Cambridge United Kingdom. September 2020. Lucy Jordan, eight, is starting her first day of iSchool – the Cambridge school of science and technology & engineering to be precise.
She just graduated with honors from iLearn – the click ‘n nursery brick government.
Since the age of five he has participated in supervising sessions of social skills with other children for two hours every morning on weekdays. After going home for lunch he worked his iLearn short for three hours each afternoon online.
His parents, businessmen and one of whom is paid by the government to stay home under the parental responsibility, did not have to sell the family jewels to pay Lucy’s complete technology toolkit.
The cost of the Amazon Kindle e-Reader, Raspberry Pi micro-computer, Apple iPhone to facilitate communication capabilities, Apple iPad and other tablets – was met by the innovative government program EdTech tax relief.
Through iLearn, Lucy learned basic literacy and calculation skills and a smattering of key languages from around the world. She gained an elementary knowledge of a whole series of subjects under her tutor Miss Wiki, Mr. Google, Professor Hologram and Drs YouTube, DVD and Video.
David Attenbrough’s series of ‘Life on Earth’ had made a brilliant ‘teacher’ geography. The world’s best communicators in their fields – using video and related technologies – had given her a grounding in medicine, nature, science, engineering and the humanities.
Apple iTunes and YouTube caught up through the arts, music and drama requirements of its program.
Under the new anti-obesity laws, passed when the NHS was demolished in 2015, Lucy is required to undergo an hour-a-day exercise using her Nintendo Wii Remote Plus, connected to her Microsoft Kinect XBox game console 360.
And under the religious tolerance ‘FaithBuddies’ government program, Lucy has had regular online contact with children of the same age in other countries and beliefs so she understands that people are people, be they Muslims, Buddhists or Judaists.
iLearn had abolished the ‘curricula-exam’ treadmill in widespread relief in 2015. Lucy had satisfied an online panel of overseers, nominated by the government, in an annual assessment where he fielded some fundamental issues and looked up the answers on Internet.
So here sits, three years older and very wise, a new student at the Cambridge School of Science and Technology & Engineering. In reality she is at home in her study. It is practically always and everywhere.
Lucy’s connections of the new government Heri-tech center – an archive of heritage technology – where Tim Berners-Lee gives a passionate dissertation about the emergence of the internet and how the World Wide Web has created a global village.
In an hour dizzy sees a reconstruction of the Egyptians building the great pyramid of Giza; Neil Armstrong walks on the moon; and the Americans completed the construction of the Panama Canal with 40,000 workers moving dirt enough to bury the entire island of Manhattan 12 feet deep.
She sits enchanted as Stephen Hawking unpicks the secrets of the universe and admits to being a little scared to watch The Large Hadron Collider-housed in a 17-mile-long circular tunnel buried some 570 feet below the French and Swiss Alps – an experiment gigantic huge scientific designed to observe the tiny subatomic particles recreating the terrifying conditions that existed right after the Big Bang.
Chills is aimed at emotions as you watch engineers build the Qingzang-Tibet railway – the world’s highest railway. She sways in her chair at the rhythm of a rattling train along a top-of-the-world slide across Himalayan peaks and rugged tundra on a 1,200-mile trail, at one point crossed 16,640-foot Tanggula Pass.
You could have done without seeing the historic world premiere human heart transplant performed by Christiaan Barnard so close to his elevenses, followed by the nature in red teeth and claws on the Serengeti as a shred of a GNU Lion.
But she could recover her balance by studying hummingbirds fly backwards or the goose flapping at heights of 21,120 feet on her migration to the Himalayas.
Tomorrow she would learn how smart people in Providence, Rhode Island, had discovered rivers that had been buried under paved bridges. You could get in tune with the Eiffel Tower building in Paris or follow more modest lines of thought to revisit the production of the famous acorn BBC Micro computer – right here in Cambridge with that handsome Mr Hauser giving some user-friendly commentary.
Lucy decides that she likes this ‘look, listen and learn’ approach to what we call old education to banish them. And she has no doubt what she wants to be when she is older. Those scientists and engineers – creating everything from computers to canals – have all the fun. And they make such a difference.
Lucy could not wait to share these marvels with Mom and Dad and Brother Billy – a brilliant little four year old that, in just a year’s time, I would like to begin on the same magical journey of discovery.