Parents always seem to be lecturing their kids about spending too much time looking at screens, but nowadays screen time seems unavoidable with so much of school being online.
Weston specifically has adopted the hybrid model of learning, which is positive because students and faculty are on screens less than they would be if fully remote. However, online days mean lots of time looking at a screen, and being on Zoom. While Zoom has made it possible for learning to happen from home, spending an entire day on the platform affects users in various negative ways.
“Being on zoom all day makes me feel like a zombie,” English teacher Claire Schomp described. “I feel like everything runs together and I look forward to my screen free time.”
The Weston model used to run on a schedule that involved more independent work through December of 2020. However, with Massachusetts state guidelines requiring more synchronous and “face to face” learning, more Zoom times were implemented. While in theory this seems great that the students and teachers are getting more time together, they would rather spend less time on screens.
“I feel like the online class times can be improved. We are online for too long during the day,” senior Sam Ross commented. “The older structure was way more effective. Asynchronous time in the morning got me up and got my brain functioning. Now, my mind feels fuzzy and exhausted.”
Zoom after Zoom, students and faculty are faced with the mental health hurdles that come with Zoom fatigue. People are having a hard time staying happy during this difficult period, as it is, so sitting at a desk on Zoom for countless hours a day definitely does not help.
“We are spending a lot of our time on our computers, so having to join a lot of Zooms negatively impacts my mental health as I’m sitting on my computer at my desk for the majority of the school day,” sophomore Julia Hanson stated. “I’m then spending even more time on my computer completing online homework assignments.”
Furthermore, the efficiency of learning is negatively impacted during remote days as it is challenging to learn and teach through a screen.
“I think it’s harder to learn in Zoom, because I can’t really raise my hand if the teacher is teaching the in person class too,” freshman Bridget Delduchetto said. “I also don’t want to interrupt the teacher while they are speaking.”
Students’ motivation levels drop as they spend their days staring at a computer screen rather than enjoying their high school experience with teachers and classmates.
“At the end of an online day, I feel disillusioned. I’m looking in the mirror like… ‘wow I just spent 6 hours looking at a screen, and retained no information. Should I drop out?’” junior Mikey Steinberg said. “I have spent my entire childhood schooling experience worried about grades and college. For the first time, I realize how ridiculous this all is!”
The one year mark of school being shut down is approaching, and it is still difficult adapting to the constant changes and new ways of life.
“I don’t think anybody can be engaged all day long, so it is an impossible request to ask students to stay focused and perform at their best when always on zoom,” Schomp stated. “I feel as if I am being asked to do more work than I can do as well. We all need to be very flexible and supportive, because everybody is challenged right now.”