More technological illiteracy

I came across yet another post singing the praises of technology.  This person says we should get rid of pens and books, and everything “old”.  I’m starting to lose patience with the technological illiteracy that pervades the “technorati”.  These people are not enlightened.  They are, unfortunately, emboldened.  I can “play nice” no more.  Here is the comment I tried to leave, but kept getting error messages (perhaps they have an anti-intelligence filter):

This is a ridiculous argument. There is nothing wrong with “holding onto” old technologies.  I still use a shovel despite being aware of a skid-loader.  I still ride my bicycle despite owning a motorcycle.  If you honestly think new technologies can do everything an old technology can in exactly the same way, you are infinitely more technologically illiterate than any of the naysayers you describe.

Here is my challenge to you:  For every benefit you identify, what is the trade off? – or what is the down side?  EVERY technological advance has a benefit AND a loss, we just have to identify them and decide whether the loss is worth the gain (in many cases it is, but ignoring the loss is dangerous).

Yes, I am being rude, but taking such a naive stance toward technology and just expecting teachers to gobble up your rhetoric is insulting.  I am merely responding in kind – if you are not insulted, perhaps you should be.



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6 Responses to More technological illiteracy

  1. Getting teachers to realize that it isn’t about the tools is just as hard as getting students to read directions….


  2. John Sowash says:

    Great post, Jerrid, I agree with wmchamberlain. It’s not about the tools…


  3. Jerrid kruse says:

    Thanks guys, just when I thought educators were starting to realize thinking is more important than technology…


  4. Paul says:

    I agree with what you say Jerrid. While I attempt to use new technology in my practice, when it is useful and can be applied, we should not just get rid of old technology.
    As you point out there are trade-offs with using new technology, however, there is still value in having students use old technology.
    Everything we bring into our practice needs to be critically assessed and we also have to consider the possibility that ‘new technology’ may not necessarily be available when we need it.


  5. Cory Roush says:

    “Get over it and join the 21st century” is just heavy-handed advice. I still know plenty of people here in southeastern Ohio who do not own a computer, don’t see the need to, and probably can’t fathom a reason to toss out their pencils, pens, and notebooks in favor of a laptop or smartphone.

    Do I think we will someday reach a point where the pen is extinct in favor of digital publishing? Sure, but that day isn’t today, and teachers who still have their students writing in composition notebooks aren’t dinosaurs out of touch with reality. They’re just cognizant of the fact that not everyone has embraced technology yet.

    There’s a difference between refusing to be technologically literate (“I don’t know how to use Google and bookmark websites!”) and declining to replace every nook and cranny of the classroom with a digital equivalent.


  6. Karim says:

    I’m with you, man. I toured the NYC DoE’s “School of One” pilot, in which students sit at computers for most of the day and teachers are relegated to the role of traffic cop, and found it entirely dystopian. (I get why people are addicted to technology. I also get why people are addicted to painkillers, and why political campaigns are 30-second soundbites). A few months ago, Houghton-Mifflin announced that it was publishing its Algebra textbook on the iPad. Big news. Press release. Gizmodo. But is that innovation? Does cmd-v represent something new, or is it by definition a whitewash: old cereal, new packaging?

    As someone who writes content, I find this mildly frustrating, especially in the wake of Waiting for Superman and the newfound national fascination with education reform (which, judging from my local NPR station, seems to have faded beneath the weight of election coverage). Slate recently did a series on the American Classroom. Is the problem the physical design of schools? Maybe it’s the desks. The desks? Maybe.

    Or maybe it’s the fact A train departs Dayton at 12:07pm traveling at 65 MPH against a 17 MPH wind with 10,000 passengers each weighing an average 148.2 pounds. When will it reach Cleveland? is unavoidable lame, and just putting it on the iPad is not what they meant by Think Different. Except thinking different requires thinking, and thinking requires thought. And that’s hard to invent.

    But if Socrates comes back with his toga and tablet––give Tim Russert a whiteboard and an Expo marker––and I’m in the front row. It’s funny, in an ironic kind of way. You’ve got some older folks, people who ostensibly grew up with those camouflage-looking notebooks, slobbering over the Livescribe as some savior of education. For someone else it’s the iPhone, or video games, or the internet. And yet here you’ve got a bunch of 20- and 30-somethings saying, Take a breather, friend. It’s a little more complicated than that.


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