Schools are removing analog clocks from exam rooms because kids can’t read them

April 1, 2019 Stories

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Modern technology is definitely part of almost all our daily activities. Whether you do your leisure activities, doing homework assignments or conducting a scientific research, digital technology is inseparable component. This made us dependent on sophisticated gadgets and devices. We don’t talk about adults only, but about children as well.

This dependence on digital technology affected even minor things, like telling the time for instance. This problem is explained by Malcolm Trobe, deputy general secretary at the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL). According to him and ASCL, students have difficulties using analogue clocks since they are accustomed to using the digital clocks instead. This is particularly true for students under 18.

This problem, made schools considering to remove the analogue clocks from the classrooms and installing digital clocks instead. Regarding this, Trobe says:

“The current generation aren’t as good at reading the traditional clock face as older generations.”

He adds:

“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 justifies this switch from analogue to digital clocks because of the stress factor. Since students can tell the time more easily using the digital clock, they know, for instance, how much time is reserved for a test. This decreases the stress level of the students.

He elaborates:

“You don’t want them to put their hand up to ask how much time is left. Schools will inevitably be doing their best to make young children feel as relaxed as the 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.” 

Similar opinion has Stephanie Keenan, head of English at Ruislip High School in north-west London. Keenan told The Telegraph that her school is also planning to remove the analogue clocks. On her side is Cheryl Quin, a head of department at Cockermouth School and chair of the West Cumbria Network.

Teaching to read clocks is part of the school curriculum. However, it appears that students do not understand this quite well. Trobe explains:

“It may be a little sad if youngsters coming through aren’t able to tell the time on clock faces.”

He also adds:

“One hopes that we will be teaching youngsters to read clocks, however we can see the benefit of digital clocks in exam rooms.” 

Sally Payne, the head paediatric occupational therapist at the Heart of England foundation NHS Trust, goes even further. According to her, students have problems with proper holding of writing tools as well. She points out that all these things are as a direct result of the overdepandence on technology. She explains:

“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.”

“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.” 
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