As the 2021-22 school year kicks into gear, the students and staff at Camas High School are left in the dust of the rapid transition to normalcy. With many still trying to adjust to just going to physical school after their year-and-a-half break from it, it is clear that nearly nobody at CHS is having an easy time adjusting to a normal school year.
One of the key differences between physical and online school is the use of Google Classroom, a website used at CHS to organize classwork and assignments digitally.
Google Classroom was used throughout all of last year, even after students returned to the building, because not everyone was physically in the school.
However, this year, everyone is back at school at once and the raging debate on whether or not the use of Google Classroom is practical or not continues on.
The return to pen and paper has not been an easy one for some students at CHS.
“Pen and paper assignments help me learn easier, but taking notes is hard because most teachers go too fast for me,” said Camas senior Stephanie Gofman.
Many students have conflicted feelings about Google Classroom, as it is very organized and it keeps them updated about deadlines, announcements, and other important information, but it can often cause stress because due dates can pile up on a calendar and can look overwhelming.
“I hated it,” said Camas Chemistry teacher Mrs. Hovig. “There was no interaction at all. [A question] that would take me 5 seconds to answer in the classroom would take 5 emails to answer online,” she added.
To add insult to injury, because it is a Google service, it does have it’s faults sometimes along with technical difficulties, which can be very frustrating for students and staff alike.
“Last year I had to wake up at 3 or 4 in the morning because I live in the [Columbia River] gorge and I generally have really bad connection, so I had to upload the work for the day way before anyone should have to be awake,” Hovig said.
“I remember last year my Google Classroom didn’t work for like 3 days, for whatever reason. It was really annoying because I couldn’t get anything to load so I didn’t know what I was supposed to be doing for the week,” said Camas junior James Puffer.
This year, many students and teachers are using Google Classroom less and less. Many would consider it to be an intimidating reminder of the estranged past school year, and as such, a lot of teachers choose to not use it or avoid using it as much as possible in an effort to return school to the way it was pre-Covid.
“[My Google Classroom] was kinda clumsy to begin with [in the 2019-20 school year], and then last year I got the hang of it finally. I can see where it’s helpful, and I can see where it’s good to store things on there because students have access to things if they’re gone and I will use it some this year, but I’m not gonna use it exclusively because I think it’s important we go back to pencil and paper because last year there was rampant cheating and plagiarism and it was so frustrating and defeating,” said Camas English teacher Mr. Farland. “I still think there’s a lot of merit to keeping stuff in a binder to keep track of your papers and stuff like that rather than just using Google Classroom all the time,” he added.
Many students feel the same way as the teachers in the building do, claiming that while it was useful last year, Google Classroom has become redundant as the world slowly returns to normal.
“It was helpful using Google Classroom last year to keep due dates and such in one place rather than a bunch of different papers in a binder, but going back to pen and paper is nice because it gives a sense of returning to normalcy, even if it is messy,” added Camas junior Lisel Parker.
As with everything in the world currently, Camas High School is slowly recovering from the scars left by the Covid pandemic. Students are returning to school for a full day of learning and socialization while teachers are slowly getting back to their old grading habits and lessons, and with Google Classroom slowly becoming less used as the school year progresses, it will be interesting to see how everyone at CHS adapts and overcomes this change.