The Great Quarantine of 2020 has taken a toll on all of us as individuals. Groups and institutions, such as schools and churches, have been hurt too, and have made decisions to stray from their normal activities to "flatten the curve." For many, school was moved online for the rest of the semester in March. How exactly does this move to online school from traditional, in-person teaching affect the education of students?

First of all, there’s nothing like the friends you can make at school. In many circumstances, your classmates are your childhood friends. There’s no way to parallel the quick and easy way to ask questions that raising your hand gives you, although systems such as Canvas and TrackerGoogle Classroom attempt to help with this through comments. There are certain things in a traditional classroom, like the ones I’ve shown, that absolutely cannot be rivalled by online classes. However, there are certain things in online class that traditional schooling just won’t do.

Possibly the greatest advantage to online school is that you have a LOT more time to do your work and many more resources to do it with. Another great thing that online school allows is for students and teachers to do their work from the comfort of their own home, and work on their own schedule. These advantages do come at a cost. One such disadvantage to remote learning is that there’s not as much of an opportunity for group work. It’s absolutely possible using collaborative online tools such as the online document software I originally wrote this in (for a school assignment that I decided would make a great blog post), and chat programs such as Discord, Zoom, and iMessage/FaceTime.

Laptop and phone on wooden desk at window with lamp
Online school might take place in a setting like this. Photo by Roberto Nickson / Unsplash.

There’s no doubt that there are irreplaceable social opportunities during in-person education. These social opportunities vanish into thin air with the more godlike power that online tools grant teachers. It’s illogical to decide between the two when there’s a better option, which some teachers have already begun working towards. It is possible to combine the advantages of online tools with in-person learning. One way this could be executed is by having online live sessions while also having students in class. This is already done by some businesses, and they’ve called it “telepresence.” Overall, my verdict is that the best course of action is to combine the advantages of both approaches: in-person learning and remote, as soon as this whole thing is over.