Psychology Foundations for Graduate Study Discussion Chapter

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Psychology - Foundations for Graduate Study

Prompt: One of the great breakthroughs in the past 50 years has been the widespread availability of the personal computer. This powerful learning tool has revolutionized everything from commerce to education and changed the very way everyone conducts his or her daily lives. And most notably, where only a few years ago people wrote about the "digital divide" between those who could afford computers and those who could not, there is almost no discussion along these lines any longer. and, in fact, why would there be? Poor people can now save enough to buy their families a computer for home and school use. In fact, an article in Business Week in 2001 estimated that more than 80% of all high school students were "plugged in."

Discussion post

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This paragraph is an example of an attempt at scholarly writing that ultimately fails to meet the basic academic requirements of substantiating evidence in a clear and well-cited manner. It relies upon the 'common sense' notion that 'everyone knows' that the computer has changed modern life rather than presents scientific data to substantiate its claims. The writer assumes that the reader is most likely a young person like him or herself and is used to the ubiquity of technology. While the statement 'the computer has changed everything' may resonate with a person who is very 'connected,' technologically speaking, someone else with a different life experience may disagree. An older person may find it difficult to believe that the computer has changed life so radically (beliefs once established are notoriously difficult to eradicate), and given the argumentative structure of the essay, it is necessary to substantiate its first, fundamental assertion (Douglas 2000).

TOPIC: Discussion Chapter on Psychology Foundations for Graduate Study Assignment

As well as a failure to substantiate the writer's statements about computers, the paragraph also exhibits a notable inability to question the terms he or she is using to describe the phenomena of the digital divide. A scholarly author must break down his or her assumptions into the sum of their parts (Paul & Elder 2003). What is meant by the term 'poor people,' for example? Does 'poor' mean not able to buy the very best technology? Or that someone is genuinely destitute? Without defining poor, the assertion that the digital divide has been closed between rich and poor is meaningless. Finally, what is meant by 'plugged in?' Once again, the author fails to question this term (Paul & Elder 2003). Does 'plugged in' mean that the student has access to a word processing program, or to sophisticated technology that will enable him or her to have real skills to advance in the workplace? It is difficult to believe, without more substantiated evidence, that the gap in terms of technology education between rich and poor schools has truly been closed, based on one statistic from Businessweek. Also, the writer does not question if being 'plugged in' at school is really that significant. A student without a computer at home is still likely to be disadvantaged, in terms of the research he or she can conduct, versus students with access to computers and other high-end technology (such as a smartphone, video cameras to do course projects, a DVR) at home.

References

Douglas, N.L. (2000). Enemies of critical thinking: Lessons from social psychology research.

Reading Psychology, 21(2), 129-144

Paul, R., & Elder, L. (2003). Critical thinking: Teaching students how to study and learn (Part

III). Journal of Developmental Education, 26(3), 36-37.

Writing assignment

Scholarly writing is not a mere regurgitation of cut-and-paste source material; nor is it gut, uninformed personal option. Scholarly writing demands science to substantiate a claim: it cannot be asserted that 'everyone knows' that technology has changed 'everything.' Scholarly writing requires rational thought and those thoughts must be substantiated with the writings of others. Above all, it is rigorous in the way it questions common assumptions. Critical thinking breaks down everyday assumptions (what is often called 'common sense') into the sum… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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