Shreya Jain, Subject Matter Expert at Edumarz
The chapter- The fun they had was written by Isaac Asimov. The story focuses on future classrooms where classes are conducted virtually. The classes would be taken by a mechanical teacher rather than a human teacher. The story portrays two children named Margie and Tommy. Both of them attend virtual classes given by the mechanical teacher and they don’t know what real books look like. On 17th May in the year 2157, Margie mentioned in his diary how Tommy found a real book. The old book consisted of stories of schools. Margie’s grandfather once informed her that when he was a little boy, his old grandfather told him that all the books were printed on paper in those days rather than these E-books. Margie and Tommy started turning the pages of the crumpled and yellow book to find out more about those days. Both found it funny to read the book as the words stood still at one place instead of moving from one place to another just like the way they see on their computer screens. Tommy thinks that it’s a complete waste to read a book and throw it away once it gets completed. He thinks that their television screens can store a million books and they could store more without erasing or throwing them away. Soon, they started talking about the ancient schools in the book where human beings were the actual teachers rather than the mechanical teachers. Margie although hated the schools but she is astonished to know that actual human beings taught children at schools as Margie has always seen robots teaching her at school. Margie doesn’t like her school as her mechanical teacher always gave her a lot of homework to complete. Once upon a time, Margie’s mother called the county inspector to fix the mechanical teacher from which Margie took her virtual classes. He inspected and fixed the mechanical teacher putting the black screen together on which all the lessons were displayed and the questions were asked. Margie got very disappointed about it getting fixed so soon as she taught now again she has to put her homework and test sheets into it. As both the children continued reading the book, Margie’s mother called her to attend her classes. While her mechanical teacher is teaching her fractions, she is lost thinking about how her grandparents had fun in their schools. Schools of that age were located at a particular building and all the kids of the same age used to study together. She imagines kids from different neighborhood areas coming together and attending school happily. Thus, Margie is fascinated by the fun the kids had centuries ago when they went to a school with physical existence.