THE VISION I HAVE PRESENTED is of a particular computer culture, a mathetic one, that is, one that helps us not only to learn but to learn about learning. I have shown how this culture can humanize learning by permitting more personal, less alienating relationships with knowledge and have given some examples of how it can improve relationships with other people encountered in the learning process: fellow students and teachers. But I have made only passing remarks about the social context in which this learning might take place. It is time to face (though I cannot answer) a question that must be in many readers' minds: Will this context be school?
The suggestion that there might come a day when schools no longer exist elicits strong response from many people. There are many obstacles to thinking clearly about a world without schools. Some are highly personal. Most of us spent a larger fraction of our lives going to school than we care to think about. For example, I am over fifty and yet the number of my postschool years has barely caught up with my preschool and school years. The concept of a world without school is highly dissonant with out experiences of our own lives. Other obstacles are more conceptual. One cannot define such a world negatively, that is by simply removing school and putting nothing in its place. Doing so leaves a thought vacuum that the mind has to fill one way or another, often with vague but