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Homework answers / question archive / Chapter 28 Digital Ling Writer's aie Lo lcly Journal Prompts 1, In the case of the World of Warcraft epidemic, the designers solved an apparently unsolvable problem by rebooung the game

Chapter 28 Digital Ling Writer's aie Lo lcly Journal Prompts 1, In the case of the World of Warcraft epidemic, the designers solved an apparently unsolvable problem by rebooung the game


Chapter 28 Digital Ling
aie Lo lcly
Journal Prompts
1, In the case of the World of Warcraft epidemic, the designers solved an
apparently unsolvable problem by rebooung the game. The authors
point out that starting over 1s not an option in the real world, but what
| if 1t were? What global problem would you like to reboot? How would
you tty to prevent it from happening again?
2 Why do people tmmerse themselves in virtual worlds? What is the ap-

| peal of role-playing games like World of Warcraft? If you have played

this or similar games, use your knowledge of them to explore these
questions. If not, try out an immersive game, and write about the expe-
rience as a newcomer to virtual worlds.

Suggestions for Writing ,

1. The authors note how the World of Warcraft players responded to the
contagion in a range of ways, expected and surprising Write an essay
comparing these responses with human behavior 1n a crisis ot analyzing

, their effects in the virtual world. How do you think you would act 1n a
simular situation?

| 2 The World of Warcraft epidemic inspired a study in an actual medi-
cal journal to examine whether virtual worlds could model real-
world reactions. Find out how your community or a field that inter-

ests you has used simulations to prepare for problems How would

! you use an online world to test human behavior? Write a proposal

for a simulation that would help to research a problem and attempt
to find a solution
David Gelernter
| y Computers Cannot Teach Children Basic Skills
| pea 7 David Gelernter, a professor of computer science at Yale, earned his undergraduate de-
| ) . yr gree from Yale University in classical Hebrew literature and his PhD in computer science
a from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. His books, articles, and theories
on technology have been highly influential He is @ contributing editor at the Weekly
Standard, chief scientist at Mirror Worlds Technologies, and also a painter and an art
critic in 1993, he lost part of his right hand and the sight in one eye after opening a mail
bomb sent by Theodore Kaczynski, the ‘Unabomber" terrorist opposed to the advance-
ment of technology, who targeted prominent professors and business executives
Gelernter chronicled his recovery in the memoir Drawing Life Surviving the Unabomber
(1997). His many other books include Amencanism: The Fourth Great Wester Religion
(2007) and Amenca-Lite: How Imperial Academia Dismantled Our Culture (and Ushered
In the Obamacrats) (2012). In “Computers Cannot Teach Children Basic Skills! first pub-
lished in the New Repubic in 1994, Gelernter challenges the widely held view that com-
puters are always a “godsend” in the classroom.

Gelemter = Computers Cannot Teach Children Basic Skills 581 { :
AS YOU READ: Identify the solution Gelernter proposes for using computers effectively in ;
the classroom 7,
C) ver the last decade an estimated $2 billion has been spent on more | !
than 2 millon computers for America’s classrooms That’s not sur-
prising We constantly hear from Washington that the schools ate in trouble :
and that computers are a godsend. Within the education establishment, in
poor as well as rich schools, the machines are awaited with nearly relsgious
awe. An inner-city principal bragged to a teacher friend of mine recently |
that his school “has a computer in every classtoom despite being 1n a bad |
neithborhood!” |
Computers Teach Some Things Well
Computers should be m the schools. They have the potennal to accomplish 2 '
great things With the right software, they could help make science tangible
or teach neglected topics like art and music. They could help students form a |
concrete idea of society by displaying on-screen a version of the city in which |
they live—a picture that tracks real life moment by moment |
In practice, however, computers make our worst educational nightmares 3
come true. While we bemoan the decline of literacy, computers discount
words in favor of pictures and pictures in favor of video. While we fret about i fh
the decreasing cogency® of public debate, computers dismiss linear argu-
ment anid promote fast, shallow romps across the information landscape. ;
While we worry about basic skills, we allow into the classroom software that
will do a student’s arithmetic or correct his spelling h
Computers Lower Reading Skills
Take mulumedia The idea of multimedia ts to combine text, sound, and pic- 4
tutes in a single package that you browse on-screen. You don’t just read
Shakespeare, you watch actors performing, listen to songs, view Elizabethan
buildings. What’s wrong with that? By offering children candy-coated books, |
mulnmedia 1s guaranteed to sour them on unsweetened reading It makes i
the printed page look even more bonng than 1t used to look. Sure, books will
be available in the classroom, too—but they'll have all the appeal of a dusty
piano to a teen who has a Walkman handy |
So what if the Irttle nippers don’t read? IF they're watching Olivier® in- 5 it
stead, what do they lose? The text, the wntten word along with all of sts at- |
tendant pleasures. Besides, a book 1s more portable than a computer, has a
higher-resolution display, can be wntten on and dog-eared, and 1s compara- |
tively dirt cheap |
cogency: Logic, persuasiveness Olivier: Laurence Ohwer, a British actor noted for lus '
Shakespearean performances ;


