Vernier Science Education - June  2024


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Distance Learning

Are Students Really Learning Virtually?

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Adamary Flores Adamary Flores 540 Points

This question has always been in my mind since the pandemic started and everything turned virtual for everyone. I work with Pk-4 students and some students are going to school and some chose to be virtual but, we can really see that the students going to school are grasping the content more than the ones virtually. So are students really learning virtually?

Samantha Reyna Samantha Reyna 570 Points

Hello Adamary, 

I have the same exact question because as we know unfortunately it is not the same to learn virtually and in person. There is definitely a different type of connection between the two. I ask myself this everyday but in some aspect I feel that we can only make the best of it. Therefore I feel like if these younger students have the support necessary they are learning some of the material. Perhaps not in the same way they would in person but to some extent. 

Taisha Noccius18 Taisha Noccius18 2040 Points

Hi, Adamary 

To answer students really learning virtually you would have to look at what is going on in your classroom. If students are answering questions and interacting during the lesson they must be learning. If students are not paying attention or really silently they may not be learning. The best thing you can do is try to make the lessons as engaging as possible. Maybe a Kahoot came through zoom. Today we have so many online learning centers that students can use to learn and improve. Assign classwork or homework on these platforms. There is no way they won't be learning on these platforms. You can also see their progress to know what is going on. I know the situation is complicated but we have to try to adapt to help the students.

Ryen Brusich Ryen Brusich 480 Points

Hello Adamary,

I am currently a student and I have both traditional and online classes; I learn in both types of classes, the only difference I have experienced is there is more interaction in a traditional face to face class, than in the virtual classroom setting.  For younger students that interaction between them and the teacher is the most beneficial to their learning, even if there are virtual meetings with the opportunity for interaction, there is still a disconnect between student and teacher.

Mariana Gonzalez Mariana Gonzalez 440 Points

I think that it is easier for students to learn in person rather than virtually, since virtually they are home and they can get distrcated more easily. Students will be more focused in a clasroom since the teacher is there and can grab their attention.

Nora Rinehart Nora Rinehart 370 Points

I've struggled with this question since the start of the pandemic. I began my first phase of student teaching 5 months after the pandemic began and I saw so many different people types. At my placement, I was in 4th grade and it was virtual the whole first semester. I had students who learned easily virtually, I had students who couldn't focus, I had students who didn't pay attention and I had students who had their parents do all of their work. Me personally, I learn better in person than virtually and having college for 3 semesters completely online was so much harder to do than having a traditional in person class. You can't connect with teachers and other students as much when your classes are online than you can when you have face to face classes. To take an online class, you have to have a strong will and good determination to complete the class. I think the only people who should even be given the option to have an online class are college students because they aren't missing out on their developmental years and they have more of a developed brain. It's easier for teachers to grab and keep attenion when everyone is in the same classroom, face to face. 

Julia Porpora Julia Porpora 260 Points

Being a student myself, I struggle to concentrate during my online classes. There are more distractions at home than there are in the physical classroom (pets, television, cell phones, and more). I personally believe that students learn more when they are in the classroom because there are less of these distractions. Due to online learning, many students have fallen behind in their educational journey and do not grasp the material as much as they would if their classes were in a physical classroom. In addition, when in the physical classroom, there is more of a connection between the teacher and the student; it is a more intimate learning experience. 

Danielle Burke Danielle Burke 190 Points

I think it is hard to truly see if students are actually learning virtually until work is due and you check for their understanding. At home, there are numerous distractions and most districts aren't requiring you to even have the camera on due to privacy issues, etc. So, as the teacher, you have no idea what they are doing and if they are even paying attention. Unfortunately, in the classroom, I have been student teaching in (and others) I have realized that virtual learning made a lot of students lazy and unmotivated. The transition back to in-person classes has been extremely tough and an entire year of being strictly online (potentially not learning much) has really shown in their day-to-day work as they aren't even understanding the most basic aspects of the material. Another issue has been the fact that the last year, students were not allowed to fail a class no matter what (at least in this district) and so they knew they could get away with not doing much, and unfortunately, a lot of students are still in that mindset. 

Jeremy Brown Jeremy Brown 700 Points

With the amount of homework given it's difficult for me to see how they are not learning to some degree. I think they are absorbing a lot of new content, the issue that presents itself to me is just how much of a strain on the long term learning capability of the students. It seems to me to be an endless creation of new memories, knowledge implantation, and caloric expenditure on the part of the students and over time, the students become overloaded and their executive functions(Organization, impulse control, and long term memory retreival) begin to break down. I think students have reached that point, but I do think there are some ways that this can be managed. 

