Blended students relate complications with virtual learning to AMI

A typical day for millions of students across the country begins by opening their computers to view assignments for the day. School notifications wait to be unlocked first thing in the morning. Deadlines are one after another. The Washington Post says more students are failing classes now more than ever before. Earlier this year in March school districts in the state were put under Alternative Methods of Instruction (AMI). After Thanksgiving break, all students in the district were to move to virtual learning for one week. Although both methods of learning are outside of a classroom, they do not have the same effect. 

Senior Thompson Lorennij believes AMI days were not an effective method of learning. When it was announced that third-quarter grades would be used as a base grade for fourth-quarter grades during the 2019-2020 school year, some students were not as productive as before. 

“I would say AMI days weren’t effective because there were many people I knew who didn’t do anything last year, myself included,” Lorennij said. 

Compared to AMI, online remote learning has been a greater challenge for students. Grades have been lower during online remote this school year. According to senior Jennifer Garcia, it is more difficult to keep up with classwork as a blended learning student. 

“My grades for the first quarter were terrible,” Garcia said. “I expected it to be the same as AMI days for some reason and when it wasn’t, I had a difficult time getting adjusted to this new learning method.”

Another barrier students have had to overcome is being unable to create a one-on-one connection with teachers. Senior Carolina Restrepo believes schoolwork becomes a greater struggle when there isn’t a teacher physically there to help students. 

“I think the quality of learning is less than when students aren’t physically in school,” Restrepo said. “When you are actually attending school on campus, you are able to ask for help. If everything is online, it is a lot harder to get someone to answer your questions. Especially if your teachers aren’t good with technology.”

Unlike AMI days, virtual learning can negatively affect grades. During AMI, teachers were asked to positively adjust grades based on the work students completed towards the end of the school year. Because virtual learning is different from AMI, students have suggested methods to improve learning outside of the classroom. 

“To improve learning when students aren’t physically in school, we should have all teachers Zoom for each class period, record it, and post the recording on their Google Classroom,” Garcia said. 

Furthermore, Garcia says AMI days were easier than online learning because during AMI every student received instructions and assignments at the same time whereas, in online learning, teachers may forget to post the assignment for the day, which causes students at home to fall behind. 

“Grades don’t determine intelligence,” Restrepo said. “Don’t procrastinate and just keep giving it your best effort during these tough times.”