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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: 1,015,801
  • 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
( 406 )
Rating Distribution

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  • 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.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • 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.

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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!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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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 December 8, 2014

    Computers in the classroom are you ready? Not yet! Brooke Sauley

    Computers in the classroom are you ready? Not yet! Brooke Sauley EDEL 302 High tech Heretic is an informational book written on computers in the classroom. Stoll has been working with computers since the sixties and the internet since the seventies. The book is separated into two parts. The first part is why computers don’t belong in the classroom and the second is the computer contrarian. The pages are extremely full of knowledge, which can really change the mind of the reader on the topic. This book hits on the issue of computers in the classroom for parents, communities and educators everywhere.  Stoll supports all of his ideas with factual evidence. Stoll is not against technology as he says in his opening, he just simply points out the downside of technology in the classroom. One of the best statements made in the book is that “A computer cannot replace a good teacher.” A device cannot replace a teacher. This really challenges the reader because he follows that up with a computer should not replace a bad teacher, a good teacher should replace a bad teacher. Stoll points out that sometimes a perfect opportunity for a child to be reinforced for their hard work the teacher may be distracted by the technology in the classroom. This creates a problem because the child is not being reinforced for their good behavior, creating bad behavior habits. Stoll also points out other views that do not go along with his opinions to show the reader other views. Which allows the reader to create his or her own opinion on the book. If you keep an open mind while reading the book it will truly give you a lot of information. The book will change your whole perspective as teacher. It will benefit the classroom you teach in as well.

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  • Posted December 8, 2014

    Katie Adkins EDEL 302 Dr. Schack I particularly enjoyed thi

    Katie Adkins
    EDEL 302
    Dr. Schack




    I particularly enjoyed this book because Stoll managed to discuss a scholarly issue in such a quirky and entertaining way.  His sarcastic yet informative style enabled me to see his view on computer literacy and technology in the classroom.  When starting this book, I had prior knowledge of Stoll being known as a technology expert.  Given this information, I expected Stoll to be for this new age of technology and supporting all of the advances technology brings to the education field; however, that was not the case.  Stoll strongly believes educators rely on technology entirely too much.  As this book was published in 1999, I can see how it was so easy for him to state that computers do not belong in the classroom.  Stoll is more focused on enhancing the learning environment rather than providing the use of computers in school, which he believes is too expensive for what they bring to the learning environment.  I’m sure Stoll was not expecting most educators in today’s society to have multiple computers and a Smart Board in their classroom.  This does not appear to be beneficial in Stoll’s eyes although my generation sees it as a completely normal enhancement to the classroom.  While this book is full of plenty opinions, I personally believe that “fun” is not exactly necessary in the classroom either as Stoll stated; I prefer the word “engaged” to be a crucial factor.  Whether students and educators become engaged through technology or textbooks, they are still being engaged and that is an important role in my philosophy of education.  It is vital that computers are not used as a substitute for learning, which is another opinion that Stoll expresses.  Computers and other technology can easily be used as a device to avoid learning.  Since we are in an age of technology, it is important that educators realize that they are responsible for making the computer a tutor or a teaching aid, not an easy way out or a shortcut to information that students should learn during instructional class time. Overall, I agree with Stoll in some ways and disagree in others. Educators need to step out from behind their computer desks and communicate with their class to give them the full learning experience.  This book is a must read for future educators and parents who want their students or children to gain a real learning experience instead of one that is delivered to them through a few clicks of a mouse. 

