Schools have gone through quite a revolution over the years, particularly in the past couple of decades as computers have become more and more prevalent. If you stepped into a classroom from 30 years ago and then entered one today, they would look very different.
Technology has replaced a lot of the tools teachers used to rely on not too long ago. And new trends have changed some of the classes kids take and the work they do. Read on for the top things you won’t find in most schools anymore…
Card Catalogs Have Been Replaced By Computers
In the old days, students who needed to find a book in the library either asked a librarian or were forced to search through the card catalog. Everything was organized with the Dewey Decimal Classification system. Kids were taught how to use the system properly to get what they needed.
Schools haven’t relied on this type of organizational system in a long time. Instead, kids have it much easier. They simply type the author, book title, or subject into a computer to locate exactly what they need.
Cursive Writing Is No Longer Necessary
Many adults remember having lessons on how to properly write in cursive. Unfortunately, it is becoming a lost art. While some schools still include it in their curriculum, many others have abandoned it completely. It’s just not as necessary as it used to be.
Today, students do a lot of their work on computers. It’s been years since kids were required to submit essays that were handwritten, so cursive writing has started to drop off. Some cursive writing from the past can be difficult to decipher, so you can imagine what it looks like to today’s kids.
Children No Longer Need A Globe To Get A World View
This is an item that may still appear in certain classrooms around the United States. However, more modern schools rely on technology, such as Google Maps, to show kids the world. Globes, which can be pretty neat to look at, are simply not as useful these days.
It can be hard to crowd a group of 15 kids around one tiny globe to point out the location of Australia, Venezuela, Japan, or another country. Instead, kids can sit comfortably in their chairs and look at a screen to learn about geography.
Some Schools Still Have Chalkboards, But Most Have Been Replaced
Gone are the days when teachers threw chalk at their misbehaving students, and that’s because chalkboards aren’t very popular in schools anymore. Sadly, this means most kids won’t ever truly experience what it sounds like to hear nails on a chalkboard (yes, it’s a spine-tingling sound).
At the very least, modern schools have dry erase boards instead of chalkboards. There must be a lot less dust in the air, which is good for those who have allergies.
Projectors With Plastic Sheets Are Practically Antiques Now
If you’re of a certain age you probably remember watching your teacher write on a plastic sheet while the information was projected on the wall for everyone to see. This was a very popular method among math teachers. However, one of the problems was the ink would occasionally get smudged by a rogue shirt sleeve or other object.
Again, computers are responsible for eliminating the need for these types of devices. A powerpoint presentation is also much cleaner and easier to read.
Dedicated Computer Rooms/Labs Are Nonessential
When schools first started integrating computers into the curriculum, kids needed to learn how to use them. Teachers taught them how to turn computers off, save files, and do other basic functions. These day, kids grow up with technology, so they need much less assistance from teachers (and might even know more than them).
Since a lot of kids start using iPads as toddlers, they don’t require classes geared toward the operation of a computer. Instead, kids are learning more advanced things such as coding.
Library Checkout Cards Used To Show The Book’s Due Date
Just like the card catalog, library check-out cards are pretty much extinct in modern America. Gone are the days where you’d choose a library book and the librarian would stamp a due date on the inserted card so you knew when you had to bring it back. But it’s always neat to find a book that still has one of these cards inside the flap.
Library-goers today rely on computers when they check out a book. The librarian simply scans a bar code, and your information comes up. If you need a reminder of the due date, they will either email or text it you.
Few Kids Use Plastic Lunch Boxes Anymore
Years ago, students used to bring their lunches to school in brown paper bags. Eventually, kids started bringing metal lunch boxes to school touting their favorite characters, such as the Six Million Dollar Man, Scooby-Doo, Evel Knievel, and the Fonz. These boxes were eventually replaced by plastic ones.
But school lunch is continually evolving. If kids elect to bring it instead of buying something from the cafeteria, they usually carry a soft lunch box now.
Traditional Desks Have Given Way To Tables
If you’re over a certain age, you remember going to elementary school, middle school, and high school and sitting at a single desk with a chair. If you were lucky, your chair had a shelf underneath it where you could place your books. Sometimes the chair was attached to the desk and sometimes it wasn’t.
Modern classes look a little different. Many of them have replaced desks with tables so students can sit together in groups and work on projects with each other.
AV Carts Equaled Movie Time
Back in the day, it was truly exciting when you saw your teacher or an assistant come into your classroom with a rolling AV cart. This contraption included a television and typically a VCR on a shelf underneath it. You knew it was movie time, and you could drift away or simply shut your eyes while the lights were off.
