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Online schooling: Fail or Nail?

"Miss, can you please explain that again, I didn't quite catch that?" [clear confusion] "Sure I ca-AJAHSDBJHDBJ, you jus-sdkjndfiennrjfijun- and then you--wedkjfnjbdhfb, [face palms] "OMG, how will I ever pass this class if EVEN THE WIFI IS

online lesson

“Miss, can you please explain that again, I didn’t quite catch that?”
[clear confusion] “Sure I ca-AJAHSDBJHDBJ, you jus-sdkjndfiennrjfijun- and then you–wedkjfnjbdhfb,
[face palms] “OMG, how will I ever pass this class if EVEN THE WIFI IS NOT ON MY SIDE ANYMORE!!!”

Sorry, what was the question? Where did she go? Guys, is she cutting out for you as well? OMG, NOT MORE HOMEWORK!!!??? Please, someone, help me. Houston, we have a problem… I DON’T F***ING UNDERSTAND ANYTHING YOU JUST SAID!

So that’s pretty much all of my lessons summed up in a nutshell. Many of you have probably experienced exactly what I am talking about. You know, when the teacher explains something vaguely and then you ask them to explain it again and then the WiFi decided to give up on you? Yeah, THAT.

I think I have been set like a gazillion assignments over the whole course of quarantine and lockdown, and with no one to fully answer my question, but rather just sending me to different websites and pages of my text book, I have wondered if virtual online school was really the best way to go in this sort of situation? Whether the Zoom platform is really as good as all the teachers claim it to be, because in my personal experience, it felt like the platform was being run over by a bunch of lawn mowers. Whether it would have been better if they just left us to do our own work by ourselves and then ask them questions if we had run into any complications with regards to the topic? Or can we at least have a week where we don’t get any homework?

Throughout lockdown, many students have had the privilege to be able to study and have school sessions online, but while some would call it a privilege, others would call it “Hell and a curse upon the whole student race”, and personally, I would kinda have to agree with them on this one. This is because, well for one, not all students have access to a stable and working wifi connection, (TalkTalk internet provider was really NOT a role-model during the quarantine period I must say). This leads to the persistent mystery of “sorry, what did you say?” ultimately leading to confusion and an avalanche of anxiety and worry rushing over the them from fear that they might be failing their classes due to lack of knowledge and understanding while teachers proceed to tell them that they have a test next week.

Some students also do not have unlimited time and space on electronical devices, leading to them having to be rushed by other siblings and not fully understanding the concept which they are studying. The Verge confirms this by stating

“Even when there is stable coverage, some families simply lack the laptops, tablets, or other devices required to log in online.”

This also leads to the individual’s grades slipping and causing extra dilemmas for their young minds. With the pressure of online school adding to that, it just makes students question the necessity of it, because in reality, online school doesn’t offer the same experience as actual traditional school.

“Nothing can replace the classroom experience. Being physically together in a space means rich communication, and more energy and experimentation from everyone involved.”

Says Kendrick Oliver, a professor at the University of Southampton in The Guardian.

Regardless, this is nothing compared to the time they are losing for socialising with their peers, extended families and teachers. Yes, we may possess smartphone which can quite literally do anything for them, however, it will never replace their time to be kids and teenagers, the time to have fun, communicate, make new friends, mess around while not having their conscience bugging them about it. Falling in love, then falling out of love, make mistakes, and then make them again. And simply laugh and enjoy their time together.

For example, you can’t exactly ask questions if you don’t feel completely comfortable asking it infront of the whole class for whatever reason. This then means that you must either ask the teacher at the end of the session, if they have time, that is. Or perhaps email them after the session, or even research the topic of your question independently in your free time. This brings out an even greater set of dilemmas for the individual, seeing as they may still not understand the topic in question even after their research. They may not even know exactly how to research their topic correctly which causes even more confusion or they might not find the exact answer to the question they have. A student on BuzzFeed news voiced her opinion about online schooling by stating that

“It seemed like they (college professors) were only trying to do their job and get it over with all while still expecting us to do our absolute best without offering us other tools to help our learning, just because one student is doing well with this adjustment does not mean all students are doing well.”

This brings into light the fact that different students cope and adapt differently to certain changes and situations. Perhaps some enjoy the fact that they do not have to be physically in school to perform academic activities and can “enjoy” it from the comfort of their own beds, whereas others stress about it and have multiple panic attacks in worse case scenarios. It doesn’t mean that they don’t want to go to school, it just tells us that they are taking a bit longer to adjust to this new way of receiving information. The Verge also states that

“Students miss each other, they miss school and they miss us… many are profoundly depressed.”

However while students adapt to this, lessons and teaching goes on and “wont be revisited again when we come back to school” as stated by teachers, meaning that this tragically impacts the learning and grades obtained by individuals with these problems while teachers and professors are turning a blind eye to it and replying to help with “I’ve set you more homework on Show My Homework, Seneca, PixL and Google Classrooms, please do not forget to complete it, as this work will affect the predicted grades which you will receive in August”, which forces us to chose to complete our coursework over having a stable mental health.

Some students have also reported to having increased anxiety and depression due to online school and due dates for coursework. While teachers and professors say that ”online schooling is the best way of learning they can provide at the moment”, but do you really have to set 16 tasks on Monday which are due in 2 days later? Do you really though? Or do you just assume that due to he quarantine and the lockdown procedure that we have suddenly discovered more hours than 24 in a day? Or do you assume that it is only your subject we have homework for and no others?

Due to this many children may potentially just lose interest in studying, their hopes and dreams forcefully sucked out of them by mountains of endless due dates and homework. The lack of motivation and the presence of the constant grind finally getting to them, self esteem and confidence trampled on. “There are some days where I can sit and complete my work and other days where nothing seems to click in my brain, and I just can’t find the motivation to complete the work,” she said. “It was like every day I became less and less motivated.” – another student stated on BuzzFeed news.

Nevertheless, some students enjoy online school much more than traditional school. They justify their opinion by saying that online school provides the “much wanted independence” for students and provides them with a taste of what University would be like under normal circumstances. Universities are also supporting the idea of virtual, online schools, seeing as the second peak of coronavirus is scheduled to take place in the autumn, meaning that it would disrupt the first term of the new academic year, hence to not waste a lot of time, they plan on “moving at least their first semester online” states The Guardian. While also stating after that ”The future of UK universities may lie in mixing online curriculums and offline experiences, known as blended learning“. Many are already planning to introduce this to enable social distancing on campus. “This can enhance students’ experience of studying,” says Michael Horn, co-founder of the Christensen Institute, a global education thinktank. “I expect to see a lot more universities offering blended courses post-pandemic.

So what shall we do about this? Turn a blind eye again and let the future generation of aspiring individuals go to waste due to deadlines and crippling anxiety? Will we lead ourselves into deprivation and destruction due to homework? Or will we help them, as they are after all, our future and possibly our way out of this mess?

An aspiring, humble student trying to live out the American Dream

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