Online classroom platforms, specifically Google Classroom, have been taken on by many teachers as technology usage within schools has increased district wide. For some students, they feel as though the negatives may outweigh the positives with how teachers use the platforms. Many have shared that online classroom platforms have intensified the lack of distinction between school and home.
History teacher Robert Watson turned to Google Classroom as the pandemic began.
“I didn’t use Google Classroom before the pandemic. I set [it] up as we went home in March of 2020…now a year and half later, I am still using it,” Watson said.
Watson was not alone on this switch. Most teachers on campus have turned to the platform starting from Mar. 2020, including science teacher Melissa Havel and multimedia design teacher Luis Santos, who also has experience using other online classroom platforms such as Canvas.
With the increased use of Google Classroom, students report that they no longer feel the separation between school and home.
A feature of the platform used by many teachers is allowing students to turn work in during non-school hours, and even during the weekend. With that teachers can, and do, assign work to students even when they are not in school.
Sophomore Darragh Hoffman shared that having assignments due on a Friday night or over the weekend increases frustration.
“It would be different if the assignments were due the following Monday. I just cannot understand why students should be responsible for turning in work over the weekend when we would have never been expected to do so without Google Classroom,” Hoffman said. “The freedom we have of being at home is slowly being taken away with the increased use of the platform.”
Senior Maggie Dawsari feels similarly, sharing that with assignments being due during non-school hours, it makes it feel as though school is occurring 24/7.
“When teachers post assignments on weekends or have assignments due when we are not in school, it removes the idea that we once had of having school tomorrow. It makes it feel like we have school now, as in all of the time,” Dawsari said. “It would be different if the assignments were assigned and due during class time.”
Watson shared that he does not fully feel the home and school divide is changing with Google Classroom.
“Homework has always been a part of school, and the additional time to turn in assignments is given as a courtesy as opposed to having been due in class that day.” Watson said.
Senior Tyler Vuong does not feel like the feature is as much of a favor as teachers claim. From his experience, teachers will make assignments due later at night in preparation for next day’s class.
“I have teachers make assignments due at midnight” The real question is, why should I be responsible for turning in assignments during that time of the night? Students should not have to be struggling to finish and submit an assignment that late at night,” Vuong said.
Vuong feels negatively as to why a teacher would have an assignment due the night before class.
“Before Google Classroom, we would have just turned in the assignment the following day during class time,” Vuong said.
Freshman Avery Macallister believes that there is a way that Google Classroom can still be used, while still allowing students to feel that a divide between school and home continues to exist.
“New assignments should only be posted during school hours, and that goes for when assignments are due also,” Macallister said. “Students will obviously do homework outside of class, but things should only be assigned and due during school time.”
Santos communicated an understanding of the need for the separation from school and home for not only students, but teachers too. With that, he emphasized the importance of taking the challenge many students are having with the inability to divide school and home into a lesson for life.
“I can see how not having that separation can be nerve wrecking, but having said that, if students learn how to make that distinction for themselves, it will prepare them for college and the real world,” Santos said.