Purpose: To demonstrate our ability to write a well-supported argument essay; to show our ability to do accurate work cited pages; to demonstrate our ability to cite sources using MLA format.
Audience: people who may be unfamiliar with the topic
Format: typed, double-spaced, Times New Roman; 12 pt. font; original title; proper academic essay formatting; use MLA in-text citation for all sources quoted; use MLA style for Works Cited page.
Assignment: To prepare for this final writing assignment, we have read six essays that describe the effects of the use of technology, social media, the Internet, and smart devices. The articles have highlighted positive, negative, and mixed effects. Goldsmith asserts that it is ultimately impossible to argue that the Internet has largely negative impact. He posits that one person’s “negative” judgment may be challenged by another user’s positive examples. Wortham offers the optimistic view that increased interconnectivity is a powerful source or impetus to change society for the better. However, a more cynical reader of Wortham’s essay may note that the same forces may be harnessed to create chaos or unleash divisive or destructive forces. Carr presents compelling research and discussion to persuade his readers that our “smartphones” may have the opposite effect on users. However, Carr’s discussion prompts the question of whether users might be able to develop more strategies and skills to alleviate the possible negatives that his essay details. Turkle argues that the overuse of smartphones negatively affects how we interact with others. Vinh highlights the potential negative outcomes from the use of social media. Readers should decide whether Turkle’s and/or Vinh’s discussions are persuasive. Finally, Fuentes makes the case that social media is not the cause of aggression, bullying, and division in society. Instead, contemporary “real life” is marked by changes in how community members communicate and interact with each other. These changes are co-occuring as political and economic contenxts are becoming more complicated and divisive. Thus, according to Fuentes, social media provides a forum,or a space, where aggression and bullying can proliferate. At the same time, he argues that humans have the skills to reduce conflict and aggression. Social media can provide a way for people to join together to resolve rather than increase hate and divisiveness.
The title of this series of essays is called “How is Technology Changing Us?” Each article discussed ways that individuals, communities, and society are changing as a result of greater access to technology and devices that connect us to each other and information. I would like you to engage with the question raised by the articles: How is technology changing us? Are these changes largely positive or negative? Are you optimistic or pessimistic? Based on your reading, annotated notes, and class discussions of the essays, write a five page argument paper in which you take a clear position on whether technology is changing us largely for better, or worse. Provide specific reasons to support your position. You are limited to the essays in Unit 22 of They Say/I Say with Readings as well as the Turkle essay. I will NOT accept papers that have used any other sources! You must quote from each of the chosen essays at least one time. Your quotes may not be more than two sentences long and must be properly cited.
Readers Primarily Agree with You
Strengthen their conviction by organizing your argument around a series of reasons backed by supporting evidence, or by refuting opposing arguments point by point
I. Present the issue.
II. Provide a thesis statement – a direct statement of your position.
III. Present your most plausible reasons and evidence.
IV. Concede or refute opposing reasons or objections to your argument.
V. Conclude: Reaffirm your position.
these opening strategies:
Begin with statistics that would help readers grasp the importance of your topic.
Use a personal anecdote to make the issue tangible or to appeal to readers’ emotions:
Example: My students nod along until we get to racist and sexist speech. Some can’t grasp why, if we restrict so many forms of speech, we don’t also restrict hate speech (Nielsen, par 1).
Start with a surprising statement to capture your readers’ attention.
McDonald’s is bad for your kids (Etzioni, par. 1).
Use a hypothetical quotation to indicate how people typically think about the issue:
When the government gathers or analyzes personal information, man people say they’re not worried. “I’ve got nothing to hide,” they declare (Solove 144).
Remember that a strong thesis or claim
A. Does not simply introduce the topic.
Weak: I’m going to write about single-sex education because I am interested in that topic.
Strong: Girls should learn in girls-only classes because they become more self-confident and perform better in math and science.
B. Do not just state an opinion that is vague.
Weak: Cyberbullying is a bad thing for children.
Strong: Cyberbullying destroys self-esteem, creates anxiety, and inhibits the social development of children.
C. Do not just make statements of fact that everyone would agree with.
Weak: Social media is a very common way to communicate.
Strong: Social media is a useful tool for influencing political, moral, and social opinions.
Building Strong Arguments
The argument is developed in the body paragraphs. Every body paragraph includes a topic sentence that identifies the reason from the thesis. To make an argument strong and convincing, each reason is supported by evidence such as examples, facts, statistics, quotations, and personal experience. The more supporting evidence you have, the stronger your argument becomes.
To find strong evidence, ask yourself these questions:
A. What facts or statistics would most likely convince my reader?
B. What quotations or examples clearly support my point of view?
C. What personal experiences would make my point of view more persuasive?
Counterargument and Refutation
When writing an argumentative essay, you must consider what people who are opposed to your stand will say and try to find ways to weaken their argument. Follow these steps to develop a counterargument and refutation:
1. Introduce the counterargument. Explain the argument and identify the people who believe it.
Some critics of single-sex classrooms argue that single-sex education is dangerous because it reinforces gender stereotypes.
2. Describe the evidence or reasons people give for this counterargument.
In their view, a same-sex environment makes girls and boys emphasize the differences in each other and adopt stereotypical behaviors. In other words, girls act more passively and boys act more aggressively.
3. Acknowledge any part of the argument that may be true or partly true and explain why. Then refute the counterargument by calling attention to a weakness based on evidence or reasoning. A refutation should be based on evidence, logic, and objective facts, not emotions or bias.
While it may be true that same-sex grouping has the capacity to make boys and girls aware of differences, we should not draw the conclusion that they behave stereotypically as a result. Some research has shown that, in fact, students behave in a less stereotypical way. Similarly, a study by Park, Behman, and Choi looked at girls in single-sex and coed physics classes. They assigned girls to each class and found that those “in the all-girls classroom were less likely to regard physics as a boys’ subject, compared to girls who had been randomly assigned to the coed classroom” (132).
4. Conclude by showing how your evidence disproves the counterargument.
In other words, the single-sex environment allowed girls to be free of the limits and expectations that they felt in the mixed gender classroom.
Your conclusion should contain the following elements:
A. It states the reason why your point of view is more valid than the opposing views.
Thus, studying in a single-sex environment has important benefits. it can make girls be more self-confident and improve their grades in math and science, two subjects that can lead to jobs in growing fields like nursing and biomedical research.
B. It emphasizes the importance of the topic being argued.
Girls deserve to have the opportunity to enjoy these benefits, no matter where they live.
C. It ends with a strong comment, recommendation, or call to action.
Girls-only classes must be available everywhere to make that possible.
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