Seminole Connect leaves students unconnected


Photo provided by: Maya Silver

On Aug. 18, sophomore Maya Silver works on her AP World History class. “Learning online is different from in school in the sense that there aren’t many opportunities to socialize with other people,” Silver said. “Some teachers let us go in the chat, but it’s not the same as being able to talk to your friends in person.”

Yelena Tighiouart, Copy Editor

With school reopening under troublesome circumstances, students were given the option to learn virtually via Seminole Connect. Despite being safer than going back in person considering the ongoing pandemic, learning through Connect has its drawbacks. With technological and communication issues as teachers and students learn an entirely new program, Connect offers a safer alternative to face-to-face, but has seen to be challenging in many aspects.

It is more difficult for students to communicate with teachers through Connect because not only is it hard to understand what the teacher is saying at times, but teachers are also usually more focused on their face-to-face students. Although this is partially because their Connect students tend to not participate outside what is asked or required of them. Learning online also requires greater discipline, since teachers cannot ensure that Connect students are paying attention or doing their work. Most Connect students keep their camera and microphone off the whole lesson, putting full responsibility on them to make the right choices since they do not have a teacher monitoring them throughout the class. 

“The communication barrier with teachers has been one of the hardest aspects,” sophomore Maya Silver said. “Not even talking about technological issues, but just the fact that they don’t even know who you are. It always makes asking them questions more difficult. Online is difficult for the obvious reason that it’s really hard to focus. Telling yourself to do the work isn’t always as effective as when a teacher tells the class to do their work or put away their phones. Also, multiple times a week I have classes where I couldn’t completely hear my teacher, and then I end up having to teach myself the lesson later that night.”

Connect students also struggle with the fact that they do not get to experience the social aspect of school. Getting to see friends is one of the only parts of school that students look forward to. This makes it harder for Connect students to stay motivated considering they are not able to see their friends on a daily basis and they also have to do school at home, a place typically associated with relaxation.

“I would say online school is more difficult since it makes you feel more like a bystander,” senior Jonathan Gerard said. “You might be in a class with your friends, but you’re not really there. Also, online school requires more determination than regular school. Early in the day, you’re more focused on trying to stay awake when your bed is right there and it impedes on my learning. But when you’re at regular school, it’s much easier to wake up, knowing that you’re gonna be there for seven hours.”

Although online school has its challenges with communication and motivation, many students feel that Connect does have its advantages. Some benefits of participating in Connect are that it allows for more flexible schedules and is a safer learning environment than face-to-face. Students were also given the option to do hybrid, which includes taking some courses on campus and some on Connect. Many students feel that despite the setbacks, doing Connect full-time or hybrid was the smartest and safest option for them.  

“I chose hybrid because even with all the new regulations being put into place, I didn’t necessarily feel safe being around people all the time,” senior Jordana Sklon said. “Overall, I do prefer regular school, but because of COVID I do prefer being on Seminole Connect now. I just think it’s much smarter and despite minor issues at times, I feel a lot safer than I would if I were fully in person.” 

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