I, like many of my fellow students in New York City, have been doing school online for over a week now. Online school is preferable to in-school school for many reasons, a few of which I will explain here:
- YouTube > Teachers
Many of my teachers have assigned YouTube videos as part of daily lessons or homework. YouTube videos are much easier to learn from than mortal lecturers. Firstly, you don’t have to worry about missing anything they say because you can pause, rewind, rewatch, and use captions. This makes taking notes easier and makes it much easier to actually absorb the material rather than simply experiencing a talking spree from someone with a master’s degree.
Additionally, videos are always the same, so teachers don’t have to worry that they may have accidentally skipped something with one of their sections, and students don’t have to worry that their teacher might make a mistake when lecturing or forget to mention something important.
This also means teachers don’t have to repeat instructions. I’m aware that this is a major portion of their job, and I don’t want to take that away from them.
No, actually I do.
When teachers are forced to write down their instructions, and that’s where all their students are getting their instructions from, there is infinitely less confusion about what exactly the teacher said, or “What page were we supposed to turn to?”
It’s much more efficient to use computers as the communication intermediary than it is to use classroom air.
- Temporal Freedom
Not all schools are taking the same approach as Stuyvesant, but most of my classes don’t require us to do our work during the time we would have that period if we were in school. For any Zoom or Google Meet sessions, that’s the standard, but only one of my classes has daily live sessions, and most others have them only a few times per week or never.
Having the freedom to work at your own pace and with your own timing makes everything easier. Being able to go to the bathroom, grab snacks and water, and take naps whenever I feel like it makes school much easier.
Temporal freedom can also mean that if you don’t want to put off work due Monday for Saturday night and Sunday because some book told you you’re not allowed to work between sundown on Friday and sundown on Saturday, it’s much easier to get your work done on Friday because your don’t have to go to class. Or, if you’re in the habit of talking to your imaginary friend five times a day, that is also much easier to fit into your schedule.
- Better Focus
Having other students in a classroom with you doesn’t exactly breed focus. When you’re working on a Google Classroom assignment at home, the class clowns and their tomfoolery are kept far away from you. Nobody is going to randomly drop a metal water bottle, or if someone does, it was probably your fault. Nobody is going to hold up the entire class because they’re trying to explain the extremely plausible chain of events which lead to them not having their homework with them.
- Easier Student Management
There’s no more “I forgot the sheet at home,” or avoiding actually doing the homework because teachers normally just check it by walking around the classroom and cursorily glancing at whatever is on your desk. All homework is submitted online, so teachers always have access to exactly what you submitted and when you did so.
Having everything done on the internet, in a textual way, also makes it much more difficult for us to gaslight our teachers into thinking they forgot to tell us something or that they checked the homework yesterday. But that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.
- No Commute
Waking up, getting dressed, getting on the subway, standing on the subway, climbing many flights of stairs throughout the day because you never know which escalators are or aren’t working uses a lot of energy. When you don’t have to do those things, you can get more sleep and have more energy to use on your schoolwork. Additionally, being able to go to the bathroom and eat whenever you feel like it makes studying that much easier.
Online learning, for anybody with a fast internet connection, is so much better than in-school learning that I doubt anybody except the most devout extravert would choose to return to in-school learning any time soon.
For the downsides of online school, check back on Friday!