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ADM: the option of online learning has both disadvantages and advantages

Photo by Callie Hazel

ADM: the option of online learning has both disadvantages and advantages

A global pandemic has forced schools to decide whether it is safe or not for their students to be in the classroom. Here at ADM, we are lucky enough to have the option of online learning or being present at school. ADM’s principal, Lee Griebel gave some insight on mitigation efforts and the decision to go back full time for those who wanted to do so. When trying to create a safe environment for ADM students, there were three different plans put into consideration by the administrative staff. They felt as a team that the best place for students was in the classroom with their teachers.

They did not take this decision lightly and spent hours and putting their time in to ensure the safety of the staff and students. Not only did they want to make sure it was safe for students returning to school, but also for those who could not join in person. The technology team at ADM spent a lot of time designing a virtual classroom that would engage students at home and replicate the education they would be receiving as if they were sitting in class. When asked about how he felt online learning was going at ADM, Griebel said, “There are always new things to learn when you start something you haven’t done before.” 

He even went on to say that, “Attendance is very good, and participation is excellent,” and ADM’s Return to Learn plan is by far the best that he has seen.

Recently I was forced to stay home for almost a month, having to learn the ways of an online learner. As I was struggling to figure out where to go and what to do, I felt slightly defeated. I was finding that not being in the classroom meant it was a lot harder to pay attention when there were a lot more distractions. With my whole family at home, all trying to do different tasks, there was yelling and pent up frustrations that frankly would be very hard to avoid after being stuck in a house for a month straight. Not only were there distractions keeping me away from focusing but, I also couldn’t find the motivation to stop myself from falling into temptations. It was easier to stay in bed and be on my phone instead of participating in class, or watch Netflix instead of finishing my homework. Although these temptations apply to almost all high schoolers, it is easier to fall into these habits when no teacher is enforcing the rules.

When I returned I was more than relieved; I was overjoyed, but I couldn’t help but wonder how those at home who haven’t been to school this year were feeling. I wanted to know if they were going through the same struggles and if they too missed being at school.  So I reached out to some of my fellow peers. Gwyneth Schmidt and her family decided online learning was the best option for them, and she likes being in the comfort of her home. She also enjoys learning at her own pace, without the rush of the classroom.  When asked about the stresses she faces on a day to day basis she replied, “There is not a great way to collaborate with the class in groups, and there are some technical troubles that make it more difficult to learn.” 

Another student, Aaron Teckneburg, who is mainly onsite, had to endure online for awhile. He felt more at ease and calmer than how he regularly feels at school which tends to be a little more stressful. He also added that, “focusing and staying on task was the hardest part.” 

With the many struggles that come along with learning, I know myself; and many others are very thankful for the opportunity to learn both virtually and onsite. And many schools are adhering to the changes the best they can. Nothing is perfect, especially during these crazy times in all of our lives, but it is good to know that we are not alone in the struggles, not only in online learning but with this pandemic as a whole.