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Argument: Technology has consistently improved education and human knowledge

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Argument's parent debate(s)

Supporting evidence, quotes, and analysis

  • Felix Drost (online debater). Economist online debate. 10/15/07 - "The printing press, engines and the computer; these are some of the technologies have transformed society completely; The printing press offered the rapid distribution of knowledge that was previously considered the exclusive and often secret domain of the church, sparking the renaissance, the rise of science and also the industrial revolution. The engine made travel possible, concentrating education increasingly in schools and universities, dissemminating information more efficiently and allowing talent from allover large areas to convene. The computer accelerated that process exponentially and thanks to the internet we can now access any information available anywhere at any time. 'Does technology really offer substantive advantages to students?' Of course it does; it always has, and more than substantive it is fundamental."
  • John (online debater). The Economist Debate Series. October 20, 2007 - "The first and greatest technological breakthrough in human history was not fire or the wheel, but language. The next greatest human technology was writing. We are embarking on the third greatest human technology that started with the telegraph, then the telephone, radio, television, and eventually the internet and where that will lead is anyone's guess, but it includes all of the ancillary technologies such as computers and transistors and integrated circuits and mobile phones and a million and one other pieces that are being put together that will eventually rival writing and language. It is a purpose (the purpose?) of education to further this creative technological evolution in communication. People have constantly wondered at the high water marks of human existence by looking at this invention or that, but it has been the small and large revolutions in communication that have demarcated the advances of human culture and civilisation. To take one example, much is made about the Industrial Revolution that created European economic supremacy. Historians look at inventions such as the steam engine and the cotton gin or fuels such as coal or petroleum as the instigators of the economic miracle that broke European man out of the Malthusian trap. But rarely is the telegraph and telephone mentioned except in passing; yet, there it is -- the ability to communicate virtually instantaneously across continents, across oceans and around the world revolutionised economic man. The fact that people speak about new technology and new media as some amusement that may or may not be beneficial to education have some how missed the point of the past 50 millenia of human existence. Education should constantly be examining where we are on the technological continuum and determine how best to incorporate and advance human technology and culture."
  • Frank (online debater). Economist Debate Series. October 20, 2007 - "Does technology really offer substantive advantages to students?" Well, if it does not, why do we use books? They were once a technological advance. No doubt when they were introduced believers in the oral tradition argued that the benefits of books could not be proven, as most probably they could not. However, over time, it became accepted that the printed word facilitated mass education."
  • DrJohn (online debater). The Economist Debate Series: Education. October 18, 2007 - "Two generations ago, introduction of hand-held calculators was regarded as revolutionary. Now it is inconceivable that students might be without them. I suppose that 10 generations ago, the pencil and the paper tablet were regarded as revolutionary 'new technology,' and that in Gutenberg's day, printed books likewise. People always seem to be luddites wrt innovation, but innovations are ase good as the people using them."

Counter-arguments

Susan Barnes- Technology may offer advantages, but it also brings with it some disadvantages. We have witnessed a decline in language usage. While some say that Instant Messaging is creative, I would argue that it is eroding language. It has been my observation that students now include IM symbols in their papers and written assignments. Getting undergraduates to think logically is a major challenge. Most revert to emotional appeals, which is similar to advertising and TV. While you argue that technology is good, I would say that it has some negative effects. McLuhan argued that it is the medium rather than the message that influences people. The medium of the computer creates the need for instant information. Students are impatient. Where thoughtful arguments take time to develop, they want everything now and have trouble writing well structured arguments. What does this do to language?

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