ASD shifts to virtual school and online learning; students have mixed feelings

An+empty+room+set+up+for+the+mock+AP%2FIB+exams+sat+vacant+after+the+announcement+of+school+closing.+

Photographer: Laranya P

An empty room set up for the mock AP/IB exams sat vacant after the announcement of school closing.

Laranya P., Reporter

You leisurely wake up at half-past seven, eating breakfast and going through your morning routine before sitting down on your bed and starting class. Throughout the day,  you eat whatever snacks you want, whenever you want, text your friends, and listen to music while completing classwork.

This is the reality for all of ASD’s students now that the school has been closed. The coronavirus has struck, and as of today, there are 262 confirmed cases in Qatar. Students’ opinions on virtual school are on opposite ends of the spectrum, contrasting greatly.

It is undeniable that the majority of students were ecstatic after hearing this news. Freshman A. Zamudio (’23) mentioned that “I’m happy because I no longer have 10-15 minutes to eat lunch because of the long lines at the cafeteria. Plus, I have more time to study for subjects that I need to focus on more.”

After weeks of testing, students are seeing this as an opportunity to de-stress and get ahead on classwork. These benefits of learning in a more relaxing environment, paired with the PACT day schedules, increased personal freedom, and ability to work at one’s pace, are key contributors to the appeal of virtual schooling.

On the other hand, some students believe that virtual learning is an obstacle to proper, effective learning. This is due to the difference in environment; the way by which we learn in school coerces friendly competition and participation, whereas virtual learning does the complete opposite.

Supporting this idea, H. Giri (’23) stated that “Virtual learning makes the ‘classroom experience’ of interacting with others and the teacher negligible. I feel that virtual learning may give more time for us to comprehend ideas and to work on projects and work, but it negates the experience of school, as going to school encompasses more than just academics. It’s about the entrenched values learned and the deepened roots of friendship that we develop.”

Additionally, the mock AP/IB exams have been taking place in school recently, and the few scheduled to take place after school was officially closed have been cancelled. Prior to the official announcement from the Qatari government, sophomores, too, were wishing for the school to shift to a virtual one, but only after the exams that they had shed blood, sweat, and tears preparing for were completed.

As with everything in life, there are positives and negatives. This will be no exception. An email from the HS Office reassured students by saying, “You are all ready for this and we know that you will accept the challenge of a different type of learning. You are a resilient and group of students and we know you will take this in your stride.”

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