Hybrid learning this year has completely changed what school is like for me. Of course, there are many cases where online learning will never be able to fully live up to the standards of in-person learning, even with the best technology, and for this reason I still prefer in-person learning in most cases. For example, this year we couldn’t do a lot of science experiments online because most of us didn’t have the necessary equipment at home. This slowed down our science class a bit. Also, there’s just something about MS Teams meetings that makes me feel very “disconnected” from the other people in the meeting, making the environment feel oddly formal to the point where I become much more hesitant to speak. However, there definitely are some advantages of online learning and lessons that the pandemic has taught us.
Managing my work digitally is almost always much easier for me than having to keep track of lots of papers; everything is just really easy to access with a couple clicks of a mouse, and typing is at least two or three times as fast as writing on paper. When working independently, my productivity is much higher using a laptop.
Even when working with other people, I find it really helpful to be able to send messages to my classmates outside of school time through email and MS Teams. Nevertheless, in terms of productivity, nothing compares to working with my classmates in-person; it’s just much easier and more effective to talk in real life than to talk in a virtual meeting.
I also find it very easy to get distracted by YouTube or other activities when working on a laptop, which is one of the disadvantages of having everything at your fingertips. I tend to get stuck staring at a screen for long periods of time without moving around, which is probably not the best for my eyes or for my health in general.
I found technology to be really useful for my in-depth project this year. It was really helpful for communication between me and my mentor. It was extremely effective because my topic was learning how to code. Zoom allowed me and my mentor to share our screens with each other and show our code. We also used GitHub to upload code to a remote repository where both of us could easily access it, which allowed us to collaborate well. For this project, there really was no need for anything in-person.
I also used technology a lot for group presentations I did with other classmates in marketing/business class in term 3. We usually talked together in call while working on the PowerPoint together. Since the group was usually only three for four people, we didn’t really have to worry about muting our mics, so we just left them on all the time. We were able to meet on the weekends, outside of school, which was really useful because the due dates of the projects were usually on Tuesdays.
Hybrid learning has taught us many lessons and has given us the opportunity to try out new technology. After school returns to normal, I think it is a good idea to keep using our laptops and to do most our work digitally whenever possible. I also think it would be beneficial to continue using technology to communicate with my friends and classmates outside of school, but only when necessary, as I find I sometimes get distracted from my work.