Kicking off the School Year with E-Learning

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The 2020 school year looks a little different from last year, with classes online, a shorter lunch and a new schedule for D214. Although online learning has replaced in-person instruction, there are some positives and negatives to using the program Zoom.

 Students at RMHS have had a trial run of what e-learning looks like from last spring when the district decided to go online for the safety of everyone. This year is slightly different as now the grades count and zoom calls last an hour and ten minutes.

“The biggest struggle with Zoom so far has been trying to pay attention to what’s going on the screen of the session while also doing work on my iPad through notability,” Senior Michelle Zorigt said.

Students and teachers both struggle when it comes to Zoom. Whether it’s the Zoom link loading for too long, the screen freezing, the audio cutting out or even being kicked out of the Zoom due to connectivity issues.

“I’ve gotten very good at the ‘what not to do’ [on Zoom] as I’ve been figuring out the pitfalls and tricks to get things to work,” French Teacher Sara Kahle Ruiz said.

Although E-learning is safer for everyone, it comes with some unfortunate cuts to the school day, particularly lunch. Instead of the regular 45 minutes, students and teachers now have 30 minutes to eat and socialize via facetime or Zoom.

“I think it was really inconvenient having lunch cut,” senior Andrew Izaydar said. “Making lunch for me takes at least 10-15 minutes so you have a very short window to eat, use the bathroom, or really do anything.”

The lunch cut really impacted both Zorigt and Izaydar, they usually have enough time to eat within the regular 45 minutes, but now they are struggling to make and eat their lunch. Although this is only one of the issues, another one is the “passing period time”, five minutes to students is not enough time to go to the bathroom or take a mental break before returning to a screen for another hour and ten minutes.

Students will spend 5 ½ hours looking at a screen and on top of that, the homework that they have to complete, which is also digital. This not only is giving students migraines but leaving them with severe eye strain.

“I’ve started setting aside some time to cleanse my mind of the constant technology,” Zorigt said. “Meditating or just reading a physical book can help ease the eye strain that e-learning has brought.”

E-learning may have its faults but in reality, it’s a lot better for all of us. Students and Staff members can be kept safe and stay healthy during the pandemic and they have the convenience of working in their own environment.

The Zoom app also may not be perfect, but it is user-friendly for both students and teachers. Including features such as chat, thumbs up and down, raising a hand or even screen sharing. This gives teachers opportunities to keep the students focused and on task with activities or interesting review sites that allow a class to do an assignment altogether. 

“Don’t be afraid to try new things, you may just find a better way of doing something,” Kahle Ruiz said. “Be patient and understanding, it’s new to everyone.”

E-learning is very versatile, there are so many ways it can go and students as well as staff are still adjusting to the schedule. Taking this time and thinking of it as a new way of learning is a lot easier than thinking about when e-learning will be over.

“Remember this is only temporary, one day we will all be back together,” Kahle Ruiz said.