LudditesForget loom-smashing. How about other major Luddite moments, some preceding the not-so-late Ned Lud. The examples below come not from factories, but from the world of education. Here’s wisdom, dated 1703, from The Teacher’s Conference:

“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.”

And more recently from Federal Teacher, in 1950:

“Ballpoint pens will be the ruin of education in our country. Students use these devices and then throw them away. The American virtues of thrift and frugality are being discarded. Business and banks will never allow such expensive luxuries”

Writing in Learning in Hand, educator Tony Vincent says:

Like the technologies above, detractors have also pooh-pooh the idea of handhelds in classrooms because students will drop, lose, or abuse them. Students might cheat with them, forget to charge them, be distracted by them, or depend upon them too much.

Could some or all of the quotes cited by Tony Vincent be hoaxes or humor? You never know. But I’ve heard more than my share of equally insane condemnations of e-book technology. And Googling around, I did find the same statements elsewhere. So I doubt he was joking arond.

Interesting tidbit: The possibly mythical Ned Lud was said to have been feeble-minded.


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