As the original thrill from the idea of online schooling wears off, we are left with a mix of emotions regarding this sudden change. As most of us students will attest to, at first hearing that school was canceled was like hearing that summer vacation was coming early. Tests moved back, a four day weekend, and less stress were just a few of the many benefits that we thought of that Wednesday afternoon. However, as the excitement began to dissipate, we were left with questions. How do I take an online math test? What happens to doing Science labs? How will online school even work? Although that weekend, many emails were sent to us from teachers and deans trying to explain how Zoom worked, the new schedule, and asynchronous learning, it was just all just confusing. But eventually, as it always happened, we’ve settled into this often not so smooth routine. Now, so many of us wish we were back in regular school, myself included. We miss our friends and are tired of staring at a screen. A fellow eighth-grader, Sophia Vourakis says, “You never really appreciate being at school until you’re not.” As we start to see both sides to our new life, we begin to weigh the pros and cons of what online learning has to offer.
First, let’s focus on the upsides of online learning. A recent study done by NC University shows that the main benefit is the eliminated commute time. Many students often need to wake up at ridiculously early times just to catch the bus. Another peer at Harvard Westlake states, “If online school has done anything beneficial, at least I don’t have to wake up at 5 a.m for a two-hour bus ride.” These extra hours of sleep are beneficial to everyone, including the teachers.
Whether or not you have this problem, I would think that most of us agree a shorter commute time and more sleep are big plusses. Onto another point; creative teaching. Although this certainly varies from class to class, most teachers are forced to create an entirely new style of teaching. Take an example, history class. Often times in history class, we sit through a 30-40 minute PowerPoint, and this can often get boring. I’ve now noticed, at least in my class, that we are doing more active discussions. Another benefit is that more people participate. Other students who we may think of as of quiet feel safer in their homes and participate more frequently. A recent study done by OnlineUniversities shows that teachers record on average an extra 13% participation rate for online schools.
Even with all these benefits, there are still several cons. The most obvious one is the lack of social interaction with friends. Another is the effect of sitting in your chair, staring at a screen all day. Many studies have shown that this can damage your eyes, and permanently impact your vision. However, it isn’t even the potential vision issues. Let’s just be honest, no one wants to stare at your computer all day, it just isn’t fun. Onto the next downside, technology issues. Whether it is wifi or lack of space in your home, doing school on your computer is tough. Often you or your teacher’s wifi can cut out, which makes learning exceedingly difficult.
Whatever your opinion about online schooling, we as students, must realize that this is our new normal, and must adapt to it. Hopefully, the coronavirus curve can be flattened as quickly as possible, so we can go back to our normal lives.