From Network to Notebook

Online students emerge from their technological cocoons into the outside world

From Network to Notebook

120. That’s how many microseconds it took to get to a class Google Meet (excluding the glitches), and the number of seconds it takes to beat student traffic and sprint to the right classroom before the blaring of the school bell. As a portion of Juan Diego’s students coped with the setbacks of the online world in the past year, the transition from the isolated computer to the crowded school hallways provided a needed breath of fresh air after a challenging school year. 

Courtesy of https://natechamberlain.com/book-and-computer-technology-in-library-2/

 

With the flexibility of being behind a power cord left behind, the social life of the school campus opens up the minds and spirits of our forgotten friendships with our peers and teammates as a Juan Diego community.

 

While the student body merges through the school’s classrooms and cafeteria, the secluded bubble inflated by past online students has burst into the mixture of the social and academic life in a normal (and forgotten) “in-person experience”. 

 

 

Former online student, and current sophomore, Sarah Wilkins comments that returning to the school’s campus is “a lot different and a lot nicer because I actually get to communicate with people and meet new people instead of sitting at a computer and trying and failing to meet new people.”

In other words, the face-to-face technique of talking beats the difficulties of articulating through a microphone on the other end of the street. Also, Wilkins believes that the academic life at school compared to the screen is “better and easier, because I’m in-person, so I don’t have to force myself to pay attention through a computer screen.” 

A student’s experience at Juan Diego is incomplete without social interactions in the classroom and in a friendship group, meaning that returning to school in-person liberated oneself from the technological cocoon of the online world.

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In terms of the athletic life at Juan Diego during COVID-19, students had to cope with both online schooling

 and driving to practice after the last bell, but are now back to the normal pattern of studying and playing with the team. 

Current junior Alexus Quayson-Sackey mentioned that she enjoyed “the social aspect of the sport,” and that “I can come and see my friends during practice rather than, when at home, I’m just doing it by myself.”

In terms of the dose of group time received during practice, Quayson-Sackey admitted that “now that I am back in-person, I get that a lot more, which is really good, especially for my mental health,” and that “the sports aspect of school is my outlet, so having a break from the schoolwork is also nice.”

The sports aspect of school is my outlet, so having a break from the schoolwork is also nice.”

— Alexus Quayson-Sackey

While being at home meant that “homework” could be done during the day rather than cramped after school, the balance provided by performing sports with friends at school releases the tensions of our academic lives and opens up our minds to the greater outdoors beyond our computer screen.

Finally, the extra challenge of simultaneously organizing both the online world and the class for Juan Diego’s staff created some restrictions in the learning strategies of certain teacher faculty members, and these new habits that were developed in 2020 have continued to spring up in current classroom environments. 

Social Studies teacher Mrs. Vanessa Jacobs mentioned that, when it came to having the select number of online students back at school, it was “one less moving part with COVID,” although she still had to “hand people the papers one at a time,” and, when it came to desks, “clean them up once a day”. 

Nevertheless, she believes that “it’s easier for me to gage if somebody understands or not, whereas online it was tough to see because so many people couldn’t run their cameras and their Google Meets at the same time.” 

It’s easier for me to gage if somebody understands or not, whereas online it was tough to see because so many people couldn’t run their cameras and their Google Meets at the same time.”

— Mrs. Vanessa Jacobs

 

However, Jacobs proclaimed that managing her online class “wasn’t difficult for me; I don’t know how much student retention was on their end.” Therefore, while the customs that emerged from COVID-19 retained in the 2021-2022 school year, the fact that an increased support can be administered through direct contact in the classroom have uplifted the level of class engagement for both teachers and students as a whole.

 

As the new school year begins with both staff and students dodging each other in one edifice, the rejuvenating hopes that were unveiled through the return of the “normal” social and academic environment renowned at Juan Diego will certainly boost all of our spirits towards a brighter and safer year through the pen rather than the keypad.