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  • Posted December 8, 2014

    In High Tech Heretic, by Clifford Stoll, the argument against us

    In High Tech Heretic, by Clifford Stoll, the argument against using computers and other such technology in the classroom is made. I feel that Stoll has reasonable experience in this field, because he has been involved in computer programming for the last couple of decades or so. He makes the motion that computers and other advanced technologies are not helpful tools that will further knowledge and the success of man kind, but instead it hinders our lives as a whole. He makes the argument that computers and the internet will harm our interactions with other human beings, and will make any social interactions digitalized. 
    For some parts I do agree with him. He makes the point that a computer will never be able to replace the benefits of having a living, connectable teacher, and I completely agree. Sure, a computer can give you any answer to any question you have, but that is all it can do: give information. Teachers, on the other hand and through all stages of education, give so much more to their students other than information. They give experience and thoughtfulness to their students, and can form personal, emotional bonds. That is something a computer will never be able to do. 
    Something that I do not agree with, however, is his opinion that technology and computers should not be involved in the classroom. From personal experience, as a future educator and a student, I have always found technology to be so helpful. It has many uses when it comes to daily instruction, and gives students an infinite amount of resources and information to further their education. I believe that it is also important to be sure that students are exposed to and understand how to operate these technologies. We are indeed being brought up in the cyber world; computers are everywhere, and they are not going away any time soon. Though it was not the original method of teaching, using technology in the classroom is just preparing students for what they will experience in the real world. 
    One thing that must be kept in mind, though, when incorporating technology into the regular classroom routine, is that it must be used only as an assisting tool, and not the backbone of the lesson. Technology should be used only to enhance the learning of students, not to deliver it. The teaching aspect should reside where it’s namesake is given: with the teachers. Technology will never replace a good teacher, and a good teacher will never replace technology with teaching. I believe that there are pros and cons to using technology is education, but it can be handled correctly if incorporated by a responsible educator. 

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  • Posted December 8, 2014

    EDEL 302 Book Review I really enjoyed reading the book High-Tech

    EDEL 302 Book Review
    I really enjoyed reading the book High-Tech Heretic by Clifford Stoll. This is a very interesting and informative book about technology and
    computer literacy. I agree that educators, parents and others are relying on technology too much in today’s world. In fact, almost every
    teacher has a computer in their classroom. Stoll believes teachers rely on computers too much. It states that technology promises
    shortcuts to higher grades and painless learning. As a student I thought technology was a fun way to learn in school but, as a future
    educator I can see the problems that Stoll states in the book. He states that learning isn’t fun; it takes work, discipline, and commitment.
    Students are getting away from reading textbooks, writing for fun, and doing math problems on their own. Computers dull questioning
    minds because they provide quick answers. When the student doesn’t know an answer, the teacher will direct them to search the answer
     online. But is everything the student reads online the truth? There are so many websites that claim they know the answer but they are
    fooling students that want a quick answer and will believe everything they read online. As a future educator, I want to have positive
     interaction with my students. If computers are overpowering in the classroom then students don’t receive the interaction that they need to
     improve and develop in and out of school. I agree with Stoll that, “learning isn’t about acquiring information, maximizing efficiency or
    enjoyment. Learning isn’t about developing human capacity.” Technology is good when it is used appropriately in the classroom.
    Stoll expresses the message that hands on learning is more valuable in teaching children than anything they will do on a computer.
    Stoll has definitely opened my eyes about technology and its impact it has on everyone. This is a great book for anyone to read, it will
     definitely change your opinion about technology.  

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  • Posted December 8, 2014

    This book may be too smart for me. Saying so may actually just s

    This book may be too smart for me. Saying so may actually just show my ignorance but my first impression of the book was that it was written in such a brainy language that I wasn’t even going to know what many of the words meant. Luckily, as I read I found that that was not the case although it was still brainy in both style and words. So this book may not even be a something an average Joe, like myself, would even want pick up anyway or if they did they may skim the first chapter and regret picking it up to begin with.
    As for my opinion on the book’s topic, I find the writer’s opinion to be, at the very least, either outdated or simply at fault. Speaking towards the former, the book was written in 2000 so it was still after computers started their rise to popularity. But a lot has changed since then, he mentions that a student doesn’t need many computer skills to get through college but these days it is quite necessary. He mentioned several of the main points such as web-using and word-processor but today students also need PowerPoint, skills to use web-based programs such as Blackboard (a school program), and I’m actually writing this review because it is an assignment for an entire class about technology that only know w few things about computers would not have prepared me for.
    Now speaking toward the fault in his opinions, he feels that teaching technology in the classroom is unnecessary. I ask, is it more necessary than the anatomy class I took in high school, the calculus class, or the chemistry class? I had to take these other classes over topics I may not use again, especially if I continue my college major of being an elementary teacher. But I had to take them anyway. Maybe it was required for me to take them because they would help me later if I took a respective field like doctor, mathematician, or chemist, but couldn’t I also aspire to being a computer programmer? Or maybe I was simply required to take them so that I am just generally better educated and more useful than someone who hasn’t taken them, which still would seem to hold true for technology. At least technology really is something people will probably see every day regardless of what field they enter.
    Technology reminds me of something called the Tinker Bell effect. The more we believe technology is important, the more it actually is. Apparently some people believed it was important because even just becoming an elementary teacher I need to learn to use computer based grade books and other databases, as well as things like smart boards and projectors. All made and installed by people who obviously feel technology is important. And honestly, once you learn to use them, they may make your life all the easier for it.
    So how do I feel about this book? Sorry Mr. Stoll, your book seems really intelligently written but maybe too much for some people. And I feel you opinion is wrong.

