Mason's Monologue

I’d like to formally introduce myself. My name, as the header suggests, is Mason. I’ve been working for the INH for a year now covering Browerville sports. I’m a senior in high school. I’ve been doing photography since I was fifteen years old, but have never written anything professionally until now, though I have a passion for both. I’ve lived in the great little town of Long Prairie all my life. The topic at hand this week is my first impressions of the new online schooling system every school in the state has switched to called distance learning. I’ll write this as I go on a day by day basis. Day 1: We basically just checked in with each other, talked about what we’ve been doing over the past couple weeks, we discussed what future classes are going to look like and we just conversed and caught up with each other. Today was a relatively short meeting as it was more of a preparation day to get up to speed on what’s happening in upcoming days. So what are future online classes going to look like? In my case, we got binders with packets and some short stories we’re able to work on at our own pace along with some digital work in a program called Google Classroom. Our online classes each day will be structured around our packet work mixed in with some material on our digital work if there is any. Days 2 and 3: These two days were much the same. We logged on, talked about any questions we had about homework or otherwise, talked about what’s going on in our lives for a little bit, then logged off, all in about a 15 minute span. It’s quite a simple system, really, and it works really well. It helps that most of our work is all on paper as well. It has certain days assigned to it so you’re able to stay on schedule. Online work is just checking in for attendance and checking what we need to do for our elective credit. It’s simple and smooth. Not all schools are having it this easy, though. Some schools are having issues that they can’t quite control such as technology failure. Due to the huge volume of students constantly logging on and using these programs all over the country, the platforms on which the students get all their work are crashing sometimes multiple times a day. Now this issue is beyond anybody’s control­—the servers just weren’t designed to have this heavy of a workload all at one time. That’s not to say that this issue will never be taken care of, but fixing that problem isn’t an easy endeavor by any means. I personally wouldn’t be surprised if they have to build new servers from the ground up to handle the workload. The other issue I’ve been informed of is that the students’ teachers are under-prepared for the task they’re being told to take on. Don’t get me wrong, I’m by no means saying that setting up a curriculum that’s completely online and being expected to teach it with online meetings and videos is an easy task. So, what do I think of distance learning after having a few days to really experience it? I think it’s got its hiccups and weak points. It may take a couple weeks or longer to get it running smoother. I don’t think it’s easy for any one of us—students, teachers, internet service providers, etcetera—but we will get through this. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel and we’re getting closer and closer to it every day we push through this. I’d like to say something to all the parents of children doing distance learnings: I know how difficult all of this is for you—from helping your kids with learning things you probably haven’t used since you were in school to just finding someone to watch them every day while you’re working—I know it’s difficult for you, trust me, it’s just as difficult for us. We will get through this and it’ll be over before we know it. We just have to have faith in our teachers and in our schools. And’s just as difficult for them.


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