Schools in the UK are making a move to remove analogue clocks from examination halls and replacing them with digital versions after students sitting for their GCSE and A-level examinations complained that they were struggling to read the correct time on an analogue clock.
The Deputy General Secretary at the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), Mr Malcom Trobe, said that youngsters nowadays have become accustomed to using digital devices. He said that: “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.”
He added that teachers want students to feel as relaxed as possible during the examinations. Thus, if having a traditional clock in the room becomes a cause of unnecessary stress, schools will make the move to remove them and make everything as “easy and straightforward as possible” for students during their exams.
This trend of youngsters being too reliant on everything digital, is similarly echoed in a study by a senior paediatric doctor who warned that children are increasingly finding it hard to hold pens and pencils because of excessive use of technology. Dr Sally Payne, said that children need plenty of opportunities to develop the muscle skills needed to grip a pencil but nowadays, are more exposed to an iPad instead of engaging in muscle-building exercises such as building blocks, or pulling toys and ropes. Hence, they are “not developing the underlying foundation skills they need to grip and hold a pencil”.
Reading and reflecting on this article gives rise to mixed feelings. Telling time on an analogue device was as intrinsic as learning the alphabet. However, digitisation is really changing some fundamental aspects of life that is once so familiar to us. The younger generation is growing up in a highly digitised world which means that we, educators, have to be in sync with the times. We have to be able to adapt our teaching methods accordingly even if we hold some traditions dear to heart.
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