Guest post by Steven Baule, Superintendent at Muncie Community Schools, Indiana: Progress is wonderful as long as nothing changes, right? Recently, there has been some conversation about the disappearance of analog clocks. Slate commentator Rachelle Hampton responded online to a UK Telegraph article about removing analog clocks from UK schools as they cause angst for students who can’t use them to tell time. Some say: teach them how to read analog clocks. Others say, why bother? It sounds like a similar argument I discussed a year ago about cursive writing. I thought back to the days when I used an analog watch to determine direction. Today’s smartphone GPSs remove that need. Trekwarrior writes about other ways you can use an analog clock, such as using the hands from the watch for fishhooks in a survival situation. Not sure most of us will ever need to do that.
A UK Mirror article identified 20 skills that are dying out due to societal changes, including map reading and the use of a compass. How many students are still learning how to read a map in social studies or geography class? The same Mirror article identifies touch typing as another skill on the endangered list as computer interfaces become more naturalistic. Of course, we seem to have survived the general societal inability to understand a sundial and most of us no longer diagram sentences. Have you ever seen an eighth grade exam from the turn of the previous century? I like the 1912 Bullitt County, Kentucky Exam as it is documented and provides the answers.The game show Are you Smarter than a 5Grader reminds us that much of this information is lost after the exam is over. What do you remember from fifth grade? Try taking this online test here to see how much you remembered – and forgot.