Perspectives on distance learning
By Chloe Goode
In these uncertain times our basic “norms” have been altered with the effect of upending people’s everyday lives. For the students, Covid-19 has meant a change in how they may receive their education. Whether it is wearing a mask and sitting behind plastic protective barriers or sitting in the safety of our own homes, school continues to go on. However, there are considerable differences between the lives of brick-and-mortar students and distance learners.
Bree Freedman, a sophomore at Ponte Vedra High School, has been a distance learner since day one. She compares it to home schooling in the since that students aren’t confined to a classroom with other students fighting for the teacher’s attention. Her choice to be a distance learner was due to being used to it from last spring where everyone learned from home. Bree views online school as easier than in school, saying her grades have improved since staying home. Despite other’s opinions, she feels distance learner’s education is equal to those who are in the actual classroom. The only disadvantage would be the lack of social interaction she has with her friends; however, she says the advantages outweigh the disadvantages since she gets to be in the comfort of her home, eating whenever, and getting through her work quicker. As of right now, she prefers to stay home and learn but she agrees that overtime she would get bored of being alone and want to return to school.
In opposition, Isabella Castellano, Julia Macpherson, and Reid Smith are all glad to be back in school. Isabella and Julia are both sophomores at PVHS who agree that in school is a much better way to thoroughly understand the information and is overall an easier way of learning. All three of them can agree on the fact that Schoology wasn’t always as reliable as it should have been. Reid Smith is a senior at PVHS who also started the year as a distance learner. He is more conflicted on which he prefers, ultimately deciding on in school learning. He says everything is more accessible online, apart from Schoology crashing, however the actual at home environment was distracting and wasn’t easy to learn in. Likewise, Julia feels her education was unequal to the in-school learners because it was hard for the teachers to evenly address the distance and in-school students, ending with the teachers giving less attention to the few online learners. The hardest part for her was keeping focused on her conferences given she could just get up and leave class whenever she felt like it. There were also many tempting options like using Google or staying on her phone instead of paying attention in class. Similarly, Isabella is glad she came back to school in the second quarter. Her biggest issue was understanding the information because she wasn’t learning it in person with the chance for help from the teacher whenever it was needed. She also missed seeing all her friends throughout the school day.
Covid-19 has caused many people to remain cautious and in their own homes to avoid unnecessary exposure. However, many students are starting to return to school one by one now that they feel safer around others and need to return to the normal classroom to keep up with their ever-expanding education.