The Problem With Live Learning


Emma Mathew, Junior High Staff Writer

In the midst of the current COVID-19 pandemic many schools were thrown into the gauntlet trying to figure out where and how they could safely educate their students. This was not a simple task, and many schools (including our own), stepped up to the task and are still working to make sure their students can learn remotely. However, I believe that “Live Learning” for the hybrid students was not the right way to go.

“Live Learning” is a simple concept and on the surface it seems foolproof. Students who are at home take the exact same class as the students in school, only they are home on Google Meet. They can take their full day of classes and return to a sense of normality. Seems quite simple, right? Although in theory this plan seems to work, the execution is the issue. 

Live learning means that students have to sit at their desk staring at a screen for hours on end. Usually the end of this ordeal leaves me with a blaring headache and a feeling of exhaustion. And in my experience, at least an hour of that time is dedicated solely to technology problems, or a student not being able to hear a teacher, or the WiFi not working properly. Sometimes these problems aren’t even resolved and the teachers can’t be heard because of the glitches. And there is always one witty classmate who decides to use the bathroom or leave during class without telling the teacher, prompting a lecture as to what our online learning responsibilities are. On their own, these things would be irritating at most, but combined they make online class feel like a waste of time.

Now none of these issues are the fault of the teachers. All of my teachers are making an effort to reach out to students who need help and try to make class feel as normal as possible. But my argument is: these times aren’t normal. Having a student sit in front of a computer for six hours for work that some could do in three isn’t the most productive way to do things. We need to adapt for the times and trying to replicate the school schedule at home isn’t going to work. Over the summer, when I was checking the school website everyday for some sort of insight as to what my first year in junior high would look like, I was ecstatic to see recorded lessons were a part of our reopening plan. As someone who often gets bored in class quickly, having a video that I could rewind and pause to take notes off of seemed like a saving grace. Why else was I so excited? Simply because this meant I could schedule out my days and work at my own pace. Recorded lessons and assigned work meant that I could plan out my days and spend more or less time on class work as I saw fit. Although obviously there are going to be students that might need extra help with a subject, small hour long optional extra help classes (optional being the key word here) would be a way for those students to get help without wasting the time of others, be it fellow peers or their teachers.

Live Learning is a process that requires unnecessary time and effort from students and teachers alike, and has changed school from something I look forward to to something I dread. Students need to say how they really feel about the online learning process now, because quietly complaining to your friends isn’t going to do anything. As for the district, go over the plans again and maybe try to talk to some students to see how the change and schedule is actually affecting them, and potentially consider investing in some better WiFi.