For the past 25 years, digital technology has been heralded as a means of radically transforming education. Yet despite massive expenditure on the part of government and intensive promotion by industry, the technological revolution in schools has failed to materialize.Meanwhile, outside school, children are living digital childhoods, immersed in a complex multi-media environment; but they are also being aggresively targeted as consumers. We are witnessing a widening gap between the culture of the school and the culture of children's lives outside school. Bridging this gap will require more than superficial attempts to combine education and entertainment, or inflated technological rhetoric.In this professorial lecture, David Buckingham argues that the school should take a much more proactive role, providing both critical perspectives on media technology and creative opportunities to use it. Media literacy, he argues, should be seen as a core curriculum entitlement, and an indispensable requirement of modern life.