Much like in a bodybuilder, where they overwork one muscle and it stops growing after a while, I think students should be given a new way to complete assignments so as to alternate their daily routine and suprise them with something new and potentially engaging. I think about continually rotating tests formats, recorded zoom partner discussions, and virtual field trip videos and reflections. Presently there does not seem to be much of an alternative option for students to meet their yearly learning. 

The other concern is how do you get the students away from the screen for a short time to get some exercise and activity into their lives? I like the idea of coupling the learning with a backyard adventure, social studies and it's accompanying geography/even geology sections perhaps can come in great use here. These are just some brainstorming ideas I have, hopefully everyone found something in this post interesting. Take care of everyone, be well and happy thanksgiving. 

Elaine Wilson Harlie Cox 40 Points

It depends on the students and the teacher. There are students who refuse to study at school and at home. And there are teachers who are unable to teach ... There are also really cases when someone does not have enough awareness of digital technologies. But in most cases, students who really have a desire to learn learn at the same pace as before. That's my opinion.

Rudi Rowe Rudi Rowe 30 Points

Harlie, I totally agree with you!

Jessa Hamilton Jessa Hamilton 30 Points

Do students learn virtually? The question is complex. From my own experience, I can say that it is more likely no than yes. But this is strictly individual. I met people who received 2 and 3 higher educations remotely thanks to services such as , which help in writing various articles and abstracts. I can’t attribute myself to such. It all depends on how much a person is able to assimilate information on their own.

Alexandra Gann Alexandra Gann 240 Points

Hi Jessa, 

I am a third year college student, and can agree with you completely from my own experiences in the classroom, as well as student teaching hours. I have noticed that in the classroom I am observing im, students are showing that they almost missed a whole year of learning.  The skills they need for the grade they are in aren't present, because they didn't learn the year before due to the pandemic. 

Mia Vessell Mia Vessell 500 Points

Hi, I definitely believe that students are not learning virtually. Students learn better when they are in a physical classroom and can concentrate way better in a classroom. I am a student teacher and I've noticed that several students are not meeting the required skills in their grade level.  


Madison Monath Madison Monath 270 Points

Being a student in college and a student teacher in both elementary and middle school during the pandemic, I can honestly say that the situation varies from student to student. Several students do not excel when it comes to distance learning. Students lost their attention, do not join class, and/or do not keep up with assignments. This response from students shows us teachers and future teachers that not all students are actually learning virtually. 

Rebecca Do Rebecca Do 1440 Points

Hello Adamary, 

This a great question. I do believe that there were some students who did learn virtually durning the pandemic. Durning the pandemic, I did observations at a school that did in-person and online learning. The teacher said most of her students were able to pay attention, do their work, and ask for help when they did virtual learning. However, there were many students who do not learn virtually. Students got easily distracted, wasn't taking learning seriously, had wifi issues, did not attend class, etc. These were somethings I witnessed myself and heard from other teachers. Like what most people said, it does depend on the students and the teachers. Overall, students learn more in the classroom than learning online. It is easier for teachers to teach in a classroom because they have all their materials, the student's materials, can put up visuals to help students, use the white boards/smart boards, more interaction, etc.  

Stephanie Briggs Stephanie Briggs 760 Points

Now that most students are back in the classroom it is easy to see who struggled and who did not.  I think some of the biggest issues we had with online learning was that either parents did work or studnets turned in nothing at all.  This was not true of all students.  Some did the work and came back to in person learning right where they need to be.  Others came well below where they needed to be.  We have had to spend so much time trying to get them caught up that I'm unsure they will be quite ready for the next grade.  Right now it is all about closing the knowledge gap they have.

Laura Limon Laura Limon 1050 Points

I definitely think that students learn more in person than online. At home, there are so many distractions, and it is hard for the student to focus and get in the learning mode while the couch or bed is so close by. However, virtual teachers do work very hard to keep the students focused and engaged, and I know that is a hard thing to do.

Manuel Vera Manuel Vera 290 Points

Hello Adamary,

As a current student myself, I find it difficult to do online learning at times and this is me as an adult. I can't imagine what younger students may be going through as well as their teachers. For me, being able to have interaction with my peers and teachers is something that I took for granted and the time that we were not able to spend in the classroom was something that became difficult for me. For the younger students that interaction with their peers and teachers is what will benefit them the most in their learning. 

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