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Editor’s note: The CVN is partnering with Scott High School student-teacher Terry Bartley’s journalism class to print some student work. Look for more stories in the pages of CVN through the end of the school year.

As students and staff return to school full time, they have been given the opportunity to reflect on the past school year and the lessons they have learned. Throughout most of the 2020-21 school year, schools have participated in virtual learning to work through this global pandemic. To work under these circumstances, students have had to acquire new techniques and communication skills through technology. Elementary school student Lillian Cook says this school year has been very arduous, exhausting and unconventional for students like her.

Cook says that virtual learning was challenging in the beginning and that it felt tedious.

“Learning was hard at first. As the year went on, I learned more and more about the websites I was using and before I knew it, it became easier for me... The hardest part was that it was the same type of work every day. Doing the same thing each day is tiring and boring,” Cook said.

Cook says adjusting to these learning alterations didn’t come easily, but she later adapted and learned new things, making it much easier for her. Besides these difficulties, she also noted that communicating with her teacher was significantly more complicated than it once was.

“If I ever had a question for my teacher, I had to send her a message. I knew she would always respond, but it made things harder for both of us. When we were in school, it was quicker to ask questions in person. It was just a big change,” Cook said.

Although learning has been complicated during the pandemic, Cook says it allowed students to explore the many ways technology can assist them in school. As the long days spent in the classroom quickly shifted to long days in front of a computer screen, students learned to make the most of their predicament. Cook says that she developed her technological skills through the use of various online learning programs.

“Technology has helped us a lot this year. Without it, we wouldn’t have been able to have school at all,” Cook said. “Some of the websites I used were Schoology, IXL Learning, Microsoft office, and Microsoft teams. “

Cook says navigating this new way of learning was complicated, but technology was undoubtedly useful, and somewhat essential to the student’s ability to learn.

“The most important thing I have learned this year is that I shouldn’t take anything for granted. Something positive is that the time I spent at home let me spend more time with my family, outdoors, and with my pets,” Cook said.

Cook says that although there are many struggles with the way students must now learn, they can still notice the positive side of things. This year also gave students the chance to advance their academic skills.

“This year I used a calendar, schedule, and learned to finish my work on time at my own pace. I think this is important because when I get a job in the future, those things will be important. It will help me a lot,” Cook said.

As a student, I feel we are so fortunate to have been given the chance to socially distance while attending school remotely. This has not only protected us from COVID-19, but has also allowed us to view education from a different perspective. If we ever return virtually, most students will be familiar with the programs and will know how to operate under these conditions.

“If we ever go remote again, I recommend that my classmates join meetings when they can and keep a schedule. It helped me so much,” Cook said.

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