Online School and How We Were Prepared

This past week has marked the end of the third week of online schooling for St. X and many other schools across the city of Louisville. This was something no one expected: a global pandemic that has forced the world to a virtual standstill, with cities and entire countries on lockdown to try and eliminate the ascendant coronavirus. Circumstances like these could have stopped the education system in its tracks; two or three decades ago, it would have. But in 2020, St. X was already prepared to withstand this type of threat through online schooling.

For me, online school has almost been easier than the in-school version. As a senior, I will already get out of school in early May, and half of my classes are merely review for AP exams that have been adapted into shorter, perhaps easier forms of their previous selves. Tests that previously took hours will now take less than one. The amount of new material I am learning is limited to two classes. All in all, my average school day amounts to little more than a day of weekend homework.

Now, obviously this isn’t the case for every St. X student. Most of us are still learning new material in the majority of our classes, and freshmen, sophomores, and juniors will most likely have to continue this method of learning through the end of the school year. But this type of schooling, overall, isn’t hugely different from the education we received within St. X’s walls. With the exception of Zoom, most of the apps we are using to complete our school work are ones we have used for the entirety of high school. Schoology, Showbie, Turnitin, and PlusPortals aren’t new to us; we know how to use them. Zoom isn’t exactly a complicated app to learn, and through Zoom we can conduct class much the same as we used to. There may be a few hiccups now and again, but the method of learning we use now isn’t all that different from the one we used previously.

This smooth transition to online school is mainly due to St. X’s inclusion of technology in our previous education. By giving each student an iPad and using it in the vast majority of our classes, we have established a system of learning that has prepared us for this setback. Many of my friends in JCPS, who have just entered their first week of online learning, are learning how to take classes online that they have done on paper for their entire high school careers. By definition, it will take them more time to adjust to their new type of schooling. The inclusion of technology in St. X’s education system has enabled us to make the transition from in-class to online learning almost seamlessly. By teaching with technology, St. X was prepared for the coronavirus.