Kindercomps
Wow, the future of learning in the 21st century will be "kindercomps". These are actually becoming real, and its astonishing. Here is an excellent example of this
HERE

The kindercomp is a companion, babysitter, and constant teacher. As soon as it is "attached" to a child, it begins to develop teaching methods suited for him alone. For an infant or toddler, it will offer games and stories designed to develop coordination and cognitive skills. Older children will learn literacy and numeracy from their kindercomps, then the basics of history, literature, and the sciences. Meanwhile, the kindercomp provides companionship when needed, helps the parents to teach good social behavior, and monitors the child's physical well-being.

The Kindercomp Generation
From time to time, the kindercomp's AI will be transferred into new cybershells, each one suitable for an older child. Finally, the AI is likely to be the operating system for the adolescent's first wearable assistant or virtual interface implant. By this time, AI and child have grown up together and are effective partners in life. The relationship between an adult and his childhood AI companion is often more intimate than any he forms with other human beings. Such relationships are especially common among the Transhuman Generation (p. 29), the first for whom kindercomps were cheap and effective enough to be found in almost every home in the Fifth Wave nations.

The widespread use of kindercomps (along with other technologies designed to help nurture and teach children) has effectively put an end to state-sponsored education in the Fifth Wave societies. Children are no longer warehoused during the day in state-run schools. Instead, they remain in their own homes, receiving personal attention from their parents and the household appliances. The state's remaining role is to enforce minimal standards in childhood education. How this is done varies from country to country; most nations require annual or semi-annual tests of scholastic accomplishment for all children, with state assistance offered to children who seem to be falling behind.

Naturally, the kindercomp is no substitute for parental attention or social interaction with a child's peers. Most parents try to interact with their children as much as possible, and make certain they have plenty of opportunity for structured play with others. A few parents rely too much on their children's kindercomps, leading to later psychological and social problems.

Higher Education
At some point, the child has mastered all the basic skills and is ready to operate in the wider world. Sometime between the ages of 15 and 19, he will begin his higher education. Aside from radical Isolates and other fringers, the vast majority of people in the Fifth Wave societies participate in university-level education for at least a few years.

In the 20th century, education as designed to prepare people for life Second Wave civilization. Children learned the basic skills needed to work on a factory floor: literacy, arithmetic, punctuality, discipline, and teamwork. They also learned the dominant ideology of their nation, to which they would be expected to conform. Schools were themselves organized assembly-line factories, accepting small children as raw material delivering finished citizen-laborers. Learning was a job, and for many children it was a tedious and difficult job.


Today, education is far more critical than it was in 2000. Children must learn much more complex technical skills. Meanwhile, instead of absorbing ideology, they must learn to recognize and process the rich stew of of memes they will be exposed to as adults. The load on the educational system would be intolerable if Industrial Era methods were still use. Instead, modern education relies on making the learning process as efficient and as unconscious as possible. Children no longer feel obligated to learn. Instead, they learn as naturally as they breathe or play, their natural curiosity by computerized toys and entertainment media.


Adults also have access to unconscious training, usually delivered similar entertainment media. For example, someone wishing to can order a variety of relevant InVids or slinkies, allowing him experience period dramas rich in authentic detail. The concept of unconscious education is regarded with suspicion by those who fear that it will expose them (or their children) to undesirable memes. This phenomenon dates back to the 20th century, when some parents "home schooled" their children or sent them to specialized private schools in order to protect them from unwanted memes. There is some reason for concern – for example, there have been scandals involving kinder-comp manufacterers who programed their products with specific idealogical biases. Parents who worry about this usually monitor their children's learning activities closely, or buy material for them from education vendors who specialize in certain memetic constructs.
 

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