Desireé Williams, Howard University News Service
The COVD19 pandemic has forced many daily activities online. American people have had to rely more on technology to do the things that they never needed it for. The pandemic has left more than 55 million school-aged children without access to in-person classroom instruction, counseling, and other services. Across colleges and universities, it is estimated that at least 14 million students have been forced to attend school online.
Jada Melton, who is in the fourth grade, said that she does not enjoy going to school online. Melton sees herself as more of a hands-on learner. Melton shared that the technical issues make it hard as well to truly learn in this situation. “The teacher’s computers are always messing up and sometimes our wifi goes out,” she said.
Melton is not the only student who has experienced challenges with technology. Outside of wifi issues, some students do not have the proper tools needed to access their classes online. One of the most critical opportunity gaps is the uneven access to the devices and internet access critical to learning online. This digital divide has made it virtually impossible for some students to learn during the pandemic.
This task can be even harder for younger children who are learning to get the hang of school. Capturing the attention of primary school children is a feat within itself and it gets harder when they are in the comfort of their own home. Jaylen Melton, Jada Melton’s little brother, is a second-grader who is also participating in online learning. Jaylen Melton finds it difficult to participate in school activities when he has his PlayStation 4 at his fingertips. Who wouldn’t right? While children are used to spending an exuberant amount of time on the web for leisure purposes, sitting to learn an entire lesson is something that they must get acclimated to overtime.
Along with students, educators have had their ups and downs with school online as well. Fannetta Jones who is a high school educator tells about her struggle with teaching students. “As an educator during this pandemic, it’s been pretty hard keeping students motivated at times as we all adjust to what is going on,” she says “While students have always had challenges outside of school that they manage, this one is so different.” Jones says that she has had students who have contracted the virus and had lost family members due to the virus. “Were expected to just keep pushing along. It’s unreasonable– but we are mandated to keep things as “normal” as possible, despite this being anything but a normal experience,” Jones said.