Remote Learning: a sticky situation


Carter Smith, Copy Editor

Questions have risen from teachers as students abuse the power of remote learning to stay home. Remote learning is a necessity this year because students who become quarantined use remote learning to still be a part of the school. The plan right now is that remote learning will not be available next year. This makes the push to fix and establish guidelines for remote learning difficult since the problems are temporary.  

“The good thing about remote teaching is that it’s better than not teaching at all because if the kids being quarantined may be sick or you can’t be there. Seeing them remotely is a lot better than not seeing them at all. Yes, it’s better than nothing but it’s not as good as them being in person either,” Mr. Sauber said.

When students go remote that’s half of the problem the other half is the freedom the students have. The most common complaint with remote learning is that there are little to no guidelines. Without these guidelines and restrictions on remote learning students use it to their advantage. Students are not necessarily at fault because there are no rules against much of the current misuse of the circumstances, but teachers have to deal with these complications. Online learning is available to everyone and the problem with that is many students have no reason to not be at school, but are doing online just because they want to stay home. One of the conflicts due to recent weather was students going remote because the roads were bad. A problem is that students are going remote not only on days when the roads are bad. This causes teachers to question whether or not the students really need to be remote. 

Some of the problems between teachers and remote learning is what’s happening on the screen that they can’t see. Students who take tests and quizzes at home can use resources that the camera might not show. The liability of online learning is on the credibility of the student and so is the effectiveness. Students who abuse the use of online learning gain nothing from it. 

Remote teaching can definitely be beneficial for students, if used correctly (some students actually do better in a remote situation).  Students have more independence when remote, which is a good thing, but it can also be a double-edged sword if that independence is taken advantage of.  To be successful, teachers need support and time to prepare for remote learning and students need to take advantage of the opportunity to show responsibility and effort on their own.  Short answer, there are definite benefits to remote learning, but only if implemented properly by both teachers and students,” Mr. McVay said.

In addition, Teachers also don’t know when to expect online students and aren’t even told sometimes. Some restrictions that need to be placed is the availability of remote learning. Students need to report to the office and their teachers if they go remote. Teachers never know when to expect new online students. Now, teachers don’t have to give access to the google meet if the student doesn’t have permission to be remote. To get permission to be remote, it’s as easy as emailing the high school counselor Megan Haden and letting the office know as well. Without a valid reason to be remote then the student is left as absent. This way students cannot just go remote whenever they choose. Teachers have enough to focus on and remote adds more to the classroom which causes teachers to multi-task and focus on both in person and remote students. 

The hardest part is that teachers are expected to teach remotely and teach in-person simultaneously.  In our smaller district, there’s no easy answer to this problem, but it is definitely difficult to stay engaged with students in my classroom and students who are at home.  It also places a lot more responsibility on students to participate in class and to use their time wisely,” said Mr. McVay.

With only few months left of the school year we should still find solutions to these problems. Southeast of Saline is the home to a lot of great minds. With as many great thinkers that we have it shouldn’t be difficult to find solutions. Not only for right now but to establish these guidelines for if remote learning ever returns. Remote teaching shouldn’t be a chore for teachers as they try to track down students. There’s definitely a lot of hope for remote learning as meetings are regularly being held to discuss these problems. I have no doubt that we can better remote learning and it can even become a regular part of the curriculum.