Last week, the Hebrew Academy high school moved to remote learning due to the rise in Covid cases. We have been on Zoom before, so this is not a new experience. For the past two years, we have faced different types of schooling, from in-person to remote. Over this time, a variety of schedules have been created and tested to ensure that the students feel comfortable in the process of online learning.
Our school schedules on Zoom have gone through many different stages. At first, our days ended around 2 PM, with four classes every day. From these shorter days, we adjusted to a slightly longer one. With little time before a shutdown, the school decided to just use our regular in-school schedules for online learning.
However, I have noticed that while this schedule may work when we are in person, it presents many challenges while on Zoom. In school, we are surrounded by peers and tend to receive short breaks throughout the class. Sometimes, we are sent to work individually or in a group, and other times, our teacher allows us to talk for a few minutes. This makes 80-minute classes more bearable. On Zoom, however, this is different. We are unable to chat with our friends, and oftentimes, our teachers do not give us breaks.
Longer class periods without breaking can be less effective due to the students’ loss of concentration and fatigue. This is amplified on Zoom. Not only are we sitting still for 40 minutes at a time, but there are also multiple classes a day where we stare blankly at our screen for 75-80 minutes.
It is not unusual for classes to run a little long, so sometimes periods last even longer than what is scheduled. In addition to these never-ending periods, we also do not have ample break time that we need in between each course. Most breaks are five minutes long, and on zoom this is a very small amount of time to transition between classes, especially having just stared at a computer screen for the entire class period.
Moreover, in school, we have people around us to help us transition from class to class, but while we are online, we have to readjust on our own. Once we sign off a Zoom, it seems as though we immediately have to log onto the next.
Having no break for these extended periods of time is detrimental to learning. Learning on Zoom is difficult itself, but when we sign into our third period still trying to understand what we were just taught in the prior class, it is excruciating. With long days, long classes, and short breaks, these schedules on Zoom prevent students from learning to their fullest potential, even while online. Obviously, in-person learning is optimal, but when remote learning is necessary, it would behoove the students for a new zoom schedule to be created.
By: Riley Spitz (9th)