The Charter News
Governments are meeting the spread of the novel virus, COVID-19, with many strategies to slow the contagion, such as social distancing, health precautions, and even stay-at-home orders from multiple state governors, including Oregon Governor Kate Brown.
Among these initiatives is the temporary closing of schools in all states (some are scheduled to close in certain districts, some have or will close nation-wide, and some will be closed for the remainder of the academic year). This has caused a dilemma for educators of how to continue schooling. Sahl Khan, founder of Khan Academy said in a recent video: “Obviously the entire globe is going through a very unusual crisis right now, and as part of that crisis, people are worried about… ‘how do we ensure that kids can keep learning?’”
This crisis leaves technology as the only way for students and teachers to continue moving through the academic year, causing people to question how computers substitute for in class learning.
Responses from students were mixed about the use of technology in the absence of onsite classes. Jordan Phillips, an 8th grader, said “personally, I like the onsite learning more because I have more hands-on materials and I don’t have to send a hundred emails trying to clarify the instructions. I think that as we ease back into the routine of school that the amount of work that we do online will decrease.”
Cole Smythe, a freshman, said “I think that it is nice that a student can get their work done at their own pace, but it’s annoying that you have to stare at a screen all day.”
Students are not the only ones who have had to adapt; teachers have also felt the impact. “Switching to exclusively [sic] to technology is really a drag. The drawbacks are almost too many to count. There is no human element to it. Group work is extremely difficult at best. Materials and assignments become completely based on content rather than interactive learning. There is nothing organic about it,” says Chris Stillwell, who teaches history at ACA.
Advances in technology have made more teaching options available to students, but also pose problems. Some students who attend ACA, and throughout the country, live in rural areas, or have limited access to technology. This makes it difficult to keep up with assignments given by teachers, and makes the use of online learning more difficult than helpful. Stillwell continued to say “Online learning is impossible for those without access to technology.”
The issue of how best to educate students in the coming months is a topic of controversy, but in times like these immediate adaptations are necessary.
Education Week. Map of coronavirus and school closure.
Khan, Sahl. Khan Academy.
Phillips, Jordan. “Re. Technology and schooling at home.” Received by John Taggart on 20 March. 2020.
Smythe, Cole. “Re. Technology and schooling at home.” Received by John Taggart on 20 March. 2020.
Stillwell, Chris. “Re. Technology and schooling at home.” Received by John Taggart 23 March. 2020.