Telling time

When I first read this article “Schools are removing analogue clocks from exam halls as teenagers ‘cannot tell the time’“, I had a couple of thoughts.

  • Surely this must be a joke or fake news story.  In particular, when the topic turned to an inability to hold a pencil because of technology.
  • There are probably bureaucrats working on the problem right now including designing a unit of telling time to be distributed with exam practice lessons.
  • It’s yet another opportunity to take a slam at teachers for not teaching essential life skills.
  • It’s yet another opportunity for a luddite to take shots at today’s youth and their use of technology.

Regardless, as I look around my blogging work space, I see clocks of all types.  Some were given as gifts and they’re pretty much analogue and then there’s the computers and they’re all digital.  Also digital is the alarm clock by my bed.  I remember buying it and replacing an old analogue clock which had real bells on it to sound the alarm simply because this clock came with a radio and a telephone.

So, it’s a challenge.

But imagine the things that those who live in a digital clock only world would miss out on.

  • The clock on the Peace Tower in Ottawa
  • Big Ben
    Thanks, Morguefile
  • Or any big clock that gongs – why don’t digital clocks gone?
  • The Rolex clock used in Formula 1 races to denote the start of an event
  • Those learning activities that primary teachers would display on the clock on the wall
  • Estimating time
  • Understanding that high pressure areas rotate clockwise
  • Even understanding the difference between clockwise and anti-clockwise
  • The Rotary Clock in the Navy Yard in Amherstburg
  • The frustration of locking hour and minute hands when you adjust the time due to Daylight Saving Time
  • A cuckoo clock – have you ever seen a digital cuckoo clock?  Or a digital grandfather or grandmother clock?
  • Pocket watches – I know, I know
  • Where to put your hands on a steering wheel if you don’t know what 10 and 2 mean
  • Speaking of 10 and 2, understanding why clock manufacturers photograph their product set at those times
  • Understand why you shouldn’t move the hands on a clock backward

Heck, analogue clocks could be a test in itself.

What did I miss?

Published by dougpete

The content of this blog is generated by whatever strikes my fancy at any given point. It might be computers, weather, political, or something else in nature. I experiment and comment a lot on things so don't take anything here too seriously; I might change my mind a day later but what you read is my thought and opinion at the time I wrote it! My personal website is at: Follow me on Twitter: I'm bookmarking things at:

3 thoughts on “Telling time

  1. As Beth Woof reminded me a long time ago, analog clocks also help with a better understanding of elapsed time. Then you can actually “see” the time move, and get a feel of how much time “a half hour really is” or “ten minutes could be.” It’s hard to see this time in the same way with a digital clock. Maybe this is what you meant by estimating time, but I thought that it was such a good point of Beth’s, that I had to share it here. And having taught Grade 5 and introducing elapsed time, I can tell you that the concept is really hard for kids. Possibly a better understanding of analog clocks would help.


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  2. Part of the driver’s re-test when you turn 80 is to draw a clock face, complete with all the numbers and the time shown to you previously.


    “Finally, the new test addresses cognitive impairment. You will be shown a clock face with a time indicated, which is then taken down. You have five minutes to draw a circle, put in the clock numbers, and have the hands indicate the time. This tests visuospatial ability, how you recognize and organize information.”

    Pity all these digital citizens (literally!) when they turn 80…!

    Liked by 1 person

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