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  • Posted December 8, 2014

    When reading High-Tech Heretic you will be quick to establish th

    When reading High-Tech Heretic you will be quick to establish the understanding of Clifford Stoll’s opinion when it comes to technology in the classroom. I would highly recommend this book for people who are teaching or considering teaching because it offers an entertaining and refreshing view of technology in the classroom. How much should students use the computer, what should they use it for, and how long students should use technology are all simple questions that Clifford Stoll addresses in his book? Clifford Stoll makes a point in this book that students should learn to use computers for word processing and games, but states that many adults learned that word processing system later in their life. This then brings attention to the question what is the point of exposing our students to technology then? If you’re reading High-Tech Heretic the answer will be that there isn’t a good reason. I enjoyed this book because Clifford Stoll is making an educated opinion about technology in the classroom; he isn’t making an opinion solely based off his own beliefs. Stoll states in the book that he loves computers and that people should be better suited for the technology world rather than the machines. Besides the fact that Stoll believes technology in the classroom shouldn’t exist, he gives statistics and proof of how much money technology and software programs would cost for a school to have. High-Tech Heretic allows you to see different viewpoints of technology. A viewpoint from the teacher aspect, a viewpoint from the student aspect, and a viewpoint from the schools aspect. Stoll allows for you to be in the mind of a teacher and shows you different examples of using technology and how the simple use of learning or asking questions turns into asking questions and learning about the technology itself instead of the material needed for learning. In the world we live in today you would think as a teacher or school staff that technology would be essential for the classroom, High-Tech Heretic could allow for you to change that opinion and possibly formulate a new one that is against technology in the classroom.

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  • Posted December 7, 2014

    In my EDEL 302 class, my professor asked the class to read Cliff

    In my EDEL 302 class, my professor asked the class to read Clifford Stoll's book, "High-Tech Heretic". I found Stoll's book to be quite the page turner. It was both fun, as well as interesting to read. In his book, Stoll relayed many valid arguments against the use of technology in the classrooms, as well as the risks of computer use in the classroom. I agree 110% with Stoll's arguments...it's not that computers in themselves are inherently evil, as Stoll states frequently throughout the text, it is simply a matter of how they are used, and by whom they are being used. A computer is an extremely powerful and informative tool, when used properly, but they are in no way intended to, or should ever replace simple human interaction, especially in the classroom. As teachers, it is our job not only to teach our curriculum, and to make sure that the students have a clear understanding of content, but also to make it fun, and to nurture our students, giving them feedback, whether it be positive or negative. Can a computer do that? Can a computer actually give feedback and reinforcement? Can a computer give hugs or comfort when a child is being bullied, dealing with loss, or is hurt? Can a computer REALLY teach a child the basics of mathematics, science, or language skills? The answer, is no. Can a computer make learning fun? Well. computers are definitely fun...with all the colorful graphics and fonts, but is all that really teaching you? Again, the answer is no. Learning is not intended to be fun...life isn't fun period. However, learning is a highly rewarding process, even though it is hard work to reach the desired goal. One of my favorite quotes from the book is, "Most learning isn't fun. Learning takes work. Discipline, commitment, from both teacher and student. Responsibility-you have to do your homework. There's no shortcut to a quality education." (Stoll, page 12) Stoll continues, stating that equating learning to fun encourages the idea that if you are not having fun ,then you are not learning. How foolish is that idea? The section I enjoyed the most (and struck fear into heart), was the section titled, "Cyberschool". This section of the book sounded like a good plot for a horror movie, a "computers gone bad" type of scenario. But seriously, I do believe that we are looking toward a day where this type of classroom is very likely to exist, and as a future teacher, and a concerned citizen, this scares me. How much can a child really learned from a computer? Can they learn multiplication facts? Can they learn to tie their shoes? Can they learn how to talk to people? Can they learn how to read? To me, the answer is a big fat NO! Yes, the child will have fun looking and the pretty, and bright computer graphics, but they certainly will not be learning. I'm no where near banning computers completely. I love computers. I believe that computers can be used in the classroom...they can be great tools for enrichment...but let's not allow the computers, the IPad, or the cell phones replace the teacher. Let's leave the teaching, to the teacher, and the learning, to the student (not to imply that the teachers aren't learning from the students as well). Allowing our computers to be the main focus in the classroom will only result in one thing...a generation of people who do not know how to function in society...a generation who does not know how to interact with the people around them...a generation, essentially, of dolts.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2014

