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At-home learning Zooms along for some teachers, students

Teachers and students alike are using Zoom and other services to communicate online.

With the cancellation of on-grounds classes at schools across the state, teachers and students have adapted to the change. This includes using online services to imitate meeting in the classroom.

John Shannon, a Brookhaven native and student at the University of Southern Mississippi, has taken online classes before. He isn’t enjoying the change.

“It’s not easy,” Shannon said. “I like going to school and seeing my friends.”

Shannon is an audio production major, and he says his classwork has become more difficult due to the fact that he doesn’t have the equipment at home that is normally used for his program.

“I’m not in normal classes, so it’s hard to do my classes online,” Shannon said. “The equipment is expensive, not everyone has it.”

Shannon says that some of his classes are using Zoom, an online service that enables users to video chat in groups.

“We can’t really do projects we were supposed to do in class or get any experience,” Shannon said.

For the other classes that don’t use Zoom, teachers post lectures online as videos.

Another struggle Shannon and other students are facing is having a teacher who isn’t familiar with teaching class online.

The biggest issue for students across the state is access to high speed internet. For students who have been forced to leave their residence halls on campus and move back home, Internet is hard to come by.

“And not everyone has Wi-Fi,” Shannon said.

Brookhaven resident Erica Kent teaches ninth grade biology at Terry High School. She has been meeting with each of her classes for 30 minutes each day on Zoom.

Kent has never taught online and seems to enjoy it so far. One benefit of the software is that it allows her to see her students face-to-face.

“This is the first time I’ve ever had to use Zoom for my classes,” Kent said. “We actually get to see our kids.”

While there’s the benefit of having to face-to-face interaction, there are challenges that come with it. Many students don’t have the technology needed to participate.

“The students that need the interaction may not have access to the technology or the internet,” Kent said. “The very ones that need it can’t get it.”

Another challenge is that teachers are adapting to online school just like students are. Kent says it’s been a lot of trial and error.

“It’s been a struggle to figure it out,” Kent said. “It’s just a lot at one time, and we aren’t experts.”

 

Story by Gracie Byrne