Young can 'only read digital clocks'

By Sean Coughlan
BBC News education and family correspondent

image captionIs time up for the traditional clock face?

Do young people really struggle with traditional analogue clocks with hands?

That's the claim in a debate between teachers - with suggestions that digital clocks are being installed in exam halls for teenagers.

It follows a report in the Times Educational Supplement of a conference being told that pupils needed a digital clock to be able to tell the time.

Malcolm Trobe, of the ASCL head teachers' union, said young people were much more used to using digital clocks.

As such, schools could be trying to give them more help by letting students use digital clocks in exam rooms during the summer GCSEs and A-levels.

"To adults it might seem second nature to use a standard clock face," said Mr Trobe, ASCL's deputy general secretary.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

But younger people were much more familiar with seeing the time in a digital format - on computers or mobile phones.

"Young people find it a bit easier to use a digital clock - and if they're timing themselves for questions, it might make it less likely that they'll make mistakes," said Mr Trobe.

He said, as an example, if students had to answer a question in 15 minutes, it could be easier for them looking at a clock with a digital format, if that was how they usually told the time.

There were no official indications about taking down analogue clocks, he said, but such claims were being made by teachers on social media.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

One of the examples on Twitter being quoted is from a head of English, "Ms Keenan".

But she told the BBC that the digital clocks that had been installed had broken down - and now had been replaced by a traditional analogue clock.

She said it wasn't the case that a majority of students can't tell the time using such analogue clocks, but it could be a barrier for some.

For the "digital generation", she said an analogue clock could be becoming an "anachronism".

Will this be a trend for the approaching summer exams?

Only time will tell.