with the same idea

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2014

    Clifford Stoll is a man that is all about computers being a prog

    Clifford Stoll is a man that is all about computers being a programmer, however he doesn’t think that having computers in the schools.  He thinks that Good teachers should teach and that even bad teachers shouldn’t replace bad teachers, he thinks that bad teachers should be replaced by good teachers.  He divided his book into two sections the first selection is why he thinks computers shouldn’t belong in the classroom.  In this section he talks about this craze of people that think the computers will fix the education system, by having computers in the classroom will help a teacher and student more than harm a teacher and student.  He is very passionate about this book, although it is hard to tell what he is talking about because the book does move at a rate of speed.  He puts in some really out there but hit you in the face conversation and stats that he has found and show that computers are doing more harm in the school than helping it.  He shows that ugly side that no one wants to see because they paid so much for these computers to be in the school so in their minds the computer better do something.  In the second half of the book he talks about how people are struggling to understand computers the young, and old.  He does mention in the start of the book that the younger you are the easier it is to pick up.  Learning a computer is just like learning other things it takes time to master its skills and ways, but a computer is only as good as the user that uses it.  One of the chapters that made me do the most thinking was the planned obsolescence chapter in this chapter the more you read the more you think that this man maybe the smartest man alive, how he can see through the corporation crap and is trying to help you see the light at the end of the tunnel.  This book is a thinking book that more people need to read, so that they can see that a computer is not everything especially when it comes to the education field.  

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  • Posted May 6, 2014

    Recommended to read

    High-Tech Heretic Theresa Bennett EDEL 302

    Stroll has written many good points in his book titled High-Tech Heretic. The fact that computers are taking over is true. It seems that everywhere you look there are some kind of technology in front of some one. Now don’t get me wrong, I like technology; computers, phones, ipod, etc… I think that it is important to have them when you need them, but it does seem that they are taking over our schools and homes. The computers seem to be everywhere in classrooms also, I believe that you should have at least a couple of computers but not a lot. If a classroom has computers then they should be used wisely and for instructional use.
    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.
    So, in using technology is not bad but Stoll is saying that we should not just rely on computers for everything. We should be able to get out and research using every day things and events. People learn in many different ways and Stoll believes that computers in classrooms are stifling the learning creativity of the different ways of learning.
    When reading this book you should keep an open mind and listen to what Stoll is saying and think about what it is that he is trying to get across to you.

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