Marshall McLuhan’s book The Medium Is the Massage is a captivating read. Its airy format makes it digestible for the read at first sight, but of course is messages are more advanced than that on a deeper level. The excerpt that I found the most interesting comes from pages 18-19. Its text says the following:
“There is a world of difference between the modern home environment of integrated electric information and the classroom. Today’s television child is attuned to up-to-the-minute “adult” news—inflation, rioting, war, taxes, crime, bathing beauties —and is bewildered when he enters the nineteenth-century environment that still characterizes the educational establishment where information is scarce but ordered and structured by fragmented, classified patterns, subjects, and schedules. It is naturally an environment much like any factory set-up with its inventories and assembly lines. The “child” was an invention of the seventeenth century; he did not exist in, say, Shakespeare’s day. He had, up until that time, been merged in the adult world and there was nothing that could be called childhood in our sense. Today’s child is growing up absurd, because he lives in two worlds, and neither of them inclines him to grow up. Growing up—that is our new work, and it is total. Mere instruction will not suffice.”
This look on education is very relevant to the ever-growing media range of the modern society. There still seems to be a clash between the technologies in children’s everyday life, and the analog school system. Of course, as technology advances, it also gets more, and more incorporated into the school system. However, I believe that the technologies that children use in their free time, will always be some steps ahead of the ones from school. To some extent, this can seem to leave the children in some sort of limbo, where the technology they use in their free time is far superior than what they learn in school. Why should then a child pay attention to someone talking about techniques far less powerful than the one that they themselves control? The education system has to be aware so that it does not get to far behind the technology that is present in the students own private life.