Online observations

With classes being moved online, Schoology and Zoom have become a middle schoolers new best friend.

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Lantern Staff

Schoology crashes have been a reoccurring theme throughout the online learning process.

As the COVID-19 virus spreads to countries all over the globe, schools are shutting down, each one trying their hardest to keep students engaged and a part of the classroom.  

Every school is working towards this goal in a different way, and Cannon Falls Area Schools’ Distance Learning Plan may differ from other schools. Cannon Falls is using websites like Schoology, Email, Google, and Zoom to keep students connected with their teachers. Last year, because of the immense amount of snow days, Cannon Falls students experienced something new that indirectly gave them an idea of what this would be like: BOLD Days. Though BOLD days were executed because of snow, they weren’t typical snow days. Students had school at home via Schoology, where teachers assigned daily lessons and assignments. This year, however, Cannon Falls used up their  “snow days” when the school was closed March 17-20 due to the coronavirus. Since spring break was held right after, students didn’t have school work until March 30, the first day of Distance Learning. Distance Learning is exclusively online and the students have received and will continue receiving course work every Monday-Friday until May 4th.

With the difficulties and worries of students becoming disengaged with school, ( just like many others across the country) the school has implemented a program called Zoom. The software is an increasingly popular group video call system that allows large numbers of people to be on the same call. It allows teachers to check on the students and see if they are on track. Educators have also used the scheduled time to give further explanation on assignments and it allows students to ask any follow-up questions they may have. For the middle schoolers, class meetings usually start at 9:30 and end when the teacher has finished discussing the material in question. An eighth-grader, Grace Miller, commented on these meetings, saying, “Zoom isn’t ideal, but if we have to have online learning it works pretty well.”

Zoom isn’t ideal, but if we have to have online learning it works pretty well.”

— Grace Miller

Beyond Zoom, students can also contact their teachers through email or a phone call. Monday through Friday is when teachers hold their normal Zoom Meetings. They follow the schedule that was assigned to each particular grade so that students aren’t in meetings all day every day and have a chance to get work done. If after the Zoom meetings students still need help, Wednesday serves as a student support day where if a student needs assistance or has a question they can contact their teacher at any point in the day. If not, they continue to work on their schoolwork or missing assignments. Rob Stachowski, a seventh grade US history teacher and an eighth-grade global studies teacher, says, “Sometimes, just having a schedule helps keep things moving forward.”

Other schools may use programs like Zoom and Schoology in the same fashion way Cannon Falls has or their distance learning strategies may differ. Through all of the confusion, one thing is certain; As schools all across the country rush to adapt to distance learning, students will have to be sure to do the same, no matter what tomorrow may bring.