Covid-19 has forced many schools to switch to virtual learning, shattering the normalcy of many Howard County students with both positive and negative reception.
Running rampant throughout the country, Covid-19 is forcing many people to be locked inside for quarantine. The implementation of online school serves as a way to keep the virus from spreading even further. However, this presents the problems of students not being able to participate in many school organized extracurricular activities and the curriculum cutting back on some topics that would otherwise be covered in in-person classes.
When asked about their position on virtual learning, the student body expressed a wide range of opinions about the new model.
Many students expressed their dissatisfaction with the new system, believing that without the experience of being physically involved in class, the quality of learning wouldn’t be as sufficient. However, others had a more hopeful outlook with virtual learning; they expected that with enough time, the teachers would be able to get used to the new system and reproduce the same feeling of actually being in the classroom.
“Many students have experienced some form of stress throughout the school year,” sophomore Michael Morton explained. “Virtual learning is not nearly as stressful.” Virtual learning presents a more laid back approach to learning, giving students more freedom.
“It allows me to work on my assignments at my own pace, and [the] breaks in between classes give me enough time to get my materials ready for my next class,” freshman Timothy Chung said.
However, many still think of virtual learning as an inadequate replacement for in-person classes.
“I hate virtual learning. It’s very hard for me to concentrate because my brain doesn’t register that I’m supposed to be working and learning while I’m at home. Without a school environment, students end up relaxing too much and forget to pay attention,” freshman Alejandro Soto said.
Virtual learning also presents a problem with the number of assignments given.
“In my opinion, virtual learning is a very tedious experience,” freshman Didi Zhang stated. “I get overwhelmed by the amount of work that needs to be done by Friday or Monday.”
Another object of discussion within virtual learning is the online tools, such as Peardeck and Canvas. Peardeck is used for presenting information and online discussions, while Canvas is used for turning in assignments and checking grades. These two tools were met with a mixture of love and hate.
“Things like Peardeck and Canvas have definitely and will always help with keeping track of assignments and organization in general,” freshman Alex Hwang said, Peardeck and Canvas are great assets for online school, and enhance the learning content in each class. They keep work organized so students can neatly finish their assignments.
“I think that Peardeck is very situational; some classes benefit from it, and some are better just using a slideshow,” freshman Didi Zhang stated. “As for Canvas, it is a great tool but not perfect. The calendar still needs rework and some links or information on [it] is unnecessary.”
Freshman Aaron Kim agreed with that sentiment as well, “Peardeck is useless. We could just have the teacher do presentations and participate in chat…Canvas is great for grades, but still buggy.”
“Although one’s personal opinion of virtual learning may vary when compared to another’s, the crux of a virtual learning environment’s success lies…in the teachers’ commitment to the process,” senior Tyler Lin said, who sees the middle ground to the situation. Teachers play a crucial role in the success of online classes—some teachers teaching methods may not be as apt as others in the virtual classroom, so this may cause stress among students and make them have a negative stance on the topic.
In this new and unpredictable time of virtual learning, many new strategies must be incorporated in order to allow students to feel somewhat comfortable with the way the education system is progressing. Of course, as it is with all new and rushed things, there are always people who truly believe that they are to our benefit and others who critique them.