News Feature: Students seek structure in an online learning environment

Danielle Giovenco, Staff Writer

One student sits at her desk waiting patiently for her teacher to let her into the Zoom class; meanwhile, another student wakes up to attend her class from the comfort of her bed. A former HEHS student who now attends Merrillville High School also sits on her bed, awaiting entry into her Google classroom.

Since COVID-19 became a threat to the world, many schools have decided to go remote for the safety of their staff and students. This new way of learning has presented difficulties when it comes to staying focused. Without focus, students can earn less-than-ideal grades, ones they wouldn’t normally see had it not been for the pandemic.

“It’s harder because I never really realized how much I needed the school environment to get out of home life,” said Maelynn Ratha Aceron, sophomore.

While it is understandable that remote learning became the norm due to the pandemic, it has meant struggle for some students in terms of staying focused and finding the structure they need to learn.

The effects of remote learning

Since learning has become remote, students like Maelynn Ratha Aceron and Caitlyn Karecki, both HEHS sophomores, have found learning in this remote-world to be weird.

Karecki said there can be more stress and a lack of motivation now that all of school is housed in one iPad.

For HEHS students, and other schools around the nation, school no longer offers the same socialization and connection opportunities since school takes place via an electronic device instead of in a building with other students and staff. Students have had to learn how they can best learn now that this is the reality.

Aceron has found herself working in different areas in her room in order to create some kind of structure to her school day. She said although she may not be in school, she has discovered that she can be more productive in one spot over another.

Finding an ideal workspace

Finding an ideal workspace can make all of the difference in terms of focus.  For some students, working from bed is the best fit. “I sit on my bed,” said Ambree Dawson, a senior at MHS. “It honestly doesn’t affect my work ethic.”

Others have opted to keep their beds as places for sleep and not for studying.

“I sit at my desk because it is good for focus,” said Karecki. Aceron also finds her desk to be the best place for her to get her work done.

For some students, however, staying in the same place doesn’t always work. They need to switch it up.

Staying focused from one class to the next

It is easy for many students to wake up in their bed and stay there all day. While that works for some students, others need somewhere else to go in order to keep focus.

Students have been finding different areas to be helpful in their everyday life. For example, Aceron found a desk to be her to go to while Dawson prefers her bed. Aceron, however, said that she is also able to get work done from her bed, depending on the task.

Other students have found ways to mimic a school day, changing their learning environments from one period to the next. By switching up where they sit, they could possibly find better focus for each class with a fresh start in a new area.

While moving rooms can help students feel as if they are having a passing period, there can be a challenge if there is too much noise in the learning environment.

Savannah Sherrel, a former HEHS student now living in Tacoma, Washington, said she wants to change up her learning environment throughout the day but family members sometimes “want to talk to everyone” making it tough to move out of one room into another. If this idea is possible, but too noisy, students like Sherrel could also look into noise canceling earbuds to keep engaged in their virtual classroom.