    In EDEL 302, we were asked to write a book review over High-Tech

    In EDEL 302, we were asked to write a book review over High-Tech Heretic by Clifford Stoll.
    Clifford Stoll has great points on technology in our world today. We should be concerned with our children using too much technology and not enough, “muscular activity” or play. He says, “Somehow computers are supposed to be “good” because they’re interactive and non-commercial. Television is “bad” because it’s passive and commercial. Videotapes on the whole is “good” because it don’t have commercials. Bet that to a child, there’s not much a difference. All show their favorite characters in face paced animated clips. All deliver long stretches of mental excitement with minimal muscular activity.” He believes that computers can be very dangerous for our students. Stoll has very good points about technology in classrooms today. He gave me a different point of view about technology. I mean he’s right “which is more important: Internet or books? Computers or teachers?” no doubt technology can be helpful in learning but what really does students do while the teacher is not looking. They play games! Teachers have to monitor them non-stop making sure they are doing what they are supposed to. Don’t get me wrong of course I use the internet daily, but it can be so addicting that you will never catch me off Facebook hardly. What am I learning from that? Students have ways to pass through blocking systems that block you from sites on the internet so why try to make it any more difficult than it already is. Why not use paper and pencil than computers. They need to learn how to write and practice. Computers make it easier for teachers to read students handwriting but shouldn’t teachers help students become better writers that’s what they are there for. I know technology is easier for students but in a world full of games and social media. What would students rather be doing if they aren’t already, Facebook or math practice? Stoll also makes a point “Faced with pressing educational and social problems, technology promoters first turn to the internet. They’re blind to other possible solutions, such as more teacher support, tighter discipline, more appropriate curricula, or recasting school goals. This obsession with computing tilts community activity as well. There’s no reason to improve the library, start a health clinic, or open a community college. Just bring the internet.” The computer can easily do everything for you. What are you learning though if a computer does it for you? Of course you get all kinds of information about some subject but how will that help you in the long run. It’s an easy access that can just get you addicted to nothing but games and social media. To me I want to make sure my students hear me loud and clear when I am teaching instead of their heads being glued to a computer screen all day. It’s best to have them in a classroom with desks facing the board so you can make sure they are keeping an eye what you are teaching instead of glancing over to a game they were almost finished with. Teachers will have a much easier life for them if students have their documents saved on a computer but what if the computer rebooted and all the students’ research papers and everything was gone? Teachers could keep up with the student’s belongings better in a folder. Technology isn’t a bad thing but when you are student who loves lots of graphics, sounds and other things just like a television or DVD has. It can become very addicting. It’s best for students to stay away from computers and let the teacher actually teach the students in front of the class. Learning should be taken seriously, children deserve the very best when it comes to education. The best way children can learn is from their teachers. The computer couldn’t teach you how to read and write correctly; if the computer did the children would sound like robots!


    RACHEL CALDWELL

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2014

    Does Technology Influence Education? It is evident that technol

    Does Technology Influence Education?

    It is evident that technology plays a huge role in the lives of our youth today. Clifford Stoll's book High-Tech Heretic encourages readers to take a further look into the impact that technology has on students, schools, and educators. He believes that technology in the classroom is harmful to students, and extremely costly to schools. Stoll insists that the money used to buy computers, smart boards, etc. could be spent on books and other materials that are much more beneficial to the students learning process.

