A Vision of Students Today

"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 the 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."

--Marshall McLuhan, The Medium is the Massage: An Inventory of Effects (1967)

[Spotted on Jonathan Carroll's blog]