Traditional education confines itself to the first and second generations of media - talk-and-chalk. Most discussion within education about the third generation concerns the detrimental effect of television. The criticism of television is largely based on the fact that the child is a passive consumer. Recent innovations in video technology have, however, resulted in what one of my students, Nathalie D'Souza, describes as the revolt of the couch potato. Four tools - two in general use already and two starting their penetration - have served as empowering devices to facilitate this revolt:

Remote control.
This enabling device permits you to switch channels without getting off your couch. Thus you can more easily browse, graze, as well as eat - the three major styles of acquiring information. You do not have to watch commercials but can simply switch channels until they are over. You are however still confined to the programs which happen to be currently on the air.

Videocassette Recorder.
The videocassette recorder (VCR) permits you to watch what you want to watch when you want to watch it. Each of the buttons on the VCR can be identified with some aspect of Button Power, as indicated in Figure 5. Button power has become such an intrinsic part of our daily lives that the 3-year-old child of a friend of mine would say, when he wanted anything, Press the button, Daddy!

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