Isaac Asimov on the Future of School: “The Fun They Had”

Diane Ravitch's blog

Isaac Asimov wrote a short story in the 1950s called “The Fun They Had.” It was about a brother and sister in the year 2157 discussing a rare find: a book. They had never seen a book before. All their learning was at home, on a computer. They didn’t know what a human teacher was. Their mechanical teacher “taught” them and graded their responses.

Margie went into the schoolroom. It was right next to her bedroom, and the mechanical teacher was on and waiting for her. It was always on at the same time every day except 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…

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Author: Emily Talmage

My name is Emily Talmage and I teach fourth grade at Montello Elementary School in Lewiston, Maine. In addition to teaching in Lewiston, I have also taught special education and general education in New York City, including one year at a “high-performing” charter school in Brooklyn. I also have two master’s degrees; one in Urban Education from Mercy College, and another in Developmental Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University. I have also worked as a research analyst and assistant at the National Center for Children and Families at Columbia and Oldham Innovative Research in Portland.

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