Lowry students forced to distance learning after Coronavirus outbreak

Lowry students forced to distance learning after Coronavirus outbreak

By Octavio Ruiz and Otila Castaneda Posted April 19, 2020

With schools canceled because of the Coronavirus, distance learning is temporarily the only way students will continue learning until things are better. 

Tristan Miller, a senior this year, finds working at home harder to have a good work ethic.

“It’s boring but not too difficult. I only have one class at the high school this year so it’s not as bad for me as others,” said Miller. “I definitely enjoy learning or going to school better. It’s nice to see my friends and it helps to give my day a good schedule.”

Miller’s favorite part about distance learning is not having to wake up early every morning but misses going to school. “It’s a lot of staying at home,” said Miller towards online school.

Anjolie Karrer, a junior this year at Lowry thinks the transition from working at school to at home has been hard to handle and is something not meant for everyone.

“I would say it was very difficult for me, it’s hard to go to school where you’re supposed to learn to go home where I usually get a break from schoolwork and relax but now I have to mix the two,” said Karrer. “It’s also hard to find the motivation to do the work but on the bright side of it is that I have all day to work on an assignment instead of working on it for an hour and then go to another classroom.”

Karrer is using different online sources to continue her learning.

“I’m using Google Docs a lot through Google Classroom, also some of my teachers directly email the assignments for us to work on,” said Karrer.

Assignments Ruben Garcia works on from home./Courtesy • Ruben Garcia
Assignments Ruben Garcia works on from home./Courtesy • Ruben Garcia

Anjolie describes the change in the environment as difficult from working in a school surrounded by classmates and teachers to learn from home. 

“Oh yes the environments are completely different so it’s hard working on assignments because it’s not like homework,” said Karrer. 

Sophomore Arianna Ruiz says she isn’t a big fan of distance learning and is fond of school more.

“I need people around me in order to motivate me to work, but it’s a good solution to the problems we are facing,” said Ruiz. “I think the first week I definitely did better at keeping on top of my work but so far things are going good.”

Although Ruiz does not enjoy distance learning much there are a few things she likes about it.

“I get to choose what I want to work on at which time and can take breaks whenever,” said Ruiz.

Three sculpture pieces that were created from home during distance learning./Courtesy • Julia Topholm, Hannah Toth, Mick Coleman, Dharma Fifield
Three sculpture pieces that were created from home during distance learning./Courtesy • Julia Topholm, Hannah Toth, Mick Coleman, Dharma Fifield

Ruben Garcia, a freshman has found online learning a difficult transition from working at school. 

“I’ve handled it pretty well,” said Garcia. “It’s frustrating at times trying to understand what teachers are asking us and exactly what we have to learn but once you get the hang of what you’re learning it’s simple. It gets distracting being at home and doing work at the same time.” 

Garcia would rather go to school than online because of the environment, the people he is surrounded by and the learning. 

“Personally going to actual school is way better,” said Garcia. “Having an actual teacher to teach a lesson is way easier to understand than just assigning an assignment on google classroom. And we get to see our friends when we go to actual school.”

Garcia explains one thing he likes about distance learning.

“Starting work when I want and doing it at my own pace is nice. I enjoy being able to have some free time in between my work,” said Garcia.

Teachers are doing all the work online and although some methods are similar some teachers are doing things very differently, it just depends on the teachers and the subject. 

Julia Topholm the sculpture teacher is having her students create projects with the items that they have at home. She is keeping in contact with them through Google Classroom, emails and providing packets that they can pick up at the main office, phone calls, and zoom meetings for demo instructions. 

Distance learning can be a huge learning curve and can take a little getting used to but everyone is doing what needs to be done to keep us all safe. The transition for the Art students has been hard. 

“The challenges have been adjusting project plans to allow students to be creative at home and work with the supplies they have at home,” said Topholm.

In order for distance learning to be successful communication is crucial. Topholm explains the methods she has been using to keep in contact with her students. 

”Contact methods that have been successful for me have been emails and providing the hard copy packets, as well as phone calls,” said Topholm. “I have used Zoom for meeting purposes but I am still working on possible use for demo instruction.”

Mrs. Holly Meyer and Mrs. Jennifer Partee are both English teachers that handled the transition fairly well. They established their students on Google Classroom before all of this happened so they were familiar with long-distance learning as well as their students. 

”Many students have transitioned into distance learning fairly smoothly, but it is difficult when there are a number of students who don’t have access to a computer or the internet at their homes,” said Meyer. “Though we have packets available for the students to pick up and drop off.”

Arianna Ruiz working on her Ecology project in Google Docs./Courtesy • Arianna Ruiz
Arianna Ruiz working on her Ecology project in Google Docs./Courtesy • Arianna Ruiz

For any of her students that have questions and concerns Mrs. Meyer and Mrs. Partee are having weekly zoom meetings with their students for a chance to ask questions about the assignments. She has also been answering questions through email as well as sending reminders. 

Meyer describes some of the benefits that come with distance learning and how it teaches students to be self-disciplined.

”This also forces students to create schedules and strict deadlines that they must follow in order to get their work completed on time,” said Meyer. “In fact, it seems like many students are learning a lot about the self-discipline that is required to follow schedules and force themselves to work from home.

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