Virtual Learning at NAHS

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Stephanie Zhang, Junior Staff Editor

Virtual learning has definitely been a new experience for all of us since COVID-19. At NAHS, Google Meets and many of the G Suite applications have been utilized for online learning. Every period, students attend a Google Meet with their teacher and submit classwork and homework through Google Classroom. This method seems to be efficient in most classrooms, but like any new system, it has taken time to get used to.

Some positive outcomes of online learning have been highlighted by various teachers. Mrs.  Rosen, a science teacher, has observed that students have been paying more attention in her classes much like other teachers with small classes have noted. From a different aspect, environmentally conscious teachers like Mrs. Romer and Mrs. Pontius both love how virtual learning has eliminated the use of paper that was frequent during in-person learning pre pandemic. Finally, Mr. Sossin brings up an interesting effect caused by online learning: students and teachers are becoming increasingly comfortable with using online tools. 

On the other hand, there are some drawbacks to using virtual learning. Many teachers are worried about cheating, as it is very simple to just look up an answer or refer to notes during an assessment. 

Additionally, some of the classes offered at NAHS, such as Culinary Arts and Physical Education, require a hands on approach. Mr. Marcantuono, a physical education teacher, stated that “Physical education is one of the classes that really benefits both the teacher and the students if it were in person. Physical education not only is used for physical activity and exercise, but also it provides a platform for social interaction at the same time. Being online creates a challenge to accomplish both.”

Mrs. Pontius, a physics teacher, holds the same concern as her classes were always very lab based. With virtual learning, she, like other science teachers, had to replace real labs with virtual alternatives, which usually are not as effective as in person labs. 

Lastly, the overarching issue faced by both students and teachers would be with Google Meet itself. Many people are facing difficulty using the Chromebooks offered by the school, which are oftentimes slow, and kick them out of meetings. 

Like the teachers, many students also have opinions regarding online learning. Some students love the “wiggle room” provided by virtual learning since they are free to have snacks throughout the day without being reprimanded. Others like how online school is only a computer away. There is no long morning routine to get ready for school so students can sleep in a bit later on school days. 

For me, I feel like online learning has made school less daunting. As an introvert, class discussions were always dreaded. Google Meet takes away the pressure of having to personally interact with classmates. 

Online learning is definitely something that most people are still trying to adapt to. Here are some tips and tricks:

Mr. Sossin suggests wearing headphones and stashing away phones to minimize distractions. He also emphasizes the importance of staying organized—whether that be through a planner or a schedule filled with due dates and assignments. 

Mrs. Rosen stresses participating in class and keeping cameras on: “The more the student interacts with the class, the more interesting the class will be.” The students suggest using your own device when it comes to Google Meet to avoid connection problems most commonly found when using Chromebooks. 

Mr. Marcantuono recommends waking up early to make sure all devices are charged and ready to go. Mrs. Burns, an English teacher, contributes that it is absolutely vital to avoid procrastination by allocating time each day to work on your assignments. Most importantly, make sure you reach out with your teachers and friends when you are overwhelmed—they are here to help and support you.

Overall, virtual learning has its pros and cons. It has definitely helped students familiarize themselves with G Suite applications and has allowed the educational process to safely continue in these challenging times.