The Difficulties of Technology Amid a Pandemic 

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Alexandra Lee, Guest Contributor

The first day when all students were online, the Global Protect Services, which helps connect the student laptops to the school system, went offline for a few hours when it had too many people using it. This affected a lot of people’s schedules, and these problems have affected people across the world as they attempt to go back to school. 

Technology, as great as it is, has become a major issue. 

Students have been getting into the routine of hybrid schedules as they go back to school, but technology has caused a new set of problems for students and teachers alike. When the 2020-2021 school year began, school boards had come up with the idea of hybrid learning. While this is a well-conducted plan, the technical aspects have created many problems for the schools.  

The hybrid learning has created two groups of students to take turns going to school throughout the week. While one group of students is in school, the other group is at home learning online. This plan seems to be working well as it is creating a pattern for the students and making a schedule for the teachers. However, the technology starts to create more problems when the students go back home. 

With technology, you can always expect there to be some issues,” District Tech, Kate O’Malley said. Working at the Tech Help Desk has become a very challenging job this year. Technology has always been an issue for schools from overcrowded serves or uncooperating IP addresses, and those seem to be increasing as online learning continues. While working at home students run into problems of Wi-Fi not working, servers shutting off, and computers not syncing.  

My most common problem while working online is my Wi-Fi not being able to connect, freshman Celia Wolak, said. Wi-Fi, as much as it can be a gift, has been one of the main setbacks that students have had while working at home. Computers may not connect, the Wi-Fi may be overcrowded from people in the family working, or it may simply not turn up on the computer because of restrictions set up by administrations.  

There may be something that we want to do, but if the technology cannot supply that experience or the students’ 1:1 devices cannot handle the software, then that learning experience may simply be unavailable to us,  Mr. Fredrick, band director, said. 

Teachers have been faced with their own set of problems as they try to help students from afar and deal with their own technology issues. 

There are still at least 5-10 emails each day–and even more on the weekend–that deal with such issues. We attempt to provide suggestions through email or over the phone, but if those “fixes” are unsuccessful, we are often forced to tell the students to wait until they can visit the GHS Help Desk when they return to school, Mr. Fredrick said. Teachers have to help the students with the problems that they are having at their own houses and are unable to see what the problem is past the description that the students have given them, usually passing the students on to the Help Desk.   

“The number of students needing help has definitely changed this year. We now have students coming up to the window at the Help Desk AND calling us from home. It is more difficult and time-consuming to help the students over the phone when they are having issues at home. Most of the time, we can remote into the student’s device and try to help them that way. Sometimes we can’t remote into the device because Global Protect is not working correctly,” Ms. O’Malley said.   

The teachers have their own problems as they try to teach online. This style is completely different for most teachers and to have to adapt as quickly as they did for the new school year was quite a feat. 

Instead of being on the podium leading student musicians in a live rehearsal, we have had to find new ways to keep our students playing individually from home, which has meant that I, as a teacher, have had to learn a number of new online teaching platforms in a relatively short amount of time.  Up until last spring, I had never used applications such as OneNote, Teams, or SmartMusic, Mr. Fredrick said.  

The schools have been working hard to fix the problems and persevere through these tough times and have attempted to conquer a very hard task in a very short amount of time. This pandemic has created problems for everyone, but one of the hardest to overcome has been the technology used in schools.  

Not enough can be said for the amazing, hard-working people in the GHS Technology Department, who have been incredibly patient and helpful throughout this entire process, especially with technological novices like myself,” Mr. Fredrick said.   

In the best-case scenario, school systems could return to the way that they were before the pandemic. Until that happens, we can hope that in the future these technological setbacks will have been reduced and school can become easier for both students and teachers