The Fun They Had
· The story ‘The Fun They Had’ is written by Isaac Asimov, a noted science fiction writer.
· The story is a science fiction with background setting of 2157. It is a comparative study of schools in present era and the schools of future. It is written in form of a diary by a young girl, Margie.
· It is a beautiful and interesting introspection of the present day education system and school behaviour.
· The theme of the story is the future of education.
Summary / Synopsis
§ The story takes us to year 2157 in future. Tommy, 13 years old, found a book from attic and showed it to his sister, Margie who is 11 years old.
§ It was a book printed on paper. The pages of the book had turned yellow and wrinkled as it belonged to Margie’s grand father’s grandfather.
§ The book was peculiar in the sense that words on it were not moving like they move on their mechanical teacher’s screen.
§ Tommy called it a ‘waste’ because once the book is read, it is of no use. Their television screen had a million e-books on it and one cannot throw them away.
§ They both wanted to know what the book was about. When Tommy told that it was about the school, Margie found it strange as she hated the school.
§ Now she hated it more than ever because her mechanical teacher had been giving her tests after tests in geography and she had been doing worse and worse.
§ Her mother sent for the County Inspector who was a round little man. He took the television teacher apart and set it right within an hour to Margie’s disappointment.
§ He told her mother that it was not Margie’s fault but the geography sector of the mechanical teacher was geared a little too quick and he has slowed that to an average ten-year level.
§ Margie was curious to know about the school in the past. Tommy told, it was the old kind of school where the students had a human teacher who taught them and gave home work.
§ Margie argued that a man cannot be smart enough. Tommy further told that the teachers didn’t live in the house. They had a special building named school and the students went there.
§ Now, it is Margie’s school time. She went into the school room which is right next to her bedroom. The mechanical teacher was on and waiting for her. The teacher is on same time every day except for Saturday and Sunday. Her mother thinks that the young children learn better if they learn at regular hours.
§ First, she put her homework in the slot with a sigh and mechanical teacher checked it in no time.
§ She was still thinking about the old schools they had when her grandfather’s grandfather was a little boy. All the kids from the whole neighbourhood came, laughing and shouting in the schoolyard, studying together and going home together at the end of the day. Those schools were far better than the schools of her time because they offered great fun to the students.
The Mechanical teacher is a machine programmed to teach according to the grade and level of a particular child. It is a big, black and ugly television screen (according to Margie). It has a slot to insert homework which is written in punch code. The machine may be a computer or television screen as well as may look like a robot according to one’s choice.
The Tele book or e-book is a digital book. It is written in electronic form. It stores all the chapters or information required for a specific subject or grade. It is displayed on the screen of mechanical teacher and read by scrolling up, down or sideways.
E - book or tele book may contain many books together according to the requirement.
The words of e - book keep moving on screen while someone reads the book.
The message of the story is that the real education is about providing adequate and right environment for learning.
The writer warns against the future education system which may become completely digital or computerised with zero social interactions, and thus, may prove fatal to the healthy education system.
The title ‘Fun They Had’ also conveys the message that learning process must be a fun and should take place in healthy and congenial environment.
Important Question answers
Q. How does Tommy describe old kind of school? How does he describe old kind of teachers?
Ans. Tommy describes old kind of school as a special building named school where all the children go there and study together. The students of same age used to sit together in a room and learn same subjects or things.
In the school the children were taught by a real teacher who was human. He used to teach children, ask questions and give them home work. The teacher also went to school to teach.
Ans. Margie hated school as she hated to do home work. She also found her mechanical teacher to be ugly. She hated it even more when geography sector was geared up too quick and she was doing worse in tests after tests which were given by her mechanical teacher.
Margie thought that old kind of school must be a fun as all the children went there laughing and shouting together and studied together. The students of same age used to sit together in a room and learn same subjects whereas Margie had to sit alone in her room and study all by herself. There was no one with her to help and discuss with. She felt it would be fun to discuss and study with the children of her age.
Video on the fun thay had
Video on the fun thay had