GCHS staff provides eLearning advice

Advice for students on how to succeed during eLearning.


Grayslake Central High School supports students online during Covid-19 pandemic. Photo by NIchole Trudeau

Nichole Trudeau, Staff Reporter

Due to the Coronavirus, all Illinois schools have been required to do eLearning. As eLearning is a newer practice students may be finding it difficult to figure out their own strategies to get work completed. As that may be difficult, we got advice from faculty to help out students during this difficult time.
Advice from an instructional coach – Shanna Piggott
The first step to succeeding in eLearning is understanding the fact that technology and the internet don’t always function perfectly or how we want them to. As it may be frustrating that you can’t get access to your work or an error keeps reoccurring, all that matters is you try and keep trying and to communicate technology difficulty with your teachers.
Instructional coach Shanna Piggott said, “The entire staff at GCHS is trying to help students. We need to know when students are struggling and what they are struggling with so that we can find the best way to support them. Many times, a conversation with a building adult can help identify solutions that a student might not think about on their own or the conversations might prompt changes that benefit everyone in the situation.”
Secondly, you need to constantly check your email because the “district and school administrators along with our technology department are working to keep you informed about the situation and to send tips and tricks to help you out. It is important that you read these so you know what is going on. It is great practice for your future,” explained Piggott.
Just don’t stress out over tech issues when you can’t control them, rather try to find an alternative route. “Schoology is working hard to adapt to the extremely increased workload but even then, a lot of the student work can be completed without having Schoology open. We are encouraging students to take screenshots of the agendas or add them to their Google Drives if teachers share the document, to download assignments and complete them outside of Schoology, to email teachers for copies of work when they can’t access Schoology, and to be flexible about when they try to access materials,” explained Piggott.
Lastly, eLearning can be difficult and frustrating for everyone, so Piggott provides some final troubleshooting advice that everyone should take. “The first thing that we need students to do is take a breath! Many times, work that wasn’t available or links that were giving error messages are back working within 10 minutes of the first attempt. Also, powering off and on your device helps re-establish successful connections. Try not to always leave your Chromebook “on”,” said Piggott.
Advice from a counselor – Mary Przanowski
A healthy, successful eLearning student is a student that remembers to have balance and focuses on engaging the best they can with teachers and class work.
“Remember during this dramatic time of change and uncertainty, keep connected with school staff, and each other, keep a sense of humor, and find balance. Mastery of Tik Tok, and the Art of Snapchat filters are just a small piece of your overall day, don’t overdo it! Balance is the key,” said school counselor Mary Przanowski.
Doing school work through eLearning may not be ideal, but taking online courses can be a learning experience for everyone.
“There are lessons in this remote learning time that cannot be measured by traditional assessments and grades. Probably the greatest positive take away during this remote learning period is that students are all strengthening their soft skills; resilience, empathy, adaptability, time management, and independence,” said Przanowski.
Always remember that people are available and willing to help and there are many ways to get help.
“Grayslake Central Administrators, faculty, support staff, and technology staff, have all united to create a very user friendly, one stop eLearning Resource Page on the Grayslake Central home page,” explained Przanowski. “We are all available to help students in any way we can, to navigate this remote learning period. We have your back! Let us know how you are doing! We want kids to know we are all in this together.”
Advice from a teacher – Matthew Bridges
As students remember that these aren’t normal times, it would be stressful to try and keep a normal school schedule. Remember that teachers are balancing school and home life too.
Math teacher Matthew Bridges explains, “I am balancing three young children at home with three different classes I teach and then communicating with three different teaching teams. There is a 0% chance I can maintain a ‘normal school schedule’.”
However, Bridges explains, “That does not mean you should not have a schedule. You need to understand that life right now is not normal. I think you would go crazy if you tried to have that rigid schedule. If after 30 minutes something comes up with you or your family you may feel stressed that you can no longer keep the schedule. Instead, take a breath and know that you can come back to it later or maybe you can’t. That is ok.” At this time, it is important for students to go with the flow when it comes to getting their work done and technical difficulties as it may be frustrating not to have a normal schedule. The best way to succeed during this eLearning period is to be able to adapt and overcome difficulties.
“Be structured but have flexibility within your day. You may be able to get a solid hour of work at 9 a.m. or 10 a.m. one day but maybe not the next. Ride this wave of change and believe you can do it,” said Bridges.
Keep in mind that every single one of us is in this state of quarantine. However, at the end of this difficult time there should be things we realize we took for granted.
“I hope we are all humbled by what is happening and when we make it through, we are stronger and more empathetic. That we are better able to accept each other for our unique differences. That we are more compassionate and patient with each other. Life is messy and hard. I hope we realize we can and should be more positive with ourselves and others,” said Bridges. “This situation we are in creates a unique opportunity to learn how to adapt. To struggle and then find success. To develop grit, self-control, and empathy. To learn more about yourself and your family. Maybe even your teacher(s).”