Charlie Buttrey

May 14, 2018

I read recently that British schools are replacing traditional analog clocks (you know, like the one you see on Big Ben) with digital ones, since schoolchildren can’t read analog clocks.

Some people have responded with alarm, arguing that OF COURSE schoolchildren should be taught to tell time using an analog clock. But is that a valuable use of classroom time?

When I was in high school, my chemistry teacher REFUSED to let us use one of those new-fangled calculators.  Instead, she required that we use a slide rule.  I am not making that up.

We no longer teach children how to use slide rules or, for that matter, how to send a personal letter through the U.S. mails. The technology is changing, and there’s no reason to be wedded to an irrelevant past. When was the last time you sent (or received) a telegram? Or used a payphone? Or put water in your car battery?

There are five clocks in my kitchen (there’s a radio on the refrigerator, and there are clocks on the microwave and on the two ovens, as well as the traditional wall clock). Only one is analog.

One day, there will no longer be analog clocks. Get over it.

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