Microsoft’s well-known slogan ”where do you want to go today?“ gives promises of unlimited mobility controlled only by the person on the keyboard. I will be looking into instances, when this hype rhetoric (which bypasses the basic question that the will ”go somewhere today” is limited by such mundane socio-economic factors as access and bandwidth) reappears in political discourses, especially in educational politics. In these discourses Internet and digital cultures are represented as promises and challenges of tomorrow, and investing in tech as a meaningful act in itself – literally, an investment in the future.
The Finnish Ministry of Education has a very ambitious program of having all comprehensive schools wired and extensively equipped with computers by the year 2000. Secretary of Education, Olli-Pekka Heinonen, has repeatedly characterized this as an important shift towards information society, a tomorrow land made true with the help of computer technology and Internet, and inhabited by the children of today. What is actually done with the machines and Net connections in the everyday school practices, however, remains a mystery to all, as there is yet no regulation, or functioning schemes concerning this. One is led to think that children are learning to surf, especially since Heinonen is constantly shown on television interviews in this “favorite pastime of his”: In the media discussions concerning the Net and education focus solely on technology, not on its uses, impacts, or implications.
- Susanna Paasonen (Finland) is finishing her M.A.for Cinema and television studies department, University of Turku, Finland. She does research and criticism in media, gender, and politics, and is currently working on Ground, a ‘zine on visual culture. Susanna works and lives in Helsinki.
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