By Ella Javorsky
COVID-19 is completely changing our everyday lifestyle, socialization, and education. For students it is changing the way we learn and grow. Going to school everyday from 7:45 to 2:30, with about twenty kids per class, eight classes per day, was never something that we thought twice about. Now however, that is far from the reality. Hybrid schedules, spending half of the week learning in school with masks and social distance guidelines in place, while spending the other half of the week learning remotely, is the new normal for high school students. The new schedule is a big adjustment from what we are used to, but everyone is going through it together. Learning online can be difficult but also super beneficial, and there are many positives and negatives regarding the topic.
Teachers and educators’ goal during this crazy time is to make all students, those remote or in person, get a positive learning experience. They are working extremely hard to make those at home feel connected and engaged, and I think that they are doing a great job. Google meets are organized so that remote learners are watching the class live from home. Cameras are positioned close to the teacher so that they can speak to both groups of students simultaneously, and it ensures good sound quality. Features such as screen sharing, breakout rooms, and the chat function all help students at home stay connected and feel as if they are in the classroom. The teachers will share their screen so that what is projected on the Promethean in class can also be seen by elearners. Breakout rooms serve as an opportunity for class discussions or group work, and students can easily ask questions by unmuting themselves or typing in the chat. Additionally, teachers are posting all of the work online through Google Classroom and Google Drive, so it is easy for students to stay organized and on task. Remote learning is different from what we are used to, but students can feel the safety and comfort of their own home while still engaging in beneficial learning.
Although teachers are making e-learning feel as if you are in a classroom setting, learning from home is unfamiliar and foreign to students who have been spending their entire lives going to school each and every day. When you think about everything that you do in your home, education is not the first thing that comes to mind. We associate our desk as a place to relax or complete homework, not a place to complete all of our in class learning. It is a big adjustment, and it can be uncomfortable or difficult at first. Being in your own home can be distracting, and it is hard to focus on a computer screen in your house all day. However, we are all going through the change together. We are all experiencing the adjustments and challenges of this new way of learning. The key is to hide any possible distractions, and find strategies that help you stay focused. It takes time and patience, but e-learning will be super effective if everyone finds the positives in the situation. We are not alone through the challenge, and soon enough remote learning will feel like second nature to us.