- Due to technological advancements and changes in curriculum, schools have evolved a lot throughout the years.
- From rolling TV carts to computer labs with clunky monitors, many parts of the classroom have become obsolete.
- INSIDER asked teachers what once-common classroom essentials are now a thing of the past.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.
Though many parts of the classroom experience have stayed the same through the years – like waiting for the bell that signifies the end of the school day and passing crumpled-up notes during class – plenty of things about school have changed, too.
INSIDER spoke with two US public school teachers, Ashley Marquez of the “Teach Create Motivate” podcast and Fernanda Sandoval of YouTube channel That One Happy Classroom, who shared the things that have become obsolete in most schools.
Here are 10 things you might remember from your school days that are no longer found in most classrooms.
Chalkboards are a thing of the past.
- REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko
Ashley Marquez, who hosts the “Teach Create Motivate” podcast and has been a third-grade teacher for seven years near Dallas, Texas, said chalkboards are no longer a part of most classrooms.
“The only reason you may see chalk is during outdoor lessons with sidewalk chalk, but as far as chalkboards go, they’re really less common now,” Marquez said. “Even small chalkboards that students used to have at their desk for quizzes or lessons have been replaced with whiteboards.”
So are these overhead projectors, which used to be fixtures of every classroom.
- Wikimedia Commons
“Most classrooms have projectors on the ceiling that display whatever is on the teacher’s computer onto the wall,” Marquez said. “As far as the overhead projector where the teacher would roll it out on the cart and display transparent sheets of the lesson, that definitely no longer exists.”
You probably couldn’t forget this strong-scented, goopy rubber cement glue even if you tried.
- Nor Gal/Shutterstock
This thick adhesive came in a jar and was used for art projects and assembling school newspapers and yearbooks. Now, washable glue sticks and white liquid glue are the art tools of choice in most classrooms.
“Glue sticks are the main product used. Even the white school glue is sometimes not used in younger classrooms because it’s so messy,” Marquez said.
Manual pencil sharpeners have become a rarity.
- Magnetic Mcc/Shutterstock
Marquez said it depends on the school, but most classrooms have electric pencil sharpeners, or students use mechanical pencils.
“The loud, cranking sharpeners might still be in some schools, but they’re not widely used now because they’re so disruptive to the classroom,” she said.
Speaking of pencils, some schools no longer require or teach cursive writing in their classrooms.
Marquez explained that with increasing demands on teachers to meet school and state standards, cursive is one skill that often isn’t taught if it’s not required by the curriculum.
“I try to make time for teaching cursive, but it’s definitely not taught in every classroom like it was when I was a student,” she said. “I don’t put a ton of emphasis on it, but I do think it’s important to learn if I’m able to fit it in the day.”
Fernanda Sandoval, a first-grade teacher in Tuscon, Arizona, who also runs a teacher-centric YouTube channel, That One Happy Classroom, explained that cursive was recently re-introduced into the Arizona state curriculum for public schools, but said she understands how it’s a skill that’s becoming less common for teachers to focus on.
“Because of school standards and testing requirements, teachers everywhere can’t always make time for everything they want to cover,” she said.
Traditional dictionaries also used to be a staple for every classroom.
Now, many students have access to online versions of dictionaries.
Marquez said she keeps a few dictionaries in her classroom, but she knows teachers who don’t have them at all.
“Most of the time, students use their iPads or Chromebooks to look words up online, because that’s probably what they will do in real life,” Marquez said. “They are not going to have a huge dictionary with them all the time.”
Remember when the librarian would stamp the due date on an index card in the back of your book? That’s no longer a thing, either.
- Wikimedia Commons
Marquez explained that most school libraries have digital checkout systems that have replaced the manual card-stamping system.
“The school library checkout systems are all electronic now,” Marquez said. Sandoval added that in her experience, classrooms are still filled with books.
“A lot of work is being done on computers, but at the same time, I still love incorporating print books in my teaching, and so do other teachers.”
There used to be nothing more exciting than celebrating a classmate’s birthday with tasty treats.
Sandoval explained that due to rising concerns of students with food allergies, it isn’t as easy as it used to be to have food in the classroom or for parents to bring birthday treats for their students to share with the class.
“In a lot of schools, parents now have to do a lot more before bringing in cupcakes or other snacks for a birthday. It’s a whole process,” Sandoval said. “They can only bring in store-bought foods and have to check with the school to ensure nobody in the class is allergic to any of the ingredients.”
Computer labs with clunky monitors were once a sign of a high-tech school.
Sandoval said many schools no longer have large computer labs. Instead, schools often have carts that contain laptops or tablets that can be easily transported between classrooms.
“In my teaching experience, so much of the students’ work is done on the computer because of state testing, which requires students to type their essays,” Sandoval said. “The laptop carts make it easy for students in all classrooms to use them.”
And everyone probably remembers these TV carts, which were the universal symbol for movie time.
Marquez remembers the TV carts that used to be ubiquitous in schools.
“If your teacher rolled that cart into the classroom, you immediately knew it was going to be a fun activity or a movie,” she said. “The TV carts are very rare now. Most classrooms now don’t even have a TV. Almost everything is done through the computer that’s projected onto the wall or screen.”