The Fun They Had by Isaac Asimov

Summary: The Fun They Had by Isaac Asimov is a story where Tommy finds a book and together with Margie, they compare and contrast their present school with school from the past


Margie Jones - 11 year old who's fascinated by the book on school that was printed on paper

Tommy - 13 year old who finds the book about the "old kind of school"

County Inspector - evaluates, adjusts and fixes "mechanical teachers"

Mrs. Jones - Margie's mother

Section 1:

  • Tommy finds a "real book" that had been "printed on paper"
  • According to Margie's grandfather's grandfather all stories were printed on paper
  • Tommy thought it was a waste to have a book printed on paper and he also thought that it was to be thrown away when it was finished being read
  • Tommy thought tv screens were better
  • The "real book" was found in Tommy's attic and was about school
  • Margie hated school and didn't understand why someone would write about school
  • Margie was having problems with learning geography from her "mechanical teacher" so the "mechanical teacher" was rebuilt by the county inspector who was nice
  • Margie hated doing her homework which had to be written in punch code and turning it into slot in the "mechanical teacher"
  • The "mechanical teacher" graded her home work in "no time"
  • The county inspector said the "geography sector" was too fast and that her progress was actually quite "satisfactory"
  • Margie had hoped that he "mechanical teacher" would be taken away like Tommy's was because its "history sector" went blank
  • Margie asked tommy why anyone would write about school and Tommy said with "superior eyes" that it was a school from "centuries" ago
  • Margie was surprised to hear that back in the olden days a "man" would be the teacher
  • Margie was surprised to hear Tommy say that his father knew more than his "teacher" which Margie thought was impossible
  • Margie said that she wouldn't want a stranger teaching her in her house
  • Tommy said that teachers didn't live in a house and that kids went to a "special building" to learn the same thing if they were the same age
  • Margie said that her mother said that each "teacher" had to be fitted to each child's mind
  • Tommy said that Margie didn't have to read the book if she didn't want to
  • Margie wanted to read the old book and what it had to say about "those funny schools"
  • When Margie's "Mamma" told he that it was both time for Tommy and Margie to go to school, Margie asked if she could read the book with him after school and Tommy said that may be she could
  • The "schoolroom" was next to Margie's bedroom and except for Saturday and Sunday was on at the same time every day
  • Margie's "Mamma" said "little girls learned better if they learned at regular hours"
  • The "teacher" asked for Margie's homework and she worked on fractions
  • Margie thought about the olden days of schooling where everyone started and ended school together, talked about homework together and played together
  • Margie thought about a time when teachers were people
  • Margie thought that the kids loved being in the "old days" and how they must have had fun

Other Notes:

  • The author may believe that isolated, subject concentrated teaching may be the way of the future
  • Margie believes that classroom teaching of the past is fun probably because of the human interaction that is involved throughout the day
  • The interaction between student and "teacher" in the future presented here is highly unlikely since punch hole technology is highly outdated
  • Future schooling will probably have even more social interaction and voice activated information exchange between student and "mechanical teacher" if that's the way the future goes because it is just so much more efficient

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