In “Digital Practices and Applications in a Covid-19 Culture,” Christina Romero-Ivanova, Michael Shaughnessy, Laura Otto, Emily Taylo and Emma Watson address student and professor reflections on digital learning practices during the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly in Spring 2020 when the pandemic began. The paper focuses on challenges faced by both professors and students during this time, ultimately coming to the conclusion that teachers, instructors and students need to be prepared for various major disruptions and to be able to utilize and even reinvent their ways of teaching and learning.
To show the challenges and advantages of technology used for teaching during the pandemic, students were asked to reflect on different softwares— these platforms being Zoom, Google Docs and Flipgrid. Based on the various comments, students primarily had positive experiences with each of these platforms. While many sites were new to students, they had to learn how to use each one which proved to be challenging. However, it seems that each student interviewed had an overall positive experience with each software. I find this interesting, because so many people I know from Lehigh did not have positive experiences with these platforms. Many found themselves with suffering grades due to distractions at home or on their devices. Additionally, there are many students who do not have access to certain useful technologies such as computers or stable WiFi, resulting in the inability to do classwork. While the students featured in this paper had positive experiences, I do not believe that they are representative of the experiences faced by all students.
The paper also goes on to talk about the challenges and experiences of professors during this time. I found this paper to be very interesting, especially because I watched my father, a professor, reinvent his entire class on such short notice when the pandemic began. I saw firsthand how difficult it was to do, while also experiencing and adapting to changes in my own classes as well. In terms of challenges, faculty needed to learn entirely new software— which, understandably, proved to be a steep learning curve— invoking frustration and exasperation. Instructors were put in such a difficult position, being asked to employ an entirely new approach to teaching a class that had been taught in person for years. It only heightened my respect for professors and the work they do. They were definitely essential in getting through this pandemic successfully.
Overall, I enjoyed reading this paper as it was very relatable to read about the challenges that came with education during the beginning of the pandemic. How would a paper like this with numerous student reflections differ in a less affluent area? This paper was written out of the University of Washington, right in downtown Seattle. What were the experiences like for students and teachers in more rural areas? Or, how did experiences differ for high school students and teachers? I’d like to know as I only experienced this change as a college student.