With the return to in-person learning, teachers and staff are incorporating more technology in learning. Along with fewer paper assignments and hands-on learning, the current curriculum relies heavily on computers.
In the past year of virtual learning, some students found it difficult to stay attentive in class. However, while the online format remains, students said they are better equipped to handle the tools with in-person learning.
“I had mixed feelings about virtual learning while we were out of school for Covid,” senior Bhuvan Saraswat said. “Even though it was more relaxed and laid back, it was really hard to focus on assignments. It was definitely less interactive since people had their cameras off. So, it was harder for me to retain the information that way.”
Teachers are now using a new platform called “Schoology” to facilitate learning on the computer. It allows teachers to assign classwork, quizzes and tests, which decreases the need for paper materials.
“I like the online tools since they are easier to work with and the fact that it is easier to submit things than with paper,” Saraswat said. “I think my learning style has been shaped by quarantine; so, I’ve adapted more to online learning.”
Assistant Principal Carrie MacBrien said maintaining online platforms provides consistency in students’ learning styles.
“I predicted that when we came back after being virtual for 15 months, we would continue to use technology, and that we would be better for it,” MacBrien said. “I think we found that, because we mastered so many digital tools during the pandemic, we can’t go back now. I believe that we will be stronger because of it, and having students face-to face with traditional teaching happening, we can enhance what’s happening in the classroom with the digital tools.”
While some students have easily adjusted, others have difficulty transitioning to more technology.
“With Covid spiking up again, I would really prefer to do assignments on the computer,” freshman Julian Otero said. “But at times, I do miss when I was just able to do an assignment on paper, mostly with my math classes because now you have to type everything out, and it’s more difficult.”
MacBrien said the stability of digital tools transferred well into this year’s collaboration of materials.
“Aside from the hiccups that we’ve had with Schoology, I haven’t heard any complaints,” MacBrien said. “My sense is that students have, as the teachers, just become so comfortable using technology that it’s almost like second nature.”
Teachers are now attempting to mix the helpful qualities of virtual school with the hands-on qualities of in-person learning.
“I was day-dreaming for the last 16 months of what I would be doing in the classroom, not just looking at computer screens,” Language Arts teacher Kate Carter said. “There are some aspects of Zoom learning that are helpful, and I think my online organization in Schoology is better. I’m able to file all of my lesson plans digitally, so that everybody can access them if they are in or out of class. I am really trying to do active lessons with people talking to each other. I’m having people write on paper for essays, annotate papers together, so I am trying to get off the computers as much as possible.”
Carter said students are taking advantage of the positive aspects of in-person learning, and she wants to highlight that in her teaching approach.
“I feel students are more engaged now with what I’m doing than they were in spring of 2020 because they no longer take for granted the classroom interaction, group work, discussion and all the things that I love,” Carter said. “I think students have a renewed energy for those things.”