By Lizzy Hughes
For most of this school year, students have attended school virtually to stay safe and healthy during the pandemic. With online school came the freedom of staying home and waking up at a later time to log into class.
The number of classes each student took changed, and students could choose an extra subject that they wanted to take, without the worry of midterms or finals. For seniors, taking four classes each semester was a lot less stressful, and students were able to focus more on their college applications or plans for the future.
Many students find it hard to go to school if they struggle in classroom environments, or if they worry about their appearance in front of their peers constantly.
Online learning allows students to work at their own pace on their assignments and gives them the independence they will need for college and beyond. Even though teachers do not get to see students’ faces while on google meets, students can focus more on their schoolwork than on their overall appearance.
Freshman Paul Hughes says, “my favorite thing about virtual is that I don’t have to get up early to get on a bus and go to school, I can just wake up and log into class.” When asked about his experience with freshman year Hughes said “It was pretty different than a normal year, but we still covered a lot of stuff, and I feel like I was still able to learn despite the circumstances.”
With students only taking four classes each semester, this allows teachers to teach the curriculums at a faster rate and allows students to learn time management skills to complete projects and assignments on time. Students who get distracted by their peers in class may also benefit from virtual learning, as their friends cannot easily talk to them in class.
Teachers and students have also become very familiar with canvas, and students have access to all of the notes, assignments, and resources in each week’s module.
While online learning has many benefits, there are also some downsides to the virtual classroom. Some students have home environments that make online learning difficult and turning on a mic or a camera can be obstacles for these students. Distracting items such as cellphones, or other electronic devices can limit a student’s motivation to learn, and it is very easy to lose focus while in class.
Junior Caroline Nugent states, “it’s hard to focus when you’re at home and not actually in person, so you can kind of slack off…I learned pretty well considering it was online school, but not as well as I would have in a normal classroom during a normal year.”
For younger students, more structure is necessary for school, but many high school students have the self-discipline and maturity to learn independently and do not need too much assistance from teachers.
Virtual learning has changed the way that many teachers and students approach school. This year, less paper was used, as all of the assignments were online, and this resulted in a decrease in paper waste, which is better for the environment. For students and teachers who commute to school every day, virtual learning also allowed them to save money on transportation and reduced the number of carbon emissions.
Even though snow days are a nice break from school during the winter, this year virtual learning allowed students to go to school in any weather, so they could continue learning content for many classes without falling behind schedule.
Online school has many benefits as well as disadvantages, but a lot of students were able to adapt to virtual learning during the pandemic, and this school year was very different because of it.