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Instructional Technology: Technophobia

Experts Speak Out Against Computers for Youngsters -- January 2004 Education Reporter

Sadly enough, educational "experts" are still needlessly promoting technophobia - and not very well at that. There must be something in it for them somewhere...

"Computers can damage the health and intellectual and social development of young children..."

I find my complete disagreement with this article ironic since I am typically quite critical about the assumptions we make about the imagined benefits of computers in education. Yet I read further nonsense like this...

"A petition calling for "an immediate moratorium on the further introduction of computers in early childhood and elementary education" until it can be determined what effect they have on young children was launched in September 2000. Its signers included Mary Pipher (author of Reviving Ophelia), Harvard psychiatry professor Alvin Poussaint, and psychiatrist Marilyn Benoit."

and this...

"Educational psychologist Jane Healy agrees. "Everything we know suggests that this technology may do more harm than good," says the author of Failure to Connect: How Computers Affect Our Children's Minds for Better and Worse."

"Everything 'we' know..." - really? Who are the "we" with respect to everything known?

These statements, and others in the article, are simply irresponsible and uninformed. "Computers" do not damage anything, what we choose to do with them may. Throw a computer at someone's head and you can really hurt them. I wonder if pencils got this kind of attention. And who really believes that a computer is a "magic bullet" to solve our educational woes as Sherri Turkle seems to indicate. Please - most educators, parents and students are a great deal more intelligent than this. If teenagers are spending too much time chatting on a computer, then is it the computer's fault or the parents' fault?

Computers can be implemented poorly and they can be implemented effectively in education. It is a wise person that stays informed about the downside - and there is one - to using computers in the classroom. There is obviously a tendency to overstate the potential of computers as we frequently see in discussions about e-Learning.

This article reveals "expertise" at its worst. Fear mongering is a means to victimize people. Victimization is a way to create a market. A market is a means to profit.

1) Authentic Victims Are Not Big Business
2) Victimization

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