As I said in the previous mini-lecture, there are many ways in which visions of the education of the past (School 1.0) are actually comments on the present. The same is true for visions of the education of the future (or on alien planets, other galaxies, alternate dimensions). To a large extent, all of science fiction (like all of all literature) is about the critical concerns (the fears, the desires, the joy, the mysteries) of its own time and place.

We’ll be looking at some science fiction visions throughout the course. Let’s start with one vision of a “school” of the 24th century on the planet Vulcan.

(this one is a one-minute click, and it’s on a password-protected page.  Just for our class.  You’ll need the password in order to view it.  I’ll give you the password.  When you’ve got it and you’re ready to watch, click here, and then come back to this post.)

Watched it?  What did you see?  Isolation. Absorbing content (and repeating it back, it seems). Vulcan is an advanced planet and the Vulcans are an advanced race (you can tell by the spooky lighting and the holograms and the pointed ears). And how they learn is something that we would call…advanced? What do you think? (And notice that one thing that doesn’t change, as the end of the clip demonstrates, is the learning that happens when kids bring each other insults and aggression. More about that in another unit to come!)

Then let’s take a look at a humorous idea of how education can work (not sure whether Father Guido Sarducci means this to be past or present or future.  You decide.)