News Flash -‘Time’ to say Good Bye to Analog Time?

Posted on: April 5, 2011

“Time” to say good bye to analog time?

                The new math! The current focus is on understanding and explaining not simply doing.  Once named cheat machines, calculators are now a welcome part of any math class. There are even software programs dedicated to the most basic of math concepts.  Technology has infiltrated and changed so many areas of ours and our children’s lives perhaps we should be thinking not only of new curriculum but of our “new world” as well.

                In our connected world that we live in today, many of our students (especially at the upper grades) and adults in our world live in constant contact with their phone, IPOD, monitor, etc. all vividly displaying the time  in a digital format. My question is this? Should we bother to still teach students how to read analog time?

                Think of all of the technology you access in a day…IPOD, watch, cell phone, TV, monitor, laptop, digital camera and any other number of things.  How many of these devices display the time in digital format?  If we are focussed on using our teaching time to explore and illustrate the best, most valuable skills and information; Do we really need to even teach analog time anymore?  I know, I know, it seems wrong to even ask such a question!  I myself immediately think; Yes! Of course we have to teach analog clock reading. What a great disadvantage our students will be at if they don’t have this skill. But when I delve a little deeper into this thought I’m no longer convinced of the analog clocks importance.

                When are these students, young people, and later adults ever going to be without access to a digital clock? Sure my cell phone has the ability to display the time in analog but I very much have to ask it to do so, digital is the default. And yes, there is an analog clock in my classroom but with my cell phone, TV (no longer analog itself, of course!) and 4 computers nearby, I would certainly be able to find the time even if I couldn’t read an analog clock. In preparing our students for a digitally sophisticated future of unknowns, if we have the ability to let a machine do the work for us (in this case the telling time), why not? Why waste valuable learning / teaching time on an antiquated topic? The sun dial had its heyday and then we developed more precise and reliable technology. Is it  now the analog clocks time? Are times tables really the be all and end all? Or is knowing what makes sense and how to use a calculator/ program more efficient?  Does every child absolutely need to know how to do and read cursive writing? It’s a nice idea but… our world now functions from a keyboard, not a feather topped calligraphy pen! Why do we value the immediate response of yes we need to teach our students these traditional topics so much? Is it really worth our valuable learning time or is it simply us (the educators and decision makers) sentimentally thinking that’s the way it’s always been so that’s the way it should be ?

Food for thought!! Enjoy the taste of debate!





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