School of the Past: School of the Future

This summer I visited  the quite wonderful Hancock Shaker Village. It’s where in craft and design, form meets function with simplicity and beauty.  So many interesting things to see and pay attention to.

Of course – I had to visit the schoolhouse, now separated from the main buildings by a busy highway.

The school room was bright and well lit and seemed both familiar and welcoming. The shelves held books, quills and slates. There was a stove with a long pipe, and a teacher’s desk at the front and on it a handbell. Student desks were in rows and tall windows framed pleasant vistas in spite of the road.

The date on the blackboard was 1898.

At around the same, a French postcard presented a view of the school of the future – the year 2000. The same room, students still in those desks and rows. But now knowledge has been mechanized. Knowledge as represented by books  is  fed into a hand cranked mincing machine (at least there’s one active learner!) and directed to the heads of passive students via electrical circuits dropped from the ceiling.

It all looks like the nightmare of an isolation chamber/  computerized/ learning laboratory devoted to mind control.

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