I’ve had a few months now to get used to the new online learning system that my school board has put in place. There are a few things that I like about the way they’re doing things, but there are also some things that aren’t really all that great. I’ll start with the things that I’m enjoying about the online learning so far.
The main advantage of online learning for me is how I’m just able to stay at home the entire time. This means I don’t have to walk to school, move from classroom to classroom, and can eat lunch at home. Usually, I’d have to wake up earlier to walk to school, but now I can sleep in a bit longer since I just have to join a Google Meet in order to be in class. Not having to move between different classrooms means that I can use to go on my phone for a little bit because they’re still giving us five minutes between the end and start of each class. Being able to eat lunch at home is also really nice since I can eat comfortably while also eating good food prepared by my mom.
Some of the things that aren’t so nice are mostly related to the limitations of the online classroom environment. A lot of the times in the classes the teacher’s are either talking for a really long time or nothing is happening and the class is doing independent work. If it’s something like math where you’re taking notes when the teacher is going through a lesson, you’d have something to do. However, there’s also some teacher’s that like to give really long presentations where you just kind of sit there and listen for an hour, but you end up going back to look at the PowerPoint yourself later anyways.
Unlike in a physical classroom environment, you don’t get any opportunities at all to talk to your classmates at all since the chat is usually reserved for asking questions and responding to teachers. Sometimes teachers will give group assignments, but they’re almost always “do research and put it on a Google Slides” kind of thing where everyone divides the work at the start. From there, you’re basically doing an individual research assignment.
In general, I’d just say that online learning can get boring sometimes, but I think that’s just kind of how it’s going to be for a while. I feel like the way the system is set up would be really hard to change in order to make things more enjoyable for the students without compromising learning efficiency. Presentations are boring, but demonstrations and class activities are hard to pull off. A chat where you can ask the teacher a question anytime is also nice, but it makes it impossible for students to chat with each other comfortably.
Overall, I think the current online learning model is satisfactory. If you learn well through presentations and are able to figure things out on your own then you’ll probably be fine. However, if you’re one of those people who always talks with your classmates and can’t sit through long presentations then you might have a tough time. Of course, there are small advantages and the big fact that you’re not exposed to the current COVID-19 virus. Personally, while I don’t think online learning is great, in-person learning right now probably isn’t that much better. As of the current situation, I can’t really see a reason why the school board isn’t making the decision to move everyone online.