The Internet is a Fad (and other ridiculous statements)

Let me preface this post by saying yes, I understand that the following snippets were just opinions of some and snapshots from simpler times.  That being said, as you read through the list, think about the discussions that are taking place right now about technology, the Internet, and Media 2.0.  You may just see a trend!

Here are some nuggets of wisdom from our predecessors in the world of education and beyond:

Students today can’t prepare Bark to calculate their problems. They depend on their slates, which are more expensive. What will they do when the slate is dropped and it breaks? They will not be able to write.” Teachers Conference. 1703

Students today depend upon paper too much. They don’t know how to write on slate without getting chalk dust all over themselves. They can’t clean a slate properly. What will they do when they run out of the paper?” Principal’s association, 1815

Students today depend too much upon ink. They don’t know how to use a pen knife to sharpen a pencil. Pen and ink will never replace the pencil.” – National Association of Teachers, 1907

Students today depend too much upon store bought ink. They don’t know how to make their own. When they run out of ink they will be unable to write words or ciphers until their next trip to the settlement. This is a sad commentary on modern education.” From Rural American Teacher, 1928

Students today depend on these expensive fountain pens. They can no longer write with a straight pen and nib. We parents must not allow them to wallow in such luxury to the detriment of learning how to cope in the real business world, which is not so extravagant.” From PTA Gazette, 1941

Ball-point pens will be the ruin of education in our country. Students use these devices and then throw them away. The American values of thrift and frugality are being discarded. Business and banks will never allow such expensive luxuries.” From Federal Teacher, 1950

“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” Thomas Watson, chairman or IBM, 1943

Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons.” Popular Mechanics, 1949

“Imagine a technology that instantly connects teachers to resources around the world, that allows teachers to reach parents on a moment’s notice, that helps teachers reach out to the community and even helps bring the community into the classroom. Imagine a time when virtually all professionals have such terminals in their work spaces, and virtually all homes. That day is probably a long way off. Gary Bloom, Thrust for Educational Leadership –  1996!!!

The Internet is not a great tool for teaching. The Internet pales in comparison to the hype surrounding it. People think that children can think of any topic and pull up a wealth of information on it, but that is not the case.  The information in a library is what people seem to expect, but nobody has the time to transcribe entire libraries onto computers. There is nothing on the Internet that is incredibly beneficial to education, yet we continue to waste money on it.”  The Monterey County Herald, 1999. (Yes – 1999!)

David Warlick sums up what is so very shortsighted about many of the snapshots in time just listed:

Food for thought: I’m getting tired of hearing people continue to ask for the evidence that technology helps students learn. It doesn’t matter. We know — that good teachers help students learn. We need technology in every classroom and in every student and teacher’s hand, because it is the pen and paper of our time, and it is the lens through which we experience much of our world.”        David Warlick.

What about the use of hand-held technologies to support the learning of our 21st Century Learners?  I wonder how people are feeling about that?

We are not going to allow iPods and BlackBerrys and cellphones and things that are disruptive in the classroom. Teachers cannot be expected to look under every kid’s desk at what they are doing” Mayor Bloomberg, 2006

Is this last statement just the latest installment of the previous list of quotes?


About mitchchampagne

I am a husband of one, and a father of three. I am am elementary teacher for the Peterborough, Victoria, Northumberland & Clarington Catholic District School Board and a part-time Faculty member at the School of Education and Professional Learning, Trent University.
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