A classroom nowadays is almost unrecognisable compared to a classroom of 50 years ago. The addition of ‘Smart Boards’ is probably the most noticeable change: interactivity, internet connectivity and high-speed research seem to be essential components of modern-day education. The focus of this article as such: are we better off nowadays with our new approaches to teaching and learning or were we better off with chalk, a blackboard and a rather intimidating teacher.They say GCSE’s are getting easier – whether or not that is the case makes very little difference in my opinion. It is extraordinarily rare for a 50 year old candidate and a 20 year old candidate to be compared on a grade-for-grade basis anyway, so why does it matter? What’s important is whether or not GCSE’s are more useful now than they used to be. Typical political jargon will tell you that education needs to ‘make people employable’ and ‘put people into work’. In this case, the emphasis on ‘yesteryears’ education was discipline, traditional data-cramming and the collection of – in many cases useless – ‘knowledge’. Nowadays, from my experience, there is a much greater emphasis on research and learning-to-learn. Surely this is a much more useful skill to have? I can’t think of many jobs in the real world which need to know when the Battle of Hastings was or what sort of rock the East Coast is made from. I definitely can think of jobs which need their employees to be able to learn new skills quickly, think analytically and in a structured way and be able to research facts efficiently.That is not to say, of course, that subjects like Maths and English are out-of-date. A strong foundation of basic skills (reading and writing properly, good grasp of day-to-day maths, etc) is absolutely essential for any job, whatever the roles and responsibilities.My main assertion is that the standard of education has increased, with increased government funding being focussed on the intelligence of the workforce. Nowadays the UK economy relies on having a highly educated workforce as our main exports are services, research and expertise. We simply don’t have the capacity as a country to be highly-industry based anymore. In addition to this is seems obvious that the change in education has been led by wider social changes. For example the extraordinary increase in the availability of technology such as the internet, laptop computers and ‘Smart Boards’ has meant that educators can increasingly use such tools to their advantage. Furthermore, changes in attitudes towards ‘useful’ education, the role of teachers, (etc) have filtered their way into the system. Has the standard of education gone up? Yes. Has it changed much over the years? Yes. Definitely.