Pros of Online Learning

After word spread that the coronavirus had reached Pittsburgh, many students thought we would have one or two weeks off from school at most. What started as an extended spring break turned into a summer of quarantine and the beginning of online school. The pandemic has caused many issues in day-to-day life and many inconveniences for students and teachers. As we adjust to virtual learning and teaching, looking at the pros could come in handy.

Participating in online learning offers a skill set that is widely favored by future employers, according to Northeastern University. Skills such as demonstrated self-motivation, better time management, refined critical thinking, and improved technical abilities are all skills that many students across the world are using by participating in online learning. Although it may seem like a burden, navigating and becoming comfortable with your school’s software and online programs could have beneficial outcomes.

During the school year, the topic of school lunches had always been talked about among students and staff. Being fed mystery meat and chocolate milk at ten in the morning probably wasn’t serving students very well. Food is the most potent drug we can give ourselves and now that every student is eating at home, it gives many the opportunity to have access to fresh food.

“I’m able to teach outside and go on walks during lunch which is quite rejuvenating. I am spending less money on gas and helping the environment,” said Allderdice art teacher Ms. Mager. Getting fresh air and exercise throughout the day can help with mental clarity, which makes the tasks at hand easier to accomplish. Both students and teachers are benefiting from the flexibility of online learning.

“Even though it’s not the same, I do like the organization of everything in one place and fully accessible to each student,” said Mrs. Galloway-Barr, an Allderdice English teacher.

Although working online does offer some benefits, the online routine can cause problems for students with unstable home lives or mental health issues. Many students find it’s hard to stay focused while in their own home and that being in school gave them a separate place to focus.

After interviewing some Allderdice students, a common factor in their online experiences was missing the routine of in-person school and having communication issues with teachers and technology problems. A somewhat unstable learning platform can make an already difficult task even harder.

“Online learning hasn’t been great for my mental health, and it seems impossible to keep up on work and ask for help because many of my teachers don’t get back to me in time,” said Allderdice senior Liam Gomez.

“For me school was the one thing that was consistent and something I genuinely looked forward to because I wouldn’t have to be alone the whole day. It seemed like teachers and classmates cared if I showed up or not, which was motivation for me to come to school every day,” said Isa Mandarino, who is a freshman at Allderdice, spending her first year of high school online. 

While online school may be difficult or simply not the same as in-person learning, there are some skills that we’ve been using that can possibly be implemented in “in-person learning” such as better time management, technical abilities, and problem solving when things don’t always work out. Those that are participating in hybrid learning will have a chance to test the waters of in-person learning during the pandemic and have the opportunity to put some of these skills to use.