 Chapter 28 Digital Living
EL Cae
Hypermedia, mulumedia’s comrade in the struggle for a brave new class- 6
room, is just as troubling It’s a way of presenting documents on-screen without
| imposing a linear start-to-fisish order. Disembodied paragraphs are linked by
: theme; after reading one about the First World War, for example, you might be
| able to choose another about the technology of battleships, or the life of Wood-
row Wilson, or hemlines mn the ’20s. This is another cute idea that 1s good. 1n
minor ways and terrible in mayor ones. Teaching children to understand the
orderly unfolding of a plot or a logical argument 1s a crucial part of education |
Authors don’t merely agglomerate” paragraphs, they work hard to make the nar-
ratrve read a certain, way, prove a particular point To turn a book or a document
into hypertext 1s to invite readers to ignore exactly what counts—the story
The real problem, again, 1s the accentuation” of already bad habits Dyna- 7
miting documents into disjointed paragraphs is one more expression of the
sorry fact that sustained argument 1s not our style. If you’re a newspaper or
| magazine editor and your readership 1s dwindling, what’s the solution?
Shorter pieces. If you’re a politician and you want to get elected, what do you
need? Tasty sound bites. Logical presentation be damned
Another software species, “allow me” programs, 1s not much better. These 8
programs correct spelling and, by applying canned grammatical and stylistic
rules, fix prose In terms of promoting basic skills, though, they have all the
virtues of a pocket calculator. |
In Kentucky, as the Wall Street Journal reported, students in grades K-3 are 9
mixed together regardless of age in a relaxed environment It works great, the
Journal says Yes, scores on computation tests have dropped 10 percent at one
school, but not to worry. “Drilling addition and subtraction in an age of calcu- |
| lators 1s a waste of ume,” the principal reassures us. Meanwhile, a Japanese ed- I
| ucator informs University of Wisconsin mathematiaan Richard Akey that :n
his country, “calculators are not used in elementary or juruor high school be-
cause the primary emphasis 1s on helping students develop their mental abili-
ties ” No wonder Japanese kids blow the pants off American kids in math Do |
we teally think “delling addition and subtraction in an age of calculators 15 a
| waste of time”? If we do, then “drilling reading m an age of multimedia 1s a
waste of time” can’t be far behind
Prose-cotrecting programs are also a little ghoulish, like asking a com- 10
puter for tips on improving your personality. On the other hand, I ran this
viewpoint through a spell checker, so how can I ban the use of such pro-
grams in schools? Because to musspell 1s human, to have no idea of correct
spelling is to be serniliterate.
Conditions on the Use of Computers
There’s no denying that computers have the potential to perform inspiring 11
feats in the classroom If we are ever to see that potential realized, however,
we ought to agree on three conditions. First, there should be a completely
brave new classroom: Reference to the Aldous Huxley novel Brave New World, mm which tech-
nology makes life happy burempty. agglomerate: Jumble together § accentnation: Em-
phasizing or intensifying


