Leave your masks on please

London, 1812. A group of industrialists, politicians and religious leaders meet to discuss how they might use technology in the educmation of boys and girls.

These men decided no matter what was to be done in the future, special equipment would be needed for teachers. They erected a building on land rented by the Earl of Stamford and Warrington and model-classes were established made largely from children of the local workhouses.

Over decades these teacher oxygen-masks were updated to ensure teachers maintained ‘a clarity of thought and process’.

In many districts, special research labs developed oxygen-masks that only worked in their particular factories.

Marginal additions were made over the next hundred years. Bi-lateral blinkers shielded teachers from looking in more than one direction and small speakers allowed better reception of dispatches from the descendants of the educational authorities directly. They even created special filters to prevent outside noise distracting them from their duty.

Conversely, there was very little concern for the boys and girls that passed though this environment beyond the requirements needed to produce workers and select the future managers. There was always a new batch of children, so changes to the design could be considered – even though the occasional politician, industrialist or cleric might challenge it in the short term, they were, by now – resilient to change.

A few parents took it upon themselves to start a campaign to raise awareness and money to buy children their own oxygen masks. When this failed, some radical parents started providing them as best they could afford to their children directly. Almost immediately it was recognized that these masks had earphones too, but also a device called a microphone (a modification the children made). Unbelievably, children began talking to each other children – outside the factory – which made it difficult for the teacher to hear them and for them to hear the teacher. Education began to falter. Something had to be done.

In a landmark decision, based on a little known clause in the Education Act of 1823, the leaders found clear ‘evidence’ from studies done at the time that ‘children simply had no business’ wearing the masks.

It was decided to evoke this ‘evidence’ and ban student-oxygen-masks from the classroom.

To ensure radical parents didn’t cause a fuss, it was decided to revert much of the contemporary theories and policies created in subsequent years, back to the curriculum and methods of 1823. In a public address, the Minister for Educational Enforcment said “Your leaders have found clear evidence that this is simply much better, now go back to work quietly”.

The teachers however we never given microphones (not that they every really had chance to look closely at them), and it was explained how they didn’t need them – as ‘children can be so silly sometimes’. The teachers drew a deeply satisfying breath from their masks and continued their busy lives.

Periodic announcements warned not to take their masks. A side-effect of this petulant moment in history, had been a nasty toxic odorous virus, called meta-verse influenza which could be transmitted from the mouths of children. It would pass, but for now it was better to keep them on at all times.

Dio, Ronnie James (2010) ‘The revised history of the Metaverse’, Journal of Edumaction, First Edition, pp666