In some ways, technology has made learning easier than ever. Students these days need far fewer materials for learning than their parents and grandparents did. Although one might also argue their grandparents needed fewer materials than their parents did as well. Conversely, however, the one item students of today generally need most is often significantly more expensive than all of the school supplies they used to need. One way or another, however, kids these days just don’t need as much stuff when it comes time to head off to school in the morning. Here are 9 items your parents used to take to school that are practically not even used anymore. In fact, kids these days might not even know what some of these things are.
- Bulky backpacks
In an age of Chromebooks and tablets, many students need to take very little more than that to school. That means that giant backpacks that could carry a half dozen textbooks, a 3-ring binder and various notebooks are no longer necessary. Thankfully, they also don’t need the wheeled backpacks that started to see their way into schools in the early 2000s. Even elementary school students may now have a different book for every subject, but now they are all loaded onto a single tablet instead of into a giant backpack.
- Trapper Keepers
Trapper Keepers were first introduced by the Mead Corporation in the late ’70s and remained all the rage until the late ’90s. Trapper Keepers were essentially a 3-ring binder that also contained folders to organize all of your papers. In a world that no longer uses paper, organizers are no longer necessary. Trapper Keepers have lived a long and extensive life, however, and were still available as late as 2015. Sadly, they are one more phenom that seems to have gone the way of the buffalo.
- 3-Ring Binders
Long before there were Trapper Keepers, there were 3-Ring Binders. While Trapper Keepers may be no longer, the ubiquitous 3-Ring Binder will most likely keep plugging along for some time, even if they are more and more scarce. Once again, in a digital world, you don’t have many papers to organize and when you don’t have papers to organize you don’t need a device to organize them. Some people are still addicted to hard copies, however, and as long as those people exist, so will 3-ring bingers.
- Hole Punches
Inside almost every 3-Ring binder and Trapper Keeper was a pencil pouch and in almost every pencil pouch was a hole punch. Of course, some barbarians just punched the ring of their 3-ring binder right through the paper, but they didn’t generally get very good grades. Every student worth their salt had a hole punch and really serious students even had a 3-hole punch right in the front of their binder.
- Gel Pens
Students today barely even use pens and pencils, let alone Gel Pens. In the ’80s and ’90s, however, there were few girls that didn’t also have a rainbow assortment of gel pens in the pencil pouch of their Trapper Keepers. Some were even scented. Even the fellas loved gel pens, but they generally stuck to traditional blue and black pens.
While parents may bemoan the price tag of mandatory Chromebooks or tablets, the savings to schools is significant. Book manufacturers no longer need to print textbooks, they just load them right onto a student’s tablet. This also makes life easier on students, since they no longer have to remember what books they need for that day. Of course, they also can’t use the excuse that they couldn’t do their homework because they left their book at school.
Some students these days may take a fancy bento box to school or an insulated lunch bag, but at one time every student on the planet carefully selected a different version of the same metal lunch box and thermos. Selection could take some time since there were generally hundreds of different themes to choose from, but one thing you could be sure of: all of your friends would come to school carrying the same sized and shaped box. Thankfully, if you want to give your kids a blast from the past, you can still pick up a piece of vintage memorabilia thanks to sites like DoYouRemember.
- Floppy disks and thumb drives
While you may still find a few thumb drives floating around, you’ll have a hard enough time finding anyone who even remembers a floppy disk, let alone a disk itself. Even thumb drives are slowly becoming extinct thanks to cloud storage. In an age where everyone has their own tablet or laptop with work saved to the cloud, students no longer need to save their work to carry with them until they get to another computer. They just carry it all with them.
- Pencil boxes
In a world where students rarely even use pens and pencils anymore, they certainly don’t need a pencil box to carry them all. While they may still use a container to organize their cables and cords or hold the odd thumb drive, they generally don’t need enough pens and pencils to need a box to organize them. When they need to take a note or set a reminder, they can just whip out their smartphone and tell it to remind them.
In some ways, kids these days may be missing out. They will never know the excitement of covering their books with colourful book covers the first week of school or getting all their school supplies set out and ready to go on the first day of school. On the other hand, they will also never know the drudgery of having to carry all their many supplies to school or of making sure they have the right supplies for the right class. This doesn’t mean that all of the best school supplies have become defunct, it just means the old assortment has somewhat dwindled and in some cases, new supplies have taken their place.