Points to Ponder

Technology in the classroom. . . Distance Learning. . . not only are these topics that set off a lot of people's "hot buttons", but they also raise issues that must be explored.

Kellogg, Karen. (1999).  Collaboration: Student Affairs and Academic Affairs Working Together to Promote Student Learning. Eric Digests.

Comprehensive research has not yet been conducted to ascertain the outcomes of the focus on student learning and the increased collaboration taking place on campuses all over the country. However, there are many desired outcomes, some of which include improved cognitive, interpersonal and organization skills; self-discipline, self-understanding, and responsibility for self and community; increased leadership and citizenship; academic success; and retention (Bloland et al, 1996).

Robbins, Jeff. (1995). Computer Based Decision-Making: Three Maxims.  ACM Crossroads, Winter, 1995.

The focus of this discussion is computer ethics. I shall first give a brief description of three ethical perspectives to be used in our discourse. Then I shall define computer ethics and demonstrate that most of the “computer ethics'' discussed are superfluous, as computers are just new tools used to accomplish old goals, and the ethical questions regarding computers are unchanged from more familiar scenarios. I will then demonstrate that the area in which computers have potential to raise new moral issues is in the field of computer decision-making. I shall point out some of the new ethical issues raised by automated reasoning and derive several moral principles regarding the use of computers as decision-makers.

Rosenberg, Matt. (1995). Copyright Law Meets the World Wide Web. ACM Crossroads, Winter, 1995

Have you ever seen a Web page with an inline image from a URL at another site? What about an inline image that you know you have seen on another page, possibly a trademark? Have you ever saved your favorite web page to disk or even printed a hard copy of it? Is that ethical? Is that legal? This article cannot begin to touch the ethical question, but even the legal question is not simple. The accessibility of information -- text and images -- on the World Wide Web has raised new issues concerning what deserves copyright protection and what constitutes infringement of those rights.

Deep Thinking and Deep Reading in an Age of Info-Glut, Info-Garbage, Info-Glitz and Info-Glimmer.  From Now On: The Educational Technology Journal.  Vol. 6, No. 6, March, 1997.

According to Birkerts (Gutenberg Elegies, 1994), the search for truth requires deep reading and deep thinking. While the arrival of new electronic information technologies threatens to overwhelm us with info-glut and info-garbage, the post-modem school will raise a generation of highly skilled "free range students" capable of simultaneously grazing the Net and reading deeply. To achieve this goal, schools must make a dramatically expanded commitment to questioning, research, information literacy and student-centered classrooms. Students will need a radically different skills array to negotiate this new information landscape.

Talbott, Stephen L.  (????). Every Tool Is an Obstacle. http://www.oreilly.com/people/staff/stevet/meditations/books.html

It inevitably happens: warn people about the risks of our growing reliance upon computers, and most of them immediately assume that you find books refreshingly risk-free and wholesome. The supposed contradiction is pointed out either directly ("So why do you read books? They're products of technology, too") or by mockingly ascribing to the critic a consistency he is assumed to lack ("You must be the kind of person who would decry hammers for alienating carpenters from their nails. `Damn it, man, in the days of higher thinking we used to pound nails in with our foreheads'").

McKenzie, Jamie. (1997). In Defense of Textbooks, Lectures and Other Aging Technologies.  From Now On: The Educational Technology Journal. Vol. 6, No. 8, May, 1997.

The old technologies still have a place in the classroom. We can ill afford to throw away the textbook or banish the lecture. They serve a purpose. They filter, they focus, they organize and they deliver complex subjects like U.S. history and biology in manageable, digestible chunks and bites.
The challenge facing schools in an Age of Information is finding the right balance between these time-honored delivery systems and the more student-centered learning styles which are made possible by the new information technologies.

__________ (1996). Info-Glut, Info-Garbage and Info-Treasure. .  From Now On: The Educational Technology Journal. Vol. 5, No. 6, May, 1996.

Here is no water but only rock
Rock and no water and the sandy road

The Wasteland, T.S. Eliot

Pfeifer, Craig. (1994). Information Superwhichway? ACM Crossroads, September, 1994.

It seems that the "Information Superhighway'' and the "National Information Infrastructure'' have been thrown around a good deal by the news media recently. America's largest on-line services, Prodigy, America On-Line and CompuServe, have suddenly offered on ramps to the information superhighway via email, FTP, and other gateways. All of a sudden, Internet access is easier than ever.

Postman, Neil. (1990). Informing Ourselves To Death. Speech given at a meeting of the German Informatics Society on October 11, 1990 in Stuttgart, Germany.

The great English playwright and social philosopher George Bernard Shaw once remarked that all professions are conspiracies against the common folk. He meant that those who belong to elite trades -- physicians, lawyers, teachers, and scientists -- protect their special status by creating vocabularies that are incomprehensible to the general public. This process prevents outsiders from understanding what the profession is doing and why -- and protects the insiders from close examination and criticism. Professions, in other words, build forbidding walls of technical gobbledegook over which the prying and alien eye cannot see.

Home | Introduction | For Adult Learners | For DL Faculty | E-Journals

back to main page