The final, and perhaps the most serious doubt one might have about employing MPC technology is schools is this: given that a school would have to raise substantial funds to afford even a single MPC system, surely each pupil would have so little access to it that it could not possibly provide a worthwhile benefit to them.
To answer this, it is important to remember that there are at least two quite different ways in which an MPC system can be employed in a school.
Firstly, it can be used by teachers as another presentation tool. In this role, it is comparable to, say, a video tape presentation, and benefits a whole class at a time; but in the hands of a skilled teacher it is, of course, a far superior presentation technology, because it offers all the advantages of interactivity, cross referencing, and high speed access, associated with multimedia technology.
Secondly, an MPC system can be used for private study by individuals or small groups of pupils. In this mode, the system is more comparable to a school library - but with the advantage that, because the technology is so much more attractive (even fun!) for the pupils, they are much more likely to use it.
It is quite true, of course, that only a small fraction of the total school population could feasibly have significant access to, say, a single MPC system on this basis. But the benefit could still be substantial.
There are two groups of pupils who could particularly benefit - those on either extreme of the ability spectrum. The most able pupils will naturally find, in MPC, a tool which allows them to explore well beyond the core curriculum, and to participate in more advanced academic activities: for such pupils, the MPC system will offer the same advantages that a comprehensive school library always offered, but multiplied many times over. But, in my view, the most profound benefit of multimedia technology may well be for those pupils at the less able end of the ability range. These are pupils who particularly need additional individual tuition, which hard-worked teachers have difficulty in providing. MPC materials are not in any sense a replacement for remedial teaching; but if they are carefully used under the direction of an experienced teacher, then I believe that they may naturally provide the kind of stimulating, interactive, individual, learning environment that can substantially amplify the efforts of the teacher, and provide a much improved educational outcome for the pupil.
In conclusion then: electronic publishing is not a panacea for educational ills; it is not a magic wand or a silver bullet; but it is a robust and established new technology with definite, tangible, advantages over all previous forms of publishing. It will certainly not replace all other media, but in certain sectors - education perhaps above all others - it will allow more effective communication than ever before. Electronic books are here to stay.