41 Things You Learned In School That Your Students and Children Won’t

1.      Learn to type on a typewriter

Kids today text and type at a speed that is astonishing. Some text faster with their thumbs than anyone who learned to use a typewriter could. Although obsolete, the typewriter lessons come in handy when parents and teachers need to learn computer skills. Keyboards replaced the typewriter.

2.      Research with encyclopedias

Research meant finding the correct volume in the book set of encyclopedias. Today kids Google search by typing in the relevant keywords. Scanning is as popular as it was years ago. Students used to scan printed encyclopedia pages as opposed to scanning online content.

3.      Didn’t notice there’s no Wi-Fi or internet

Internet wasn’t used to teach students. If the school didn’t have wi-fi, nobody would’ve noticed. Today limited internet access deprives students and teachers of valuable technology tools that could enhance the teaching and learning experiences.

4.      Weekly sports periods

A sports class once a week has been replaced with the need for daily exercise for a healthy and energetic body.

5.      Outdated computer rooms

Students were taken to the computer room once a week to practice typing skills on outdated computers. Technology has become an integral part of students’ daily lives. Tablets, Chromebooks, and computers have moved into the classrooms. Typing has become a basic skill in using tablets and computers during lessons.

6.      Learning limited to the classroom

Gone are the days where learning is limited to the textbooks and what the teacher teaches students within the four walls of a classroom. The Internet has opened the whole world to students and teachers.

7.      Learning history and geography from textbooks

Learning history and geography could be tedious except if the teacher was passionate about their topic. Pictures in textbooks and posters had to suffice in learning about faraway places. Virtual tours, today, take students anywhere in the world and in any era while sitting in the classroom.

8.      Banning phones and tablets

Students didn’t have mobile phones that they could take to school. The mobile era posed another problem where text and phone calls disrupted the classroom and usage was banned during the classroom. No longer are tablets and phones used for personal calls, games and social media only; it has become an important teaching tool.

9.      Unhealthy cafeteria food

Gone are the days of unhealthy cafeteria food. Nutrition and healthy eating habits have influenced the food in school cafeterias too.

10.  Traditional libraries

Libraries contained aisles of bookshelves filled with books; some libraries had chess tables too. Students could take out books at the school library or use reference books and make notes in the library. Libraries have expanded to embracing technology including access to the internet, video editing facilities, and digital libraries for research.

11.  Overhead projector for visual aids

No longer do students create funny shadows on the wall when placing their hand under the light of the overhead projector. Teachers used overhead projectors to display diagrams, maps, fact sheets, and other visual aids. Overhead projectors were replaced by USB-ready projectors and smart boards.

12.  AV carts with the video machine


An AV cart pushed into a classroom created a buzz of excitement because it meant watching ‘The Magic School Bus’. For those of you that don’t know, that was  a video story series where the fictional teacher took students on field trips. Virtual tour field trips have replaced the videos and kids still buzzing with excitement. Don’t forget the tube TV that weighed 150 lbs!

13.  Card catalogs

Dr. Marcus Gossler [CC BY-SA 3.0],
Libraries use the Dewey Decimal System to classify books in the classic card catalogs. For students to know if a certain book was in the library or to search for a topic, students had to know how the Dewey Decimal System card catalogs worked. Sometimes they were assisted by a librarian but often they had to find relevant books by themselves. Today librarians search on the computer system for a specific book or topic.

14.  Pluto is a planet

Students were taught there are nine planets in our solar system. Pluto was the ninth planet until it was degraded to a dwarf planet in 2006 by the IAU (International Astronomical Unit). Now our solar system has 8 planets.

15.  Periodic table with new elements

The 150th anniversary of the periodic table in 2019, celebrates a different periodic table than 20 years ago. It now has 118 elements after the addition in 2016 of four elements with atomic numbers; 113 (Nihonium), 115 (Moskovi), 117 (Tenessin), and 118 (Organeson). The atomic weights of bromine and magnesium have also changed.

16.  Floppy disk to store data

The 3.5-inch square floppy disk that stored data from a computer doesn’t contain enough storage space for one high-resolution photograph or song. A USB stick can store 1,000 times more than a floppy disk can. Wireless and broadband internet connections are replacing the need for small-scale removable external storage devices.

17.  Nails, erasers, and chalkboards

Whether by accident or on purpose the sound of a nail on a chalkboard cringed your insides. SMART boards replaced the chalkboards and the chalk dust clouds created when clapping the chalkboard eraser to clean it.

18.  Scales and balances

Working out the right weights needed to balance the scales wasn’t always easy. Balancing weights on a digital scale also requires calculations but now weights are added by clicking buttons instead of physical adding the weights.

19.  Diamonds are the hardest substance

Thx to: https://instoremag.com/newly-discovered-gemstone-is-harder-than-diamond/

New discoveries challenge diamonds as being the hardest substance. In 2009 it was claimed that the unstable wurtzite boron nitride had 18% more resists indention than diamonds and lonsdaleite 58% more resilience.

