Is Coronavirus-19 pushing us to a digital world? We always knew that we were heading toward a world where students would connect to a virtual classroom. Many movies, including Ready Player 1, portrays our apocalyptic future, in which humanity destroys the world and has no choice but to live in a locked-up room and do all activities on-line. We never thought this day would come so soon, but the reality hit when the Coronavirus outbreak happened in Incheon, and my school, Chadwick International decided to opt for safer means, -digital distance learning.
|[The author taking a class digitally/ Photo Credit: Gloria Seyeon Park]|
On my first day of distance learning, I woke up at 7:30, happy that I didn’t have to wake up at 6 to catch the school bus to Incheon. I quickly brushed my teeth and sat down on my desk with a bowl of oatmeal, then I logged into google classroom to view my daily assignments. Checking each class, I was surprised by the amount of work that was due. But then on the second thought, I realized that the workload was roughly tantamount to what we would be doing in school. In completing the assignment, there were videos we had to watch and articles to read. In addition, we had to participate in group discussions via google hangouts at designated times. I picked up a spoonful of my oatmeal and started my lesson.
I started my first lesson by joining a math video chat with my teammates. We all said hello, a bit awkward by the fact that it was online, and made sure that everyone was logged in. The assignment was to make a textbook about the system of equations. We looked through every page of the book and discussed how to improve each page. The teacher would come into the chatrooms to check our participation. In the middle of the chat, I even forgot that we were online. I behaved exactly as I do in discussions offline. By the end of our video chat, we made plans for when we would next meet. After taking a short break, I proceeded to open my Spanish assignment: learning a new conjugation. I was instructed to watch a YouTube video about the conjugation to solve a digital worksheet. When solving my worksheet, I observed myself constantly relying on the translator to understand what the question or word meant because asking a question through email would take a long time for a response. Somehow, I was able to finish the work.
[The author in an online discussion for a team project/
Looking at the half-eaten oatmeal now cold and dry, I realized that it was noon and I should break for lunch. Eating my sandwich with my dog made me feel very lonely compared to our chaotic cafeteria where I would talk about the latest tidbits with my group of friends. This was when I decided to finish the rest of my sandwich while video chatting with my best friend. While munching my sandwich, we talked about our days and about corona virus. I felt a little better. After lunch, I worked on the remaining assignments of the day on my desk.
Through distance learning, I feel like I experienced the future of education. The benefits of distance learning were obvious. We saved time, got to learn at our own speed, and we felt more independent. Although switching to a digital curriculum seems inevitable, digital learning doesn’t feel right to me yet. I miss physically sitting on a desk next to my friends giggling. I miss my teacher’s expression of puzzlement when I make a strange comment. All in all, distance learning was a good experience but isn’t something I would look forward to everyday.
Gloria Park firstname.lastname@example.org
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