Virtual learning and remote working post-pandemic

REMOTE WORKING by both students and adults has changed our perception of collaboration. Velocity Global

Harrison York | Editor-in-Chief

October 3, 2021

Long before the pandemic, students experienced rapid change. Every year, thousands of Tritons received new schedules, teachers, and classmates. The seniors headed off to college and the freshman class moved up from the local middle schools. Students watched fall’s Friday night lights fade to finals week and Christmas break, and returned to a new year and semester. In 2020, however, students watched the turn of the decade and the spread of COVID-19.

In March of that year, schools, sports, and the rest of the world shut down for a supposed two-week quarantine. As the weeks turned into months, the 2019-2020 school year slowly slipped away, the difficulty of the transition leaving both students and teachers scattered. 

In order to adapt to the online environment, the Capistrano Unified School District adopted Canvas for the 2020-2021 school year, an education management program providing more extensive tools than previous software like School Loop and Google Classroom. Google Meets and Zoom were also used daily, students becoming accustomed to the various communication mediums. Now, although school is back in person, Canvas remains.

“Even though Canvas was difficult to get used to,” senior Vance Sibley said, “it is useful in listing assignments and their due dates for each class.” Being able to see all of our tasks in one place, along with grades and school emails, is convenient. Canvas’ connection to Google Drive provides for easy creation and submission of documents, as well as real-time collaboration between students. “Having rubrics and instructions available at all times in modules gives support when doing homework,” Sibley added. “It’s beneficial to be able to submit when I finish assignments rather than having to wait for them to be collected.”

Classrooms are sticking to the document scanning and integrated Google Drive submission methods available through Canvas. Each student has also been assigned a Chromebook for use with schoolwork and at home. These computers can be monitored through NetRef software, but offer access to all the digital tools that continue to be heavily used.

The decision to keep using technology in the classroom has been supported by a majority of students, and there isn’t much incentive to go back.

“I don’t want to go back,” senior Chase Geyer said. “It’s so nice to have all of my assignments [on Canvas]. I used to use School Loop and a planner, but now I don’t have to write everything down. It’s much easier, and I don’t see a real reason to go back.” Geyer’s sentiments are echoed by many students (though not all) who have all grown up using technology outside of the classroom.

CALENDAR VIEW on Canvas gives students an overview of upcoming assignments. Instructure

It’s faster, more convenient, and prepares students for the utilization of similar tools later in life. All across the world, schools are seeing the practicality of computers as a step forward in education, but schools are not the only places affected by these persistent changes.

Throughout the pandemic, workplaces also transitioned to remote models, having employees work at home and communicate in virtual meetings. Yet even with the option to return to the office, many want to continue working remotely. 

Big tech companies like Amazon, Facebook, and Microsoft allow remote work for at least a few days out of the week, with many smaller corporations following suit. Apple has been divided over the issue as workers protest being required to return to the office at least three days a week. Two petitions have been created demanding the option of working remotely permanently. Combined, these forms have gained over 1,000 signatures, with several employees speaking out against Apple executives or resigning over the issue.

“Over time, a lot of people started to realize how great things were going as we were working from home,” one Apple employee explained. Workers see the option to stay home as liberating, giving them more time to spend with their family. This also eliminates commute time and workplace-related stresses. “This is a huge opportunity to essentially poach talent from companies that are just too rigid,” an industry executive commented. If Apple refuses to allow options for its workers, many might leave in search of more accommodating positions.

The pandemic accelerated the incorporation of technology into schools and workplaces. It provided us with virtual alternatives to create, communicate, and accomplish tasks, all without concern for distance. As the world opens back up, the positive developments of the pandemic may remain as we recognize their value. With a newfound and necessary dependence on these new tools, the pandemic will affect our world well into the future. 

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