Then and Now: 10 Ways Education Has Changed

Our kids’ experience of school is beginning to look quite different from our own.


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These days we marvel at the technological innovations being used in the classroom. And indeed, with so many new devices available, our kids’ experience of school is beginning to look quite different from our own. But beyond technology, there are other differences. Here are 10 ways your school experience may be different from your child’s.


1. Overhead projectors and filmstrips.

Remember those? Most of us jumped at the chance to be the student chosen to manually move the strip forward at the sound of the tone. We all wished we could be the one writing with squeaky markers on the overhead sheets. Plus, who among us didn’t try at least once to sneak in a quick nap when the classroom darkened? Now computers have taken the place of these audio-visual devices. PowerPoint presentations, digital projectors and videos do the job in our kids’ classrooms.


2. Peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches.

With the prevalence of nut allergies and severity of risks, many schools now ban any peanut or tree nut products within their walls. This means no more peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in school lunches, although alternatives, such as sunflower seed spread, are beginning to fill the gap.


3. Chalkboards.

Some classrooms still have one, but most are no longer used for writing. Instead, dry erase boards and computerized SMART boards (interactive white boards) take that role. No more staying after school to help clap erasers!


4. Playing tag during recess.

You read that right. Some schools have placed restrictions on any contact games during the school day, except in gym, due to the risk of injury.


5. Open front doors.

Gone are the days when you could walk right into an elementary school. Because of the potential for violence, many schools have installed security systems that require visitors to be buzzed into the building. Along with these measures have come “lock-down drills,” during which students and teachers practice what to do in the event of a school security breach.


6. Mimeographed papers.

Remember that smell? The days of duplicating via mimeograph machine are a thing of the past. Now teachers use photocopiers and printers for making multiple copies of papers for students.


7. Birthday treats.

No more bringing in smiley-face cookies to celebrate a student’s special day. In an effort to do their part in the battle against childhood obesity, schools have begun forbidding treats, with the exception of requesting foods and/or drinks for sanctioned school celebrations. This means no more homemade cupcakes. Also, some schools no longer allow teachers to use sweets and food as a behavior incentive.


8. Typewriters.

Since middle and high school students no longer use typewriters, they’re being taught “keyboarding” (formerly known as “typing”) at younger and younger ages. Now that there are computer labs in the majority of schools, teachers typically set time aside each week for students to practice their keyboarding skills and learn how to use common computer programs.


9. Fluoride rinse.

Some states still conduct regular fluoride rinse programs in schools. Others have ceased these programs. These days, many municipalities already add fluoride to their water supply, so there is less of a need for fluoride rinse programs.


10. Lunch money.

Thanks to the advent of scanners, many schools are phasing in the use of swipe cards to pay for school lunches. Parents send a check or go online to load the cards, then students use the cards to buy lunch. This is one change that any parent who ever had their lunch money stolen by the school bully can appreciate. It also means no more stolen or lost coins on the way to school.

No matter how much changes about the education system though, one thing remains constant: a child’s need for support and encouragement. Thankfully parents have been and will continue to be there to provide that.


Lara Krupicka, a freelance writer, is surprised how much things have changed since her eldest started elementary school 11 years ago. She has three girls — ages 16, 14, and 11.

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April 2019

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Museum of LIfe and Science
433 W. Murray Ave.
Durham, NC  27704-3101
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Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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184 East St.
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Kids Mindful Movement - Pittsboro
184 East St.
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Kids Mindful Movement - Pittsboro
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Lake Crabtree County Park
1400 Aviation Pkwy.
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 919-460-3355
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Historic Yates Mill County Park
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Kids Mindful Movement - Chapel Hill
781 Mt Carmel Church Rd
chapel hill, NC  27517
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Cost: Free

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Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Road
Apex, NC  27539
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Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
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Herbert C. Young Community Center
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4505 Mid Pines Rd.
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781 Mt. Carmel Church Rd.
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364 Leigh Farm Rd.
Durham, NC  27707
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Cary Senior Center
120 Maury O'Dell Place
Cary, NC  27513
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Cost: $50/person

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AIA NC (American Institute of Architects) Building
14 Peace Street
Raleigh, NC  27604
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North Carolina State Fairgrounds
1025 Blue Ridge Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
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Cost: Free

Where:
NC State University Beef Educational Unit
4505 Mid Pines Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27695
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Cost: Free

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5229 Awls Haven Drive
Raleigh, NC  27614
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Sponsor: City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Telephone: 919-996-6764
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Cost: Free

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2623 Sanderford Rd.
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Sponsor: Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department
Telephone: 919-831-1898
Contact Name: Adam Sproles
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Cost: Free

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500 W. Murray Ave.
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Cost: Free

Where:
Park West Village
Morrisville, NC  27560


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Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts
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Cost: Free

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Sponsor: ZNA Carolina
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Cost: $10-$22

Where:
North Carolina State Fairgrounds
1025 Blue Ridge Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: $10-$22

Where:
North Carolina State Fairgrounds
1025 Blue Ridge Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
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Website »

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Cost: Free

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Bond Park
801 High House Rd.
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Cost: Free

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BRITE Building at NC Central University
302 E Lawson Street
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Technology Dr., off Hwy. 42 W.
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American Tobacco Campus
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Durham, NC  27701
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Cost: Free to members / Included with admission

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Museum of Life and Science
433 W Murray Ave
Durham, NC  27704
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Telephone: 919-220-5429
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Cost: Free

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Pullen Park
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Cost: Free

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Cost: $8/resident, $10/nonresident

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Cost: $3 per adult, $2 for ages 5 to 16 years, and under age 5 is free.

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Cost: Free

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Cost: Free

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Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Cost: $25/person

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Cary, NC  27511
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Sponsor: Arts Access
Telephone: 919-833-9919
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Cost: Free

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More information

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Cost: Free

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Cost: $75/member, $95/nonmember

Where:
Marbles Kids Museum
201 E. Hargett St.
Raleigh , NC  27601
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Cost: $2

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Wilkerson Nature Preserve
5229 Awls Haven Dr.
Raleigh, NC  27614
View map »


Sponsor: City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Telephone: 919-996-6764
Contact Name: Wilkerson staff
Website »

More information

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Cost: $28-$81

Where:
Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts
2 E South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Telephone: 919-996-8711
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Raleigh Elks Lodge #735
5538 Lead Mine Rd
Raleigh, NC  27612
View map »


Sponsor: ZNA Carolina
Telephone: 919-818-0289
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More information

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Cost: Free

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