Upgrades for an online classroom

Upgrades+for+an+online+classroom

Relying on computers for online classes instead of being in-person has been a difficult transition for both teachers and students this school year. It has become evident that learning through a screen doesn’t fully replicate the experience of sitting in the classroom. However, online learning provides some remarkable solutions for problems that high schools haven’t been able to solve in the past. For instance, students can attend their classes through their computer if they miss the bus, if they don’t feel well enough to go to school, or even when they are traveling across the country. Whatever the reason, it seems to me that online learning is here to stay. If so, why not work to make it better and closer to an in-person experience? Here are some changes I believe online students can benefit from.

 

I believe that the online learning experience can be much more preferable with some minor tech upgrades. Although wifi hasn’t been the greatest issue, sometimes the videos and sounds can be quite laggy, making understanding the teacher nearly impossible. Only better wifi can prevent this. Also, I think teachers should be equipped with better cameras to help virtual students decipher what the teacher is doing when not directly in front of the computer. Too many times has the teacher tried to write on the board only to stop and realize that the virtual students can’t see it. Finally, communication between virtual and in-person students is nonexistent. This is in part because the online students can rarely hear what anyone in the class is saying other than the teacher. A microphone stationed somewhere in the classroom can bridge the gap between virtual and physical students.

 

Another upgrade that I think will elevate the online learning experience is the addition of iPads and Apple Pencils. For most online students, the act of having to print all the papers that were previously handed to them in the class can be somewhat tedious. With an iPad and Apple Pencil, students won’t have to worry about printing anything at all. Scanning paperwork won’t have to be a thing either, as students will be able to share their work straight through their iPads. Moreover, this addition will make it much easier for all students, virtual or physical, to work together: Students will be able to collaborate on handwritten notes and show each other their work through several different apps. iPads would also eliminate the need for any heavy textbooks or binders, benefiting both virtual and physical students. Although students can open books and write notes on their MacBooks, the experience of pen and paper can only be replaced with an iPad.

 

Never before has the opportunity of full-time online learning existed at Ladue. This new form of learning provides the students the benefit of being anywhere and still having the opportunity to attend school. However, this new approach still needs a few upgrades to better accommodate the students’ needs. I think the online learning environment can be vastly improved with a few technical upgrades such as better cameras and microphones and the implementation of iPads. These changes can help students feel closer to their teachers and classmates without being physically present.