Zooming Through Online School: How Students React to Remote Learning

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Ava Strand

Ava Strand’s remote learning set up.

Tasha Sudofsky, Staff Writer

Falmouth Academy promptly reacted to the mandated statewide school closure announcement by putting together a cohesive model for online classes in a very short amount of time. Both students and teachers alike are adjusting to our new remote learning program and are working together to transition through this remarkable time.

 In contrast to our regular schedule, classes only meet every other day, which requires students to attend two or three 40 minute classes a day. However, students often have an additional elective or club meeting to attend after their classes or in the breaks.

This new way of life elicits a range of emotions and opinions. One benefit students have noticed is the additional sleep that this schedule allows due to a later start. Classes now begin at 9:00 am rather than 8:15 am, and students do not need to commute. Eighth-grader Ava Strand had a 45 minute commute on the bus alongside many other students, so she greatly appreciates the time online school gives her in the morning. “I do like sleeping in, but I love that I no longer have to get up at 5:30 am to be ready to take the bus,” remarks Ava about her new routine.

It has been a huge adjustment switching from in-person and discussion-based classes to online Zoom classes with less opportunity for natural discussion. While there aren’t that many alternatives to classes and assignments being issued through the computer, Ava seems to echo the complaints of many students at FA when she says, “I just don’t like being stuck on screens. Having 40 minute classes and then a break is nice, but I just wish everything wasn’t online. I know there isn’t another way, but adjusting to this new routine is hard.” Many have noticed that being on screens for a few hours for classes, only to have to continue to be on screens for another few hours to complete the day’s assigned homework, takes its toll.

Zach Crampton ‘22 also notes that the shift to remote learning leaves out social connection, a crucial part of school at FA. Zach states, “I think [remote learning] is really boring because I can’t see my friends, and that’s truly the best part of school. Online school is just working all day on screens and really doesn’t include the social portion.” While students are still connecting individually through their personal technology, many are missing the impromptu conversations at All School Meeting or in the locker area.

Students also feel that there’s actually more homework being assigned during this period of remote learning than was assigned when we were at school. Both Ava and Zach reflected on how they appreciate the extra day between classes to do assignments and the extra hour between classes, but they feel the amount is still overwhelming. Because most assignments are computer based, and computer work is often more draining, many students feel that the work is an extra burden on top of the stress and anxiety we all feel about the current pandemic.

In such a short time, the faculty and administration put together a really thorough program that I would have thought unfathomable six weeks ago! I am happy to be able to continue learning while social distancing, but I also recognize that some problems have arisen. Unfortunately, many of the issues that have arisen, like the lofty screen time and lack of social connection, seem to be inevitable products of the situation we are in. 

While the online program has worked well so far, I am definitely looking forward to returning to school this fall!