On January 7, 2019, carmeltazite was officially added to the list of minerals. Density tests showed that it may be harder than diamonds.

20.  Math drills

Math drills taught students to calculate in their heads. Calculators were used for intricate math. Today students use calculators for even the basic calculations.

21.  Patience to wait

The need for instant gratification and immediate attention has replaced the satisfaction and appreciation of the art of having the patience to wait. It is a different society than decades ago when students waited patiently on their teacher and they had to wait for their birthday before receiving that expensive gift.

22.  Passing notes in class

Passing notes to your best friend during class was fun, except when you were caught or someone who wasn’t supposed to read the note did. It was as much fun in passing the note to the next kid as being the recipient. Texting and tweeting aren’t the same.

23.  Kingdoms of life

Archaebacteria and eubacteria have been added to the kingdoms of life. First, we learned about the three kingdoms of life: animals, plants, and bacteria (Monera). Then the science teachers introduced fungi and protists. Today students in the U.S. learn about 6 kingdoms of life: animals, plants, fungi, protists, archaebacteria, and eubacteria.

24.  Cursive writing skills

Practicing upper and lowercase letters in cursive writing sometimes required slightly sticking out the tongue to write neatly. Also known as longhand, cursive writing meant connecting all the letters in the word. It improved fine motor skills, helped with retention, and the ability to read. Typing on a keyboard is replacing the traditional longhand writing.

25.  Classroom globes

Classroom globes on an axis helped students visualize countries, continents, and oceans when the teacher turned the globe to point at a specific place. Google Maps didn’t even exist then.

26.  Library Checkout Cards

A library card from 1969
The Mark and Emily Turner Memorial Library [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Plastic sleeves contained in the front or back cover of a book held the library checkout card. Your name and the date were stamped on the card and filed in the library. Inside the book, the due date was stamped as a reminder to the borrower. Although the latter is still done, the borrowing card or checkout card system has been replaced with computerized systems.  (#26)

27.  Food pyramid

From: USDA_Food_Pyramid

The food pyramid with carbohydrates at the bottom and fats and oils at the top was replaced with new dietary guidelines in 2011 represented by a plate. (#27)

28.  Basic computer skills

Basic computer skills were still taught in school a few years ago. Today, toddlers use tablets even before they can talk.

29.   Team sports for athletic ability

Team sports were mostly for kids with athletic ability. Self-paced sports are slowly replacing team sports allowing everyone to be physically active. Kids used to get enough exercise playing outside. Now, staying healthy means teaching kids to actively move.

30.  Learning Latin

Latin was a language commonly taught along with French and Spanish. Latin teachers are dwindling as the qualified Latin teachers retire. Learning Latin is slowly moving away from public schools to schools that can afford a Latin teacher for the students who want to learn the language.

31.  Home Economics

For many years Home Economics was a mandatory subject for girls. They learned cooking, sewing, and needlework. The subject was rebranded and revamped. Today Family and Consumer Sciences is taught to boys and girls.

32.   Global warming

Global warming was a topic scientist talked about but seldom mentioned in school or at home. For the past few years, climate change and its consequences have become part of the curriculum.

33.  Printing and copying

The admin office and the school library had facilities to make photocopies. Today kids learn how to use 3D printers and laser cutters.

34.  Analog clocks

Although kids still learn about analog versus digital time, analog clocks are disappearing. Kids buy digital watches and those who read the time on their mobiles is reading it in the digital time format.

35.  Microfiche microfilms

Microfiche was a method of microfilming old newspapers and journals to create space in the library and preserve the content. Google search replaced searching microfiche screens for the relevant information. (#35)

36.  Diagramming Sentences

Studies have shown learning Diagramming Sentences before writing doesn’t help students. It may even hinder their writing creativity because they want to edit their work constantly. The order is switched. Students learn to write before they learn grammar.

37.  Learning Word on the computer

No longer do kids need to learn how to use programs like Word to create documents on the computer. Now, they learn to code so that they can write computer programs.

38.  Gym class

Gym class meant attempting to climb ropes; only the odd kids could climb a rope to the top. You ran around the classroom or on the sports field, did jumping-jacks, and other exercises in uncomfortable gym clothes.  (#38)

39.   Carrying textbooks around

The number of printed textbooks students had to carry home and back to school to do homework is decreasing. Printed textbooks are being replaced with digital textbooks.

40.  Safety and security

Kids were taught not to speak to strangers but often walked to school or biked to school alone. Today kids are not only chaperoned to school, but they also need to learn about cybersecurity to keep them safe online too.

41.  Spell checking with a dictionary

If you weren’t sure about spelling a word, you used a printed dictionary to look up the correct spelling. Kids don’t care so much about spelling because spellcheckers autocorrect spelling mistakes as they type.

Parents, do you have more? Add them in the comments!


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