In person learning creates needed social interactions

Sara Rand, Feature Editor

COVID 19 has pushed technology coordinators to a new level. During the lockdown, they had to advance online platforms and devices in record time.

As for schools, teachers and staff are in completely new territory. Unconfident teachers struggling with their side of technology is of no use to the student on the other side, struggling just as much.

The most common problem many teachers seem to be having is Wi-Fi or network connection going out in the middle of teaching a class through zoom. When a teacher’s connection goes out in the middle of a class period it leaves the students stranded, without knowing what to do.  With only 40-minute periods, those precious minutes without a teacher are essential.

Shorter periods are also an inconvenience with online classes. Fifteen minutes doesn’t seem to be that much of a difference until your teachers are rushing through the material; materials with which you might already be struggling.

Not only are teachers struggling with internet connections, but students can also get kicked out of the zoom call too when they lose connection or their computers are set to automatically reboot for an update, causing them to miss out on the important information teachers are relaying.

While those zoom calls are supposed to be recorded for students to go back and watch, zoom sometimes malfunctions and does not record properly. The videos with the students’ faces are only allowed up for three days, so if they don’t go back to watch the recording in that time period, they have missed that information.

Aside from technology, students left to their own devices can be easily distracted, especially if in their own rooms – their hangout spaces.

According to the American College of Healthcare Sciences, studying in your room can decrease productivity and limit focus. Bedrooms are subconsciously associated with relaxing and sleeping. The more time spent stressing about schoolwork, the more our mind will associate stress with that space and make it difficult to relax or sleep in our rooms.

Student households can also be very chaotic, especially if there are other siblings in that house who are “attending” school. Having other people moving about the house can be distracting from the current focus.  Sights, sounds, smells….YIKES!

I hold that we should go back to the actual school building for classes. Even experiencing a socially distant hybrid schedule with half online and half in-person would give students the chance to interact socially, making them more comfortable and willing to learn.

As we continue with online learning, computer hiccups may become less frequent as we figure out how to use the technology we are given and solve problems on our own. However, what percentage of the materials are the students retaining?

Although teachers can see some student’s faces, since it is not live and in person, teachers cannot gauge how well their students are understanding the material. This is especially true if students will not turn on cameras or are too shy to interact in class, for fear of being the center of attention on a computer screen. Additionally, total body language is left out of the equation – and human nature leans into body language.

According to Illinois.gov, both the death rate and the new confirmed cases are coming down. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have determined it safe to go back to school and has identified specific guidelines to follow. If the schools in our district properly utilize those guidelines, there is no reason to have students struggling with  remote learning.