For everyone My Favourite Things: Then and now

  • By Louise Swinn
  • This article was published more than 6 months ago.
  • 4 Oct 2023

Even for those who aren’t very old (hello, Gen Z!) the rate at which technology is changing means that workplaces look different every year. Here we celebrate some of the fantastic new additions, and (hazily) recollect the long-lost past.

Remember this?

  • Overhead projectors

  • Inkwells

  • Desk-clamp rotary pencil sharpeners

  • Microfiche

  • AV trolleys

  • Card catalogues

  • Desks with lids that trapped your fingers

  • Corporal punishment

  • Mock air-raids

  • Floppy discs and CD-ROMs

  • Darkrooms

  • Jacks, marbles and British Bulldog

  • Slide rules

  • Slate and chalk

  • Grammar

  • ABC ‘Sing’ books

  • Technical colleges

  • Automatic allocation to a country school after graduation

  • Mimeograph duplicating machines

  • Open-plan classrooms (OK, we know some still exist)

  • Not to mention: women being forced to quit their jobs when they got married!

And now…

  • First Nations flags

  • Acknowledgement of Country

  • Merit-based job selection

  • Gender equity action plans

  • Staffroom coffee machines

  • Laptops and iPads

  • Consent education

  • Free pads and tampons

  • Non-gendered toilets

  • Lockdown drills

  • Soft play areas

  • Multimedia

  • Feminist/Pride/LGBTQIA+ groups

  • Respectful Relationships education

  • Buddy Benches in primary schools, where kids feeling isolated can sit and make friends

  • Grammar (it’s back again, isn’t it?)

  • Getting time in lieu when staying overnight on camps!

  • Whiteboards covered in mind-maps, rather than blackboards with rote learning to be copied down

  • Non-gendered uniforms

  • Skorts – is it a skirt? Is it shorts? It’s the best of both worlds!

  • Inquiry-based learning


Want to give your students a taste of what school was like in the 1880s?

Look up ABC’s Behind the News episode ‘Old School’.

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