rhetoric essay

6 June 2016

If Technology is Making Us Stupid, It’s Not Technology’s Fault

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In his article “If Technology Is Making Us Stupid, It’s Not Technology’s Fault,” David Theo Goldberg effectively informs the reader about the effects that computers in the home and school environment could have on the future education of the coming generations. Goldberg achieves this by executing defined organization and adding unique comparisons about the potentially crippling effects technology can have on a society when put into the wrong hands.

Goldberg approaches the organization of his article in such a way that he is able to progress his opinion in a slow enough pace to address all major points, including who society blames as the problem and who is actually at fault, and immediately address the potential counterarguments. He begins with the arguments that would be used against the heavy use of computers such as the “introduction of computers in homes [leading] to children spending less time on homework and more time on recreational games,” causing a deflation in testing scores (Goldberg, 2010).

Goldberg quickly counters that argument with multiple counterexamples including the idea that the increased computer use leads to “improved computing skills,” which will ultimately play a role in increasing the employability of the newer generations (Goldberg, 2010). This is effective in achieving Goldberg’s point because immediately addressing the counter allows the reader to clearly understand your view on one point at a time rather than every counterargument being thrown into one jumbled paragraph without an easy flow in the writing. The reader is able to clearly understand what message Goldberg was trying to convey and what he thinks should be done to monitor, or control the potential problems that could arise from the increase in the usage of computers through his choice in organizational styles which proves much more clarity to the article that could have otherwise been lost.

Through his organization, Goldberg manages to also clearly use strong comparisons to older issues regarding similar social or societal fear. He does this through the primary comparison of issues such as television and automobiles to the issue of the implementation of computers as a primary source in the home and school. Goldberg mentions that “when television became socially widespread in the 1950s the concern was that it would undermine learning,” which he follows with the conclusion that it indeed did do that very thing but not on such a black and white scale that many researches expected (Goldberg, 2010). The television did provide an outlet for the already unmotivated people to be even more unmotivated but it also provided an educational outlet. Television was the start of many advanced programs such as Sesame Street, and the History Channel.

Goldberg quickly compares this to the computer by showing that this too can be used as an educational driving force for younger generations as shown by recent studies. Goldberg’s quick and clear comparison to a related topic proves to the audience that looking at the facts and concerns on a surface level may not express the true potential that the computers can add to the field of education. Goldberg does state that computers, much like other things in life, need to be monitored and used responsibly in order to achieve the most out of it.

He explains this through his comparison of the automobile and allowing a child to drive for the first time. With the proper tools and instruction one can expect, or at least hope, that the young teenager will be much more equipped and feel at ease behind the wheel of the car. If that is the case then they will be able to use the car for what it was intended to do which was to “encourage interactive engagement, creativity, and participatory interaction with others,” (Goldberg, 2010). This Goldberg says is what the computer and internet are intended to do also.

Goldberg’s comparison of the expectations of the past and the reality of today was the strongest in showing his point. His comparison that the old philosophy of reading the “classic” literature and having the vast understanding of the past is just that, a thing of the past (Goldberg, 2010).

He shows the reader that our idea of what should be an acceptable amount of old world reading should be advancing with the times and our understanding of what is needed in this world to succeed is not the same as that of sixty years ago. This is effective in bringing the old world fears that the audience might be experiencing up to the twenty-first century reality that times are changing. Goldberg’s comparisons effectively prove his point by showing that yes what these researchers are saying could potentially be true but if used responsibly and monitored the computers could be a huge stepping stone to success.

The important choice of organization and the comparisons to other successful leaps of societal faith really display the beliefs of Goldberg himself. The clear depiction allows the audience to fully understand that there is truth to what the researchers and skeptics are saying about the potential dangers that this poses on the education level of future generations but that doesn’t overshadow the fact that this is an effective tool and one that is very present in the times we live in.

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