Now teachers use SMART boards or other types of projectors to show films to their students. Often this technology is already integrated into the classroom.
Pull-Down Classroom Maps No Longer Take Up Wall Space
Pull-down maps used to be a standard feature in many classrooms. Whether it was a map of the United States or the world, you could learn about the capitals, world history, or which countries spoke Spanish. These tools, like the globe, have since been replaced with computer models.
Instead of squinting their eyes to see where the teacher is pointing, kids today can zoom in to particular areas of the world to get a closer look at the subject matter.
You Won’t Find Books Covered In Brown Paper Grocery Bags
At the beginning of the school year, teachers handed out textbooks to the kids and instructed them to take very good care of them. This meant covering them in brown craft paper or paper grocery bags with help from mom and dad. Well, kids no longer do this, and that’s only partially because most grocery bags these days are plastic.
And if you go way back, some kids used to carry their books to school using a book strap instead of a book bag or backpack. But there are just too many things to carry today, including laptops, cell phones, and other items, to use a simple strap.
Old-Fashioned Crank Pencil Sharpeners Are Few And Far Between
Yes, children still use pencils, but they aren’t sharpening them like they used to. Gone are the wall- or desk-mounted pencil sharpeners that you had to crank to sharpen your good old Number 2 pencil. Some kids have no idea what a pain it was and how it could scrape your knuckles.
These types of pencil sharpeners have been replaced by electric or mechanical devices. The one downside is that they’re quite a bit louder. The plus side is that an electric sharpener is much faster.
Gym Class Uniforms Are Becoming Increasingly Less Common
While gym uniforms may still be standard in some private schools, they’ve largely disappeared from public schools. Kids no longer have to change into a matching set of shirts and shorts before leaving the locker room to play volleyball, basketball, or to do sprints.
Kids, for the most part, are allowed to wear their own versions of fitness gear. They’re not required to look exactly the same with their school’s logo stamped on their backs. But we’re sure the punishment is still the same if they forget to bring a change of clothing to class.
Home Economics Class Is Simply Outdated
Not too many years ago, kids were required to take a home economics class. While it was initially geared toward girls, boys also took the class in some schools. Children learned how to cook, sew, and perform other tasks related to homemaking. In the ’90s, some schools switched the name to “Family and Consumer Services” to make it less gender-specific and more appealing to everyone.
However, many schools no longer offer the class at all. Perhaps kids are expected to learn these life skills at home or maybe it’s simply not as important as other courses.
Shop Class Can’t Compete With 3D Printing
The counter to home economics was shop class, which taught kids a variety of vocational skills from basic electrical work to woodworking. Both boys and girls took advantage of the class, which included skills used by builders, plumbers, engineers, and more.
However, the focus on standardized test scores versus life skills has made shop class less prevalent in many schools these days. Instead, classes involving 3D printing have sprung up in its place. Hopefully, kids are learning how to use a hammer, wrench, and other tools from their parents instead.
Kids Use Foam Instead Of Hard Rubber Balls To Play Dodgeball
There are those who love dodgeball and those who hate it. There is always that sadistic kid or two who takes a lot of pleasure in throwing the ball as hard as they can to induce as much pain as possible. This was easier to do in the good old days when the balls were rubber.
Gym classes today are much kinder to students. Rubber balls have largely been replaced with foam balls, which are much softer and don’t hurt nearly as much.
Libraries With Just Books? Unheard Of These Days
It used to be that you would go to the library to find a book. You would use the card catalog, and an employee would stamp the book’s check-out card with a due date. While you can still find loads of books at the school library, that’s not all that you can do when you visit.
Today, you can take a variety of classes at the library and learn how to use computer software. You can also make websites, videos, or produce other types of media. Libraries still provide silent areas, but they have also expanded to provide spaces for collaborative learning.
Religious Freedom Has Displaced Morning Prayer
We’re going a little farther back in time with this one. Years ago, morning prayer was standard practice in many schools. Sometimes the school prepared a particular prayer for the classes, and other times a teacher would select a prayer he or she particularly liked. Every morning, kids would bow their heads in reverence.
This activity, which was very common in Catholic schools, is no longer part of the school day. Today’s kids come from different backgrounds, and Americans are more open to religious freedom.
Baton Twirling Class Used To Be Very Popular
Believe it or not, baton twirling used to be pretty popular at schools, especially among girls. Children used to exhibit their skills at band performances, at school games, and during parades. While it’s not an Olympic sport, there are several competitions held throughout the year even today.
While a few schools still offer the extracurricular activity, kids typically have to seek out a private dance/gymnastics studio to learn the skill. Since there are so many other (more popular) sports to do instead, baton twirling simply isn’t the top choice.