High Tech Heretic

High Tech Heretic coverHigh Tech Heretic

Submitter: We found this book in our high school library collection this week. The irony is that we have just started the year in a brand new, high tech building and with an eighth – twelth grade 1:1 laptop initiative. Loads of wonderful teaching and learning happens in our school both with and without computers. This book focuses on throwing the baby out with the bathwater. It is filled with anecdotes of horrible teaching.

“To turn learning into fun is the denigrate the two most important things we can do as humans: to teach, To learn.”

Funny that this author also wrote a book in which he predicted the failure of eCommerce.

Wrong twice.

Holly: I’d LOVE to hear this author’s take on Common Core!

subjects aren't fun

don't have time for email

libraries shift to technology



  1. “Berkeley’s library committee seeks a ‘fundamental shift in emphasis from being a warehouse to becoming a gateway for information.’ Translation: Give ’em computers and get rid of books.” Translation: Stoll didn’t actually understand what was meant by the passage he quoted.

  2. Hey, it’s Cliff Stoll! He was quite the dude back then. He really was a computer guy–read Cuckoo’s Egg–but he was cranky about them too. I think he was a pretty interesting guy though, with some good thoughts. I wouldn’t put this in a high school library–but I’d keep it for an academic collection, and I’d keep an eye out for more current books that criticize our gee-whiz attitude towards tech in schools. Can’t hurt to have some dissension in the library, right?

    1. Interesting. I have also recently noted that at the same time K12 schools have been adding or touting technology like crazy, colleges and universities around here, included ones with “tech” as part of their name, are starting to limit the technology students are allowed to use during class time.

  3. Listen, pal. If you’re worried that an item you purchase today might be obsolete within “a few decades,” you’re more or less the reason this site exists.

  4. Not only outdated, but reading this is like watching a child crouch in the corner with their hands over their ears yelling “NO!!!”

  5. While he failed in the specifics of his tech predictions, most of what he says here is still relevant and true in a larger sense.

    People undervaluing libraries and librarians, and thinking they can replace libraries with computers? Check.
    Libraries shrinking their book collections? Check.
    Administrators enamored of the latest gizmos? Check.
    Fancy new technology becoming quickly obsolete? Check. (ALB is constantly featuring real-life examples of this.)
    Children benefiting more from instruction that fits the way they learn as individuals? Check.

    1. I think it’s safe to say that a library’s previous value of being a “paper repository,” has long since passed. Certainly having a strategic collection of books and other paper-based archives is still important, but I think the modern library better serves its community by providing a place for underprivileged individuals to gain access to Internet services and entertainment materials, a quiet place to work, and a place for meetings/events/training. The modern library is a valuable community center/resource, just not in the classic way we think of the word “library.” We certainly don’t need it as a primary source to find out about or research information like we needed in the past.

  6. Also, for what it’s worth, half of the time I spend on the information desk is either a) showing someone how to sign onto the computer or b) Googling something for someone.

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