Book Review

High Tech Heretic: Why Computers Don’t Belong in the Classroom and Other Reflections by a Computer Contrarian


Reviewed by Joseph W. Rudnicki,
Superintendent, Sunnyvale School
District, Sunnyvale, Calif.

 

Clifford Stoll’s book, High Tech Heretic, presents a strongly worded diatribe on the negative side of technology. Practitioners and professors alike will find this book worth reading to gain a balance of extreme views. Yes, as the title suggests, Stoll, a self-described techie and heretic, vehemently argues against most of the uses of technology in teaching and learning that many of us take for granted.

His impassioned account is particularly valuable if you work with committee members or students who have whetted their appetites solely on the industry hype or who, for whatever reason, have a bias about the wonders of instructional technology.

Stoll is an astronomer who helped the Internet grow; yet he believes we need much more skepticism and truth inside the classroom technology package. He contends we are spending far too much capital on devices and connections whose yield in learning results is most often missing and, further, may be negatively correlated with student computer and software use. The examples, though sometimes stretched, are plentiful.

(High Tech Heretic: Why Computers Don’t Belong in the Classroom and Other Reflections by a Computer Contrarian, by Clifford Stoll, Doubleday, New York, N.Y.1999, 221 pp. with index, $24.95 hardcover)