What happens when today’s kids face yesterday’s technology?

What happens when today’s kids face yesterday’s technology?


Young people can no longer tell the time with the hands, so much so that in some schools they are having to replace the analogue with digital clocks in the exam rooms, according to some teachers.

According to a new report by BBC and its team of school reporters and with their help, they tested the hypothesis that they really can not even recognize some types of “old technology”.

There were interesting answers, although we suspect that to answer some of them they had a little extra help.

The watch

Clock face
Copyright of the GETTY IMAGES image

First of all, we asked the students if they could show that the reports were not correct by telling us what time it was according to this clock.

To our chagrin, practically everyone did well.

“Almost 10 past 10,” said Oliver, 13.

Reema, also 13 years old, translated it digitally for us, “10:09”.

Tom, 12, hesitated a lot and did several scribbles, before deciding it was “10:10”.

But Karl, also 12, did not want to answer and said: “We are old enough to have phones, so we use them.”

The cassette recorder

Audio cassette player
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Our image of a recorder -or a player- of audio cassettes did not fool anyone.

“I think this is an old music player, which is used to play music when one is moving,” said Rebekah, 12.

“It’s a Walkman, which was used to listen to music,” said Tom.

Isabel, 11, did not agree with her real name. “It’s a Walk Boy, you put tapes and you listen to music,” he said.

The roll of film

Film reel
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The film roll was much harder to identify for most students.

“Tape measure,” Karl suggested. Matthew, 12, thought it was a decoration tape.

Most of the others knew that it was used to record.

“This is a tape that includes audio or video data,” Oliver said.

Only Rebekah and Reema correctly identified it as a movie. “It is used to film and project movies on the screen,” said Reema.

The portable CD player

CD Walkman
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But our image of a portable CD player divided the group.

“It’s a CD player and you put records,” said Isabel.

Thomas, 11, was a bit optimistic about the powers of this piece of old technology.

“You put a disc for a movie and plug it into your computer,” he said.

The video cassette

VCR and cassette in BBC questionnaire
Copyright of the GETTY IMAGES / BBC IMAGE

When we showed them the images of a VCR and a videotape, we asked them: “What would you do with these two objects?”

“You put the tape in the machine that is connected to a television,” said Isabel.

“Put the second in the first,” said Thomas.

Rebekah wrote down our image for clarity.

Karl, however, had a more entrepreneurial approach. “What would I do with them? Sell them!” He suggested.

A map book

A to Z index
Copyright of the image A TO Z

Everyone was clear about what to do with a map book, despite the prevalence of Google Maps.

“It’s a map and it has all the places in England from A to Z,” said Thomas.

“You look for places and follow the map to get there,” Rebekah explained.

The Polaroid camera

Polaroid camera
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As for the Polaroid, everyone knew it was a camera, but not everyone knew what type.

“It’s a flash camera,” said Abigail, 12.

“Polaroid camera,” said Reema.

“This is a camera that prints your photos immediately,” Rebekah said.

The dial phone to dial

Rotary telephone
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And everyone recognized the old rotary dial telephone as a telephone, and a minority even knew how it worked.

“This is an original phone where you dial the number by rotating the center,” Oliver said.

“Turn the dials to put the number,” Rebekah said.

The typewriter

Copyright of the GETTY IMAGES image

Finally, we show you an image of a typewriter, with tape and a manual cart.

“Like a keyboard,” Oliver said. “I used to print on paper,” Reema added.

Karl, however, had other ideas. “Bingo machine,” he declared … but maybe he was joking.

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Rava Desk

Rava is an online news portal providing recent news, editorials, opinions and advice on day to day happenings in Pakistan.


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