Gelernter « Computers Cannot Teach Children Basic Skills 583 |
new crop of children’s software Most of today’s offerings show no imagina- |
tion. There are hundreds of simular reading and geography and arithmetic 7
programs, but almost nothing on electricity or physics or architecture Also,
they abuse the technical capacities of new media to glitz up old forms 1n-
stead of creating new ones. Why not build a time-travel program that gives |
kids a feel for how history 1s structured by zooming you backward? A spec-
trum program that lets users twirl a frequency knob to see what happens? |
Second, computers should be used only during recess or relaxation peri- 12 |
ods. Treat them as fillips,° not as surrogate teachers. When I was in school in |
the *60s, we all loved educational films. When we saw a movie 1n class, every-
body won teachers didn’t have to teach, and pupils didn’t have to learn I |
suspect that classroom computers are popular today for the same reasons
Most important, educators should learn what parents and most teachers 13 |
already know. you cannot teach a child anything unless you look him in the ,
face. We should not forget what computers are Like books —better in some |
ways, worse in others —they are devices that help children mobilize their own
resources and learn for themselves. The computer's potential to do good is
| modestly greater than a book’s m some areas Its potential to do harm ts |
vastly greater, across the board
Questions to Start You Thinking |
1. Considering Meaning: What are the primary shortcomings
| Gelernter believes computers have as educational tools?
2. Identifying Writing Strategies: Whete in the essay does Gelernter |
. propose his solution as to how computers should be used 1n the class- 7
| room? Do you find this placement effective? Why, or why not?
4 , 3. Reading Critically: In several places mn the essay, Gelerntet compares |
5 computers with books Review what he has to say about computers all
! and books Do you think he makes an effective argument here? Why, or
; why not? !
—_ 4 Expanding Vocabulary: Define bemoan, literacy, fret, inear, and romps
ar (paragraph 3) Then, in your own words, summarize Gelernter’s point )
. in paragraph 3 What does his word choice suggest about his intended qT
p audience?
5 Making Connections: What might Gelernter say about Clive
Thompson’s “The New Literacy” (pp. 584-87)? Which writer 1s more
, persuasive, and why?
Journa! Prompts
1 What kind of learning have you done on computers? How effective do |
you find such learning?
fillips: Things that are added for excitement bur are not essential




Final Exam: Composition I Upper Iowa University
Below is a list of 8 questions taken from the essays you read for this course in the Bedford
Guide for College Writers, 10" edition. Choose one of these questions and answer with a 500
— 700 word response. In the writing booklet provided, write a rough draft (an outline, also, if
you find that helpful) and then a final draft. Be sure to identify the topic you will be answering
before you present the final draft. For example, at the top of the first page, write #8 — Computers.
Also, create an appropriate title for the essay. Hand all of this writing in.
You may use your textbook and a dictionary to answer the question you select.
NOTE: you can choose a question you might have written on before.
This final exam is worth 50 points.
From “The Right to Fail” (p. 601}

1. What is your definition of the “American Dream”?

2. Who would you like to share Zinsser’s essay with in order to open up that person’s
mind about failure? Why?

From “Violent Media is Good for Kids” (p. 565)

3. Where would you draw that line between ‘creative violence’ (para. 12) and
representations that could be harmful to kids? Are there any stories, characters or
images that should be off limits to young audiences? Why or why not?

From “The New Literacy” (p. 584)

4. Thompson claims that people are writing more than ever as they socialize online.
Consider your own time spent writing online, texting or tweeting. Has this time and
involvement made you a better writer? A better person? Why or why not?

From “In Defense of Consumerism” (p. 615)

5. Rockwell argues that we don’t really mean it when we say that we can do without
more things and technological advances. Do you have any hesitations or mixed
emotions about consumption or new technologies in the marketplace?

6. Rockwell argues that freedom of individual consumption is akin to a natural right.
What is a “natural right”? Do you consider freedom of choice as a consumer a
“natural right’? How do your rights as a consumer and your rights as a citizen differ?

From “Computers Cannot Teach Children Basic Skills” (p. 580)

7. What kind of learning having you done on computers? How effective do you find
such learning?

g. To what extent do you agree or disagree with Gelernter’s position? In your answer,
focus on the basic skills of reading, writing and math, but feel free to consider other
areas in which the computer may or may not be an effective teaching tool.

ENG 102-P4 Final Exam 5

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