Re: Digital Diploma Mills . . .

The Technology Source scores again with its valuable addition of the "Critical Readings" section. This timely discussion thread challenges the growing misrepresentations of technological issues in the popular press, which for self-serving ambitions uses wild exaggerations, highly selective anecdotes, and even the occasional attribution of base motives to technology proponents. Thank goodness a few scholars represented in TS and elsewhere are willing to check their usual reticence at the door and recognize the high stakes involved in this political gambit to slow down investments in technology.

Skeptics frequently voice anecdotal arguments decrying the supposed lack of utility or value of that intellectual appliance—the PC—in our learning arenas and marketplaces. Usually these anecdotes are descriptive, colorful, and thought-provoking, but they often lack authentic research and instead rely on word of mouth or simple conjecture.

Here is a recent example: In a February 24 New York Times article entitled "Report Calls for Teacher Training in Technology" (1999), journalist Pamela Mendels provides a broad view of the just-released report by the CEO Forum on Education and Technology. In order to provide balance, Mendels also cites anecdotal comments by William L. Rukeyser, coordinator of Learning in the Real World (see that site's "Further Reading"), who frequently suggests that learning technology is not effective training for life in the "real" world. Many other similar comments appearing in the press are often highly selective anecdotes and sometimes characterize opinions as "surveys" and otherwise present unsubstantiated observations.

Other recent examples that have been widely touted in the same manner include "The Computer Delusion" by Oppenheimer and "The Liberal Arts in an Age of Info-Glut" by Gitlin (see the Environmedia site). Fortunately, with the new "Critical Readings" section, The Technology Source provides an ideal forum in which scholars can air contradicting opinions about technology and, in the process, clear up misrepresentations about the value of technology in education.

Glenn Ralston