He said some teachers are also giving shorter lessons and using a lot of documentaries to teach during this time. “I realized very early on that it is very difficult to do work at home when your bed is three feet away,” he said.

Madeline Lukaart, a 7th grader at Eastern Middle School in Ada, Michigan, said some of her friends are having a hard time handling distractions at home and are spending more hours on social media, “which I don’t think is probably the most healthy.”

Omolola added, however, that social media is primarily the way students can stay connected with their friends now and “find things we like in common.”

Members of the Student Voice organization joined Tara Nattrass, education strategist for Dell Technologies, top right, for a conversation about how they're handling the abrupt shift to remote learning.
Dell Technologies

Merrit Jones, the president of Student Voice — who also moderated some of the discussion — even suggested educators might want to look at Tik Tok for inspiration during this time. “It’s short and digestible and entertaining and creative,” she said. “How can we build learning experiences in this moment that do just that?”

The students also talked about how teachers are grading during remote learning.

Yuan added she thought teachers should be grading and giving feedback in a different way during this time to show consideration for how students’ learning environment has changed.

Lukaart agreed, saying if students are completing the work, “it’s really good because they’re not receiving as much of the help that they used to receive.”

Omolola said in PGCPS, he’s been advocating for a method in which students close to passing a class before schools closed would be given the additional points to pass, especially if they don’t have reliable internet to be on Zoom calls. He added when school resumes in the fall, he thinks educators should give students time to review before moving on to grade-level or new course material.

Omolola also urged educators to think about what students have been learning on their own during their time at home.

“So long we’ve been taught, you know, you put students in a desk, put them in rows. That’s how they learn better,” he said. “Then we get into a situation like this and students have to be creative with the way they learn. We’re realizing there are so many more opportunities out there for them to actually express themselves. I think when we come back from this, we’re not going to be in rows anymore.”