Then and Now: old school nostalgia


We’ve been getting pretty nostalgic here at Macmillan Education this week with our Back to School campaign.

Nowadays  – fortunately and unfortunately in equal measures – going back to school no longer means scented pens are most sophisticated school tools, and stocking up on plastic slides for your overhead projectors is a thing of the past. It’s an era of tablets, mobiles and the internet everywhere.

Education has changed a lot and very quickly. The days of dogs eating homework (canines must have had a mysterious taste for A4 lined paper) are slowly disappearing with teachers assigning activities to their students through online workbooks and other platforms instead of endless photocopies with black and white clip art, or even a typewriter depending on how far back we’re going. University students can now avoid turning up in pyjamas for 9 am lectures (perhaps that was just my experience) by streaming their lectures directly in their bedrooms, or listening to them on a podcast later in the day. And thankfully the cane is no longer a punishment for anybody who can’t remember their past simple from their present perfect.

Remember the days when these non-digital gadgets were the hottest things to be seen with at school? Or when your kids pestered you to buy them? I doubt you’d see an advert like this for a pencil on TV nowadays:

One great thing that’s changed over the last fifteen years of course is access to the internet. And as the internet has evolved we no longer have to write http:// before every URL we type. Phew! Even if you don’t consider yourself to be tech savvy, finding this blog at very least means you have a better grasp of the internet and computers than this prediction of the future from 1969!

This video has an accompanying project you could try with your students on onestopenglish to look at comparisons between then and now. It’s one of many past vs present (in the time sense of the words) activities on the site, suitable for students at a variety of different ages and levels. Why not also try this Ten Years from Now activity, or I’m Different Now? And perhaps when your students look back in another fifteen years’ time they’ll remember fondly how lessons used to be on downloadable PDFs …

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