By Kaitlyn Bell
As autumn continues, the students and staff at New Hyde Park Memorial are learning and growing with this year's new set of challenges. As routine sets in, students are learning more about how to guarantee a good educational environment during the coronavirus pandemic. At NHP, a remote/hybrid learning plan has been implemented. The students who chose at-home instruction attend Google Meets everyday and follow their schedules as if in school. As for hybrid learning, two groups of students switch from in-school to remote instruction every other day.
Artwork by Sabeena Ramdarie, @jammin_with_jelly
Some students have chosen to participate in fully remote classes, while others return to school with the hybrid model.
As with everything, challenges and questions come with hybrid and remote learning. Specific protocols are mandated while others are advised to students and staff. Mandated precautions, such as face masks, sanitation, social distancing, and daily forms, are implemented during in-school learning; they can now be considered a new normal.
Hybrid learning is an important compromise during this difficult time for students. It allows for a normal routine and education as well as acknowledges the necessary safety measures. Students provide mixed feelings about hybrid learning for reasons such as focus, productivity, and effectiveness.
“When we are at home I tend to lose focus easily, but when I am at school I am more productive and understand everything a lot better...”
“When we are at home I tend to lose focus easily, but when I am at school I am more productive and understand everything a lot better,” said freshman Alexa Stec.
Regarding remote learning, some students are having difficulty focusing at home. Distractions in the surrounding environment can make it difficult for students to learn when not in school. Hybrid learning contrasts greatly from a traditional school environment in many ways. Because of remote learning and students being in school only on opposite hybrid days, classroom sizes are significantly smaller.
Another adjustment is the bell schedule and hallway time. To ensure students are spread throughout the school, classes have been shortened by five minutes, school starts later and ends earlier, allowing more time to let students out of classes. Although the hallway time is only increased by two minutes, the change from four to six minutes feels significantly longer.
While addressing contrasting views, remote and hybrid learning are very different approaches to learning, and both work differently for students. Hybrid learning provides a sense of normalcy for students.
“Personally, I like hybrid learning. I don’t think I would want to switch to remote, though, because I feel as though hybrid is the closest thing to a usual school schedule,” said freshman Mia Cho.
“While technology can serve to enhance traditional teaching, there is no substitute for real-world personal interaction...”
Remote learning is considered safer but is a completely new learning environment. For some students it is ineffective, others are becoming used to the routine. With the help of technology and apps such as Google Classroom, Schoology, and Remind, technological problems have become seldom, with the exception of Google Meet.
During Google Meets, remote and hybrid students are mandated to have their cameras on throughout the class, and some classes count it as a participation grade. This is a controversial rule as many students prefer to have their cameras off during the day, but through a teacher's perspective, it is difficult to talk to empty screens. In addition, issues with the WiFi, especially on rainy days, affect the connection and create lag.
Since the start of March when the term “remote learning” arose, teachers' education plans had to completely change.
“From an instructional standpoint, the type of collaborative activities teachers can employ are more limited. While technology can serve to enhance traditional teaching, there is no substitute for real-world personal interaction,” said English teacher Dr. Yen.
“Interaction and communication are very important details of education, especially during the pandemic...”
With the reduced amount of students in classrooms, the six feet social distancing guideline, and a majority of the student population at home, group work has become difficult. Interaction and communication are very important details of education, especially during the pandemic.
Although there are many different changes that make education difficult as the year goes on, everyone has started to set a routine. At first, the idea of remote and hybrid learning seemed impossible. A slew of questions were asked, and the numerous possibilities of problems were constant thoughts when discussing education this year. But with hard work, dedication, and motivation, students and teachers have successfully implemented plans for the year.