(Picture by Jafar Shameem)
This article is by Yameena Shameem daughter of Jafar Shameem. She is a student in Grade 8
When the pandemic hit, schools were forced to go online to avoid exposure to COVID-19. It is almost a year later, and most schools here in the Seattle area are still online, and some aren’t even planning on going back to regular classes until the next year (like mine). Online school has really changed the way that students learn. We have adapted to the changes and are finally getting used to it. I feel that going back to regular schooling would be hard to adjust. Let me highlight few examples of how online school really changed the way me and my fellow students (but mainly me) learn now, and why it would be difficult to change back to regular normal school.
Firstly, online school has really changed us because it doesn’t require that much participation. The teachers obviously try to force us to engage in discussion and unmute our mics, but no one really listens and most just use the chat application. There is also the issue of people not having their videos on, especially in my school. Most teachers have made it mandatory to have cameras on in their class, but I have noticed that more and more students have been turning their camera off now, compared to the beginning of the year, and I completely understand it. Having your camera becomes painful, because with it on, you have to get dressed up for school, which is weird because why would you get formally ready if you’re at home? Plus, it being super early in the morning, you don’t want people to see you as soon as you wake up (unless you are perfect, and wake up looking nice).
When in regular school you don’t have a button, where you can turn off your camera if you think you look bad. That would be great if there was one though. Now it’s easier than ever to skip participating in the class. You just have to lie about having a technical difficulty or having faulty internet, it’s unlikely that the teachers are going to come to your house and check. Unless they email your parents!
Engaging with school mates in online school I feel is much harder. Regular school was generally more fun because you got to see your friends and hang out with them for most of the day, which often makes you look forward to coming to school the next day. But now that we’re all at home, it is harder to communicate with other people in school, which I miss for it was the highlight for me at the school. It was nice to be in a class with other students who keep joking around with you. Now there’s less engagement, which seems a drag. Although you can still meet your friends outside for a while, but it’s not really the same.
The second example of how school has really taken its toll on students is that cheating is so much easier on online school (I AM NOT ENCOURAGING CHEATING). Resources are much easier to access, and no teacher is watching you over your shoulders (unless your parents do that). Honestly, I don’t think I can now survive tests without referring to notes or looking in a textbook, which is surprisingly allowed online. I can’t even imagine having to sit down at a desk and write with a pencil on a piece of paper without such resources, and still get good grades.
The third example is procrastination. As a huge procrastinator, it is so much easier to postpone all of your work now. When teachers ask us to do our work asynchronously, I find it hard to do the work that minute, as usually I do something else before sitting down for doing my school work, which gets me unmotivated and then I decide that there’s “no harm” in doing it later. This was a big problem for me at the beginning of the year, to the point where I had multiple missing assignments that I thought I would “do later”, but I’m much better now. But putting off work and going on your phone or watching Netflix or playing on your Xbox is so much easier to do now.
Which brings me to my final example, distraction. This is a HUGE change in our academic learning at home. Because you can just pull out your phone in an online class and go on it for as long as you want without getting caught or have your meeting with your friend running, while playing Minecraft or something else in another tab. The distractions are endless in online school now, which has really taken its toll. You could go to talk to your mom for one second and miss the most important piece of information to solve a math problem. This is a huge problem, especially for me. While learning in online School without using your phone or playing video games is hard to imagine anymore. Now it’s much easier to fail in a class because of the amount of distractions we have, and we really are not getting the proper class time we need.
As you can see, online school has really changed my learning experience, and it will be difficult going back to regular school. But no worry, we will adapt and relearn, just as we did to adapt to online learning.
(Picture by Jafar Shameem)
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