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UK schools to swap analog clocks with digital so kids can tell time

Digital and analog clocks. (Handige Harry/WikiMedia Commons)
May 04, 2018

It is becoming more common in Great Britain to see digital clocks in schools instead of analog clocks, because many students can’t tell time on an analog clock, the Washington Post recently reported.

Children are so used to telling time on their phones, computers or other devices, which are delivered digitally, that they have no idea how to correctly read an analog clock.

The clocks are being replaced around the schools, but particularly where the students take exams.

“They [students] 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. … Schools will inevitably be doing their best to make young children feel as relaxed as [they] 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,” Malcolm Trobe, deputy general secretary at the Association of School and College Leaders, told the Telegraph.

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A 2017 survey in Oklahoma City found that only 1 in 10 children ages 6 to 12 owned a watch, and only 1 in 5 could read the analog versions.