Effective Education

In-person learning is more effective than virtual


Shaylie Johnson

Students head to their next class.

As the school year has started once again, many changes have been brought with it, such as new schedules, new rules and a new environment. One of the most prominent of these changes is the implementation of online classes. Many students have chosen to remain at home for their classes in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but no matter how good an online teacher is, it does not beat learning physically at school.

In-person school offers more opportunities and experiences that online does not. Among these is the chance to have a teacher readily available. Holding in-person class lets a teacher properly judge the learning style and potential of each of their students, allowing them to adjust their teaching style to fit their students. It also allows students to get to know their teacher. A teacher that knows and understands how their students learn can help them give lectures more efficiently.

“It’s easier for me to check for their understanding in-person and quickly help someone with something in-person,” art teacher Sarah Koeneker said.

Teachers often have busy schedules, especially now that some have classes to teach that are virtual and in person. Being able to talk to a teacher in real-time and in-person without any delays can help students get the answers they need when they need them.

“[I like] the opportunity to be around more people and have the opportunity to ask questions face to face [to get a] better understanding,” freshman Kara Mohrmann said.

There is the social aspect of going to school in person as well. Due to the pandemic cutting the last semester of school short, many did not get to see their friends for several months and were not able to contact them. With school in-person, students get a chance to see those friends again.

“[I miss] seeing my friends in the hallway or class,” online student Olivia Schemansky said. “[I am] missing out on the high school experience.”

It is also common for teachers to assign group projects of some kind, although that number has gone down to increase social distancing. Being online makes working together a little more difficult. With in-person school, the other students are right there, sitting next to one another, making talking to each other, working together and getting to know one another much easier.

“In my online classes, the only connecting we’ve been doing has really been on discussion boards,” senior Paige Shoemaker said. “Other than that, I haven’t talked to the students.”

Many have found online school favorable because of the fact that they can remain at home and protect themselves and their family members from COVID-19. They believe that their classes, homework and textbooks are much easier to access because they are all on the computer.

However, online school is just that, online. Technology has a habit of acting up and glitching out from time to time, making it unpredictable. Not everything works out the way it was supposed to, but online schooling requires technology to function properly.

“Depending on what they use and how they upload [an] image or document, sometimes I can’t view the files, so I have had a lot of issues with students submitting work the correct way,” Koeneker said. “I have even had a few issues with the Canvas access on my phone when I go to grade stuff, which is frustrating.”

Canvas is the new platform implemented for this year of virtual and in-person schooling. While teachers had a week of learning about Canvas, there are still some issues that are being figured out. Students, on the other hand, have received no training in the new site whatsoever. Mistakes are bound to happen on both the teachers and students’ end.

“I feel that [Canvas] can be very confusing and is finicky about some things,” photography teacher Amanda Gamache said. “There were some times early on that I was seriously wondering if I was going to ever figure it out.”

Due to the fact that everything is online, and that technology does not always work as it should, reaching people, as mentioned earlier, can be difficult. Emailing someone is easy, but there is no guarantee that they will look at that email or even receive it. It is possible to make announcements on Canvas, but students might not see those either.

“I think communication is definitely an issue,” Koeneker said. “I am posting announcements every day [in] my class. I post videos of how to create the artwork [and] how to submit their artwork. I create a lot of content, but I don’t know that all of my students are accessing that content [and] reciprocating [it].”

Though many think online classes are easier, it does not compare to going to school in person with good friends and teachers always ready to help. It is understandable to want to go to class online because of the current situation of the world. Staying away from others can help stop the spread of COVID-19, but when it comes down to it, in-person classes just have so much more to offer.