A little summer reading for you thanks to my colleague Marc Epstein. Marc had his students read "The Fun They Had" by Issac Asimov this past spring. He gave me a copy too.
This wonderful short story, written in 1951, involves kids in the year 2157. They look with envy at their forefathers who actually went to a school building and read real books. Enjoy it but realize this future shock may be upon us long before 2157 if the Joel Klein's and Michael Bloomberg's of the world have their way.
An excerpt for you:
Margie went into her schoolroom. It was right next door to her bedroom, and the mechanical teacher was on and waiting for her. It was always on at the same time every day except for Saturday and Sunday, because her mother said little girls learned better if they learned at regular hours.
The screen was lit up and it said: Today's arithmetic lesson is on the addition of proper fractions.
Please insert yesterday's homework in the proper slot.
Margie did so with a sigh. She was thinking about the old schools they had when her grandfather's grandfather was a boy. All the kids from the whole neighborhood came, laughing and shouting in the schoolyard, sitting together in the schoolroom, going home together at the end of the day...
And the teachers were people.