    He believes that technology takes away from students creativity and critical thinking. Unfortunately, I find this to be very true. Technology can be over assisting and make students somewhat lazy at times. He also notes "Classroom software has a surprisingly short life". Technology grows so rapidly that the skills students learn today will eventually become out dated. While I believe that this statement along with some of his beliefs are true, it is nearly impossible to operate a classroom without the use of some technology today. I agree that it does take a teacher to teach students, but with that being said technology is our future. Yes, it changes rapidly with new inventions, but so does science. Students should be exposed to technology, but in moderation. They should use technology during school hours when deemed necessary and helpful, but limit themselves to the use of technology for entertainment purposes.

    Overall I believe that Stoll's book was very eye opening, but also very one sided. I usually don't read material like High-Tech Heretic, but Stoll makes very valid points and I would recommend his book to anyone pursuing a career in education. Reading his opinion has challenged my views, and made me take a closer look at the influence that technology can have on education.

    Andrea Hollin
    EDEL 302

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  • Posted December 7, 2014

    High Tech Heretic Review EDEL 302  Many individuals, in some sor

    High Tech Heretic Review EDEL 302 
    Many individuals, in some sort of agreement, would state that the technologically advanced and evolving society we are surrounded by is wonderful.  In the medical profession, advanced tools and technology can assist in providing unbelievable healthcare, and the coming of flashy automobile advancements provide additional safety for consumers and profits for the industry; however, there must always be a downfall.  In Clifford Stoll’s High Tech Heretic, we get a dose of reality regarding what technology, especially the computer, has done to our nation’s classrooms and the children learning amongst them. Stoll does an excellent job of bringing issues to the surface that I, along with other readers, have seemed to neglect the thought of.   One example that particularly grabbed my attention was society has a vision that technology can be a tool to mend barriers between distance and cultures. Stoll used an example of a high school teacher in Des Moines using a distance learning class to connect students at home to students with access all across the globe. The students participated in the online class with all of these students from different cultures and backgrounds, but when in the hallways of the school, showed complete ignorance of the visiting foreign students. Technology served as an attempt to embrace other cultures, but based on the situation, didn’t the class just serve these students as a way to gather information and get a simple grade? Clifford Stoll gives a great deal of insight regarding different components of technology that most young adults have used while in the classroom—for example, Microsoft Power Point. Many of us can recall using PowerPoint, but did we really consider the true purpose of a PowerPoint? Stoll reminds us that the original purpose is to use as an aid when delivering a presentation—an AID. Now days, all the “glitzy fonts” and overwhelming graphics serve as a complete distraction to the information and emotion you are attempting to deliver to your audience. High Tech Heretic organizes the intended use of “ugly computers” in our schools, and the unfortunate adverse intentional effect that corresponds with each. Overall, this is an absolute necessary read for everyone, especially those pursuing careers in education. It will leave you wondering the amount of access you want your students to have to computers and different technologies in the classroom assuming that usage was an activity that you could control. As the reader, my eyes are now opened to a side of the computer I never considered. For a final thought, Stoll encouraged me to inform my students how to use technology in an appropriate manner. This is definitely a recommended read! 

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  • Posted December 6, 2014

    This book is ideal for new or soon-to-be teachers. It is also a

    This book is ideal for new or soon-to-be teachers. It is also a good read if you want to see what this whole “technology age” is about and how it is affecting younger generations. As educators, this book reminds us that our job is to teach, and although computers and technology can help in the classroom, we should not be relying on it as much as we do. Stoll talks about the importance of hitting each student’s learning style, and by using technology for such a large percentage of our lessons we are limiting the ways students are learning, and in turn can be limiting how well they learn. Stoll also discusses the importance of hands-on-learning in certain situations, and how the computer cannot give the student the same experience. A lot of what Stoll talks about is common sense if you take some time to think about it, but he points out that we get so caught up in thinking that technology is crucial when it comes to education that we end up using it as a crutch rather than just an added tool. Stoll also discusses the issue of funding, and how computers and technology take away such a large amount of funding from other educational areas. Stoll’s main point is that technology has its place, and in moderation can be a good thing. However, the way he sees it (and I personally agree) is that technology is not used in moderation in the school system, and that it is having a negative impact on our students. I believe that everyone in the education field should read High-Tech Heretic, if for no other reason than to get the facts behind what technology is doing to our students. Also, I think this would be a good read for parents, as they can see the effect technology has on kids outside the home, and realize that they get just as much if not more exposure in school. Over all, I would say that anyone who has an interest in the effects of technology should read this book. It was interesting, real, and had solid facts to back up the opinions.

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