Even a broken clock tells the correct time twice a day, so an old saying goes.
But today’s generation can’t even read an analog clock in the first place.
The issue has become so problematic that in Britain, schools have started replacing their analog clocks with digital ones, reports Inspire To Change. It’s a strange approach for a school to take. Instead of teaching how to read those clocks, they’re just removing the problematic items entirely.
The outlet reported, “In the UK, many educators are phasing out analog clocks in favor of digital ones. Students taking the GCSE and A-level exams were complaining that they couldn’t read the time. In order to make everything ‘as easy and straightforward as possible,’ they are making the switch to digital time reading.”
Stephanie Keenan, Head of English at Ruislip High School in northwest London (a city famous for its gargantuan clock), said teachers are “removing analog clocks from examination halls because teenagers are unable to tell the time.”
Students would often interrupt proctors to ask how much time was left because they couldn’t read the analog clocks. Replacing them with digital ones is expected to reduce interruptions.
Malcolm Trobe, deputy general secretary at the Association of School and College Leaders, points to the ubiquity of digital technology as the reason why new generations can’t read analog clocks.He told The Telegraph in 2018, “The current generation isn’t as good at reading the traditional clock face as older generations.
They are used to seeing a digital representation of time on their phone, on their computer.Nearly everything they’ve got is digital so youngsters are just exposed to time being given digitally everywhere. ”
Trobe also said that teachers don’t want the kids to be unnecessarily stressed during their exams.
“You don’t want them to put their hand up to ask how much time is left,” he said. “Schools will inevitably be doing their best to make young children feel as relaxed as they can be. There is actually a big advantage in using digital clocks in exam rooms because it is much less easy to mistake a time on a digital clock when you are working against time.”
To put it another way, students who are taking tests to measure their intelligence can’t even make use of something that has existed for several centuries. And schools are on board with that.
But the problem goes deeper than that. According to Sally Payne, a pediatric doctor, the excessive use of digital technology even negatively impacts the ability of students to hold a pencil, reports The Telegraph.
“To be able to grip a pencil and move it, you need strong control of the fine muscles in your fingers. Children need lots of opportunity to develop those skills,” she said. “It’s easier to give a child an iPad than encouraging them to do muscle-building play such as building blocks, cutting and sticking, or pulling toys and ropes. Because of this, they’re not developing the underlying foundation skills they need to grip and hold a pencil.”
The idea of replacing analog clocks with digital ones has started to take root in the United States but so far, school curriculum have not changed.
“In 2014, an Arizona teacher suggested that it may be time to retire the analog clock,” said the Inspire To Change report. “However, currently United States schools are still keeping analog clocks. Learning to read the hands of a clock is part of the core curriculum in many schools.”
Carol Burris, executive director of the advocacy Network for Public Education, told USA Today that knowing how to read analog time is beneficial for children due to the mathematics involved.“The skills that you need to read an analog clock are skills that kids when they’re young, begin to learn,” she said.
“There’s a lot of very complex mathematical manipulations that are involved in being able to tell time with an analog clock.It takes some of the math skills students are learning and gives them an important real-world context. ”
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