Students are adjusting to the new environment of learning at home with technology and little face-to-face interaction with peers. As much as a change that it has been towards students, it also has been an adjustment to teachers and staff as well.
“I’m used to moving and interacting; classroom teaching is a give/take, communal experience. E-learning seems really one-way,” English teacher Casey Solgos said.
Many teachers are keeping in touch with their students through email where they state that they will be active on it throughout regular school hours. The work being given out by teachers is typically modified for the students to ease the pressure of doing assignments at home.
In terms of AP classes at school, teachers have been putting emphasis over how the College Board has taken initiative and shown flexibility in terms of standard school days being reduced during the second semester. Online lessons have been put in place for every AP class for the AP test and an online version of the AP test is being made and tested so students still have the opportunity to earn the college credit from the class.
“I am thankful for Google Classroom, email, and Zoom. With these tools I can communicate with my students, push out new material, review assignments and answer questions,” world language teacher Tye Fox said.
Teachers are replacing the traditional face to face classroom setting to a virtual one where resources such as Google Classroom, Zoom, and Gmail are used for interactions. Although the work being given out is not for a summative grade, teachers have been working and creating modified content for students through a new “E-learning calendar” with worksheets, notes, and videos students can use to still show growth in the class.
“This is an interesting experiment in what learning looks like when the carrot of grades is removed,” Solgos said. “Many of us in the English Department have wondered, ‘What would it be like if we just stopped reporting grades?’”
The instructional days are being given as a resource to students to use however they intend to and the quality of the learning experience is determined by the rigor of the students proactivity with their own education. Teachers cannot grade assignments during this time, and attendance is not being taken per the Illinois State Board of Education’s guidance.
“For students this is a time to gauge their level of self-discipline and accountability for their own learning,” Fox said. “How they come out of this should give them an idea, especially for seniors, if they are ready for the independence afforded them by the college learning experience.”
The new experience of learning online is as much a journey for students as it is for teachers. Both teachers and students are learning new ways to still put the same value of learning directly in a classroom now at home with the help of technology.