Michelle Nguyen

It’s difficult for students to stay motivated and pay attention during remote learning, especially since teachers have no idea what’s going on behind students’ screens.

CON: Remote learning is a real drag

When COVID-19 made on-campus learning unfeasible, the idea of remote learning was brought up as a solution – a solution that the district has continued to use up to the present day.

Remote learning does have its benefits, but the cons strongly outweigh the pros. The negatives include a sedentary lifestyle, undesirable sleep schedules, and a lack of motivation and social interaction.

One of the biggest problems with remote learning is that it promotes a very sedentary lifestyle. An inactive lifestyle leads to weight gain, muscle loss, weaker bones, slower metabolism, worse blood circulation and, most importantly, a weakened immune system, according to MedlinePlus, a government medical source provided by the United States National Library of Medicine.

A strong immune system is necessary with nearly 7.1 million of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. right now. A weaker immune system is much more vulnerable to contracting and spreading the coronavirus. A sedentary lifestyle has been shown to cause premature death from completely avoidable health issues, such as strokes, heart disease, and cancer.

That’s not all students’ lack of movement can be harmful. Many students lay in their beds all day while on Zoom calls. This may seem harmless, but laying in bed all day can lead to many harmful side effects, including lower back aches and a heightened risk of depression and anxiety.

A 1993 study of pregnant women conducted by University of Wisconsin-Madison associate professor Judith A. Maloni showed that extended bed rest caused anxiety, depression, muscle atrophy, and headaches. In turn, depression and anxiety can lead to lower grades, a lack of effort, and focus issues. Teenage students with depression are twice as likely to have a grade point average below C than non-depressed students, according to research from University of Northern Iowa student Emily Dawn Hoerman.

Another major issue caused by remote learning is an unfavorable sleep schedule. Many students are waking up at 9:15 a.m. and rolling over in bed to grab their computers for their 9:20 class. That feeling of sluggishness we often feel when we wake up, called “sleep inertia”, typically lasts for five to 30 minutes, according to The Sleep Council, a British sleep health advocacy group.

But sleep inertia can sometimes last as long as four hours. Students’ brains can’t go from being asleep to being fully active in less than five minutes, meaning students are half-awake during their first class if they’re on this sleep schedule.

Additionally, strong motivation is necessary in remote learning, as is self-integrity. It’s very easy to Google answers, as well as cheat on tests. Students aren’t doing themselves any favors by doing this. Learning the material is challenging when you’re not physically in a classroom, so it’s up to students to pay attention at all times. This can be a real challenge for many students.

Yet another challenge of remote learning effectively communicating in class. Communication skills are extremely important and necessary in life. Remote learning does not help to build these skills, and actually harms them.

Working in teams, being able to have face-to-face interaction with other students and teachers, and public speaking are all made very difficult with online learning. Breakout rooms often go dead quiet after the assignment has finished, and everybody proceeds to go on their phone and just sit there instead of talking.

Some students may argue that a major advantage of remote learning is convenience, the convenience of being in the comfort of one’s own house and being able to eat and go to the bathroom at will. But discomfort and being in foreign and uncomfortable situations builds resilience and character, as well as wisdom. Convenience can often be students’ own enemy.

Remote learning poses many issues and boasts very few benefits. This all leaves many millions of people wondering: If remote learning isn’t the solution, then what is?

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