July 20, 2019 - CHAPTER 5 - School Days: No Recess
This chapter opens with a résumé that covers a man's education, from daycare through college to in-service training on the job. The man was born in 1982 and is 37 years old as of July 20, 2019.
Clarke says that most new jobs in the future will involve computers, so instead of teaching pupils how to do things by rote (as was required during the Industrial Revolution), modern education will teach students how to think. That way they'll be able to adapt and change along with the work environment. Education will become continual re-education ("no recess").
And new technologies will change how education is delivered. People will be able to interact over long distances, attend courses remotely, and so on. He gives some for-instances in the book (which was written in 1986), and most of these speculative scenarios are already outdated, because of the internet.
Clarke pictures a "smorgasbord of educational choices" in the future--corporate schools, profit-making chains (McSchools), and special schools for special students, like immigrants and homosexuals (Clarke was gay. I wonder why he envisioned special schools for homosexuals in the future?). Industry will be involved with schools at the local level, to help train workers. Computer schools will teach kids how to program in PASCAL and C. Students may be going to the moon base that NASA is planning for the turn of the century. And schools will get involved with underprivileged kids earlier in their lives. This will cost more but, "Costs will be offset, at least in part, by the resulting shrinkage of welfare rolls."
At the end of the chapter Clarke addresses Artificial Intelligence. He quotes somebody who says that in 25 years (from 1986), we will have machines with 25 times the power of the IBM PC. Again, that seems pretty outdated, but I'm no expert. I think the set-up I'm using at this moment is a gazillion times more powerful than one of those old IBM boat anchors.
This book was affiliated with Omni Magazine
, a print magazine that focused on science and science fiction. One of their selling points was their artwork--especially first-rate photography. Apparently the photos in this book came from Omni
, and they're exceptional. Quite a bit of information in this chapter is attached to the photo captions:
* "In the past, only test pilots and astronauts traveled at fantastic speeds. But in 2019, everyday travelers will sail along at Mach 22." (That's nearly 17,000 mph).
* "Computer graphics replace finger paints, and school children try their hand at being space architects."
* "Touch-sensitive computer screens already are making learning more fun for the young."https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omni_(magazine)
A couple of links I thought I'd toss in. One relates to the computers of 1986 and one relates to the current state of education in the US:https://www.computerhope.com/history/1986.htmeducationdive.com/news/several-baltimor ... ng/443155/