Software for the Pandemic

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Software for the Pandemic

Feb 26, 2021

While most students have experienced online class since the beginning of the pandemic, I have not. When I found out classes would be online for the entirety of the spring 2020 semester, I made the difficult decision to postpone my studies until fall 2021. Unfortunately for me, the pandemic is still ongoing and classes will remain online for the foreseeable future, meaning I had no choice but to re-enroll in school and continue my education online. Although I have not experienced zoom school for long, I can already say that struggling to focus and retain information from online classes. Therefore, there are a few things that I have thought of to make this experience a little bit more manageable. This could include making classes more interactive, giving students more breaks, and allowing students the chance to work together.

First of all, to keep students engaged during a lecture, it is important to make classes more interactive. Teachers can do this without compromising the quality of education that students are receiving by incorporating reliable softwares and websites into their lectures. For example, Wooclap is allows teachers to reach their students through 20 different methods of interaction where students can answer specific questions set by the teacher. This not only motivates students to be engaged in class, but also allows teachers to understand how well their students are responding to the material they are giving them. Another website that both teachers and students love is Kahoot. This website was widely used during in-person classes to quiz students in an enjoyable manner. Since most teachers are already familiar with the way Kahoot works, they could easily incorporate it into their classes. Lastly, one of the most accessible softwares is Microsoft PowerPoint. While this is usually used to make presentations, it can also be used unconventionally as a way to make learning fun. Through PowerPoint teachers can create templates that mimic popular games such as Jeopardy to teach their material.  Furthermore, many softwares and websites have allowed teachers to use their content for free during the pandemic, which is useful for schools with small budgets.

Second of all, since classes are in person, teachers should understand that staring at a computer screen for multiple hours a day is draining. Because of this, students should be given short and frequent breaks during their classes to re-energize. Not only will this make the students feel better mentally, it would also make them more productive and focused in class, which would benefit both the teachers and the students.

Finally, teachers should capitalize on the resources that students have at their disposal and assign more group work. This could be anything from putting the students into break rooms and allowing them to discuss a certain topic to assigning group projects that students need to work together to complete. This could be very useful because most students are currently struggling to find the motivation to do anything. Group work would allow the students to motivate each other while making new friends, which could make this online experience feel a little bit more like regular, in-person classes.

Taking everything into account, transitioning into online school was not easy for students and teachers. The pandemic came as a surprise, and nobody was prepared for such a transition. However, I hope that implementing the techniques I have suggested of making class more interactive, giving students more breaks and allowing students to work together will improve class engagement and enhance the learning experience for all.

Haya Haddad, a student in Jon Pfeiffer’s media law class at Pepperdine University, wrote the above essay in response to the following question: Classes have been on-line for almost a year. Describe your experience. What could be done to make it better? What would you do to increase class engagement? The class covers copyright and social media. Haya is an Public Relations and Hispanic Studies major.

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