Images. It is my son's first day at school. When he comes home, I greet him warmly and ask: 'Well, what did you learn today?' 'Not much,' he says glumly. 'I have to go back again tomorrow.' Images. I am out the front of my house when a little kid wanders by. He is no more than eight years old, it is 9.30am and he is clearly dawdling. 'Off to school?' I ask brightly. 'Yeah,' he mutters as if it is an execution he faces. 'Don't you like school?' I say in surprise. 'Nah,' he says. 'Nah, I hate school.' He has as many years of prison ahead. Images. I am talking to a young teenager. She attends a high-achieving private girls' school. She leaves home at 7am and gets back after 6pm. During the day she learns Japanese and French, maths and music. This is followed by three hours homework every night of the week. We discuss life at the college when suddenly she says, 'I hate it, you know.' And, with even greater intensity than the eight-year-old: 'I hate it.' Images. I am at a rural secondary college. It is early morning but already a class of students has made contact via a computer video link with another group of youngsters in New York. These enthusiastic teenagers belong to a global network of schools, all linked electronically. Swapping ideas, facts, stories, they garner more knowledge in a day than a year of history and geography lessons. Images. I visit a dozen primary schools in metropolitan and rural Australia. In each, children as young as five are tapping away at computer terminals. They use them, not only as the equivalent of their predecessors' pencils, but as tutors, as devices to communicate with kids on the other side of the world, as powerful tools to devise new techniques for tackling old problems, even as operators of robot toys. Their classrooms have abandoned traditional chalk and talk. Here the teacher has become facilitator and friend, with the computer a tireless assistant. Hello Hal. One final image. Nick heads the training department in a big automotive factory. He is studying for a degree in business management. Using a laptop he can make contact with the university computer any time of day or night. Nick has already completed a certificate and associate diploma course through computer-based instruction. With these qualifications, he crossed to the degree programme at the university. He will graduate without ever attending a lecture. Students as young as 15 are now studying university subjects through Australia's 'open university'. The Open Learning Agency that runs the project is backed by a dozen different universities. Every industry around the world, every business, every profession has been affected by the technology, yet most schools have still to acknowledge the earthquake. Writer Arthur Koestler said that is a measure of human inertia. In The Sleepwalkers, Koestler wrote this was most clearly demonstrated by professionals with a vested interest in tradition - and in the monopoly of learning. 'The past went that-a-way,' the late Marshall McLuhan, once said. 'When faced with a totally new situation, we tend always to attach ourselves to the objects, to the flavour of the most recent past. We look at the present through a rear-view mirror. We march backwards into the future...' Yet change must occur in the way schools are run and the way students are taught. In a few far-sighted places, the upheaval has begun. It seems certain this will become a system-wide cyclone. That revolution has already radically altered the workplace. It is now profoundly modifying people's perceptions about life and learning. Virtual reality, interactive videodisks, multimedia, hypertexts ... you can't go home again. It is the business of the future to be dangerous, the English philosopher Alfred North Whitehead said. But, as McLuhan also declared, there is absolutely no inevitability as long as there is a willingness to contemplate what is happening. And that is where schools should be at. Then children might learn ways of controlling the future, rather than becoming its victims.