Life of a Student- the Digital Experience

Life of a Student- the Digital Experience

Audrey Sasser, Writer

Unprecedented times call for considerable change. Students have experienced something foreign to all of us with online learning, but how has that affected their path of education? 

    In the beginning of the school year, a survey was sent out to the senior class, asking about their experiences with online learning and the transition that has since occurred. The senior class has been disproportionately affected by online learning, so their experiences can speak to a broader picture of the pandemic. 

    From this survey, it can be concluded that online learning was a source of difficulty for many, but had some advantages that the traditional school experience doesn’t offer. As a student said, “I liked that it [online learning] pushed for better organization of Schoology and coordination of resources.” Because of being in an online environment, we all became reliant of Schoology and digital methods of organization. For many, this was an advantage because work was clear, and assignments were easy to find.” 

    Having each Wednesday, was another advantage students reported, saying it was a day to catch up on work and spend time away from their computer screens. Having that time off was a way to unwind and relax a bit from the stressors of a global pandemic.  

    The excessive use of screens negatively affected many students, something seemingly unavoidable from online school. “Only a couple of them [the teachers] actually respected district guidelines. Most had us on the computer during study time resulting in almost 10 hours of time spent staring at a screen all day (including homework).” This response highlights one of the negative impacts of online learning, something we can now avoid in in-person school.  

    A considerable shift that has occurred since our school transition is the difference in attendance. In the survey, we asked students on average, how many days they missed in online and in person school. In online school, 34% said they missed 3-4 days, whereas now that percentage has dropped to 16%, with 78% being 0-1 days missed. 

    This data tells us that students are more engaged, and motivated by school, likely due to the sudden difference in learning environments. A strikingly unanimous response to the negative effects of online learning, was that students were not comprehending their school work. “I was completing assignments at the last minute, and finding all ways to avoid engaging in the material. By no means did I learn anything.” 

    From this survey, a census was gained about how students are experiencing the pandemic through the lens of school. With a shift to in person learning, both teachers and students are figuring out how to accommodate everyone’s needs while maintaining social distancing requirements. It has not been a seamless transition, but one students are thankful, nevertheless.