Inside look at virtual learning: Students and Staff share their e-learning setups


Courtesy of Patrick Troy

Working at his virtual teaching setup from home, math teacher Patrick Troy prepares for the day with his Border Collie, Luna, laying behind him. Troy feels there are multiple benefits to teaching on a computer opposed to writing on a whiteboard. “My setup allows me to work on the computer, instead of writing on a whiteboard or paper behind me,” Troy said. “It allows me to directly look at my students while I’m teaching.”

Junior Allie Judd:

Junior Allie Judd logs onto her Chromebook as she prepares to start class.
(Courtesy of Allie Judd)

While many students have multiple fancy monitors and keyboards for their setups, junior Allie Judd says all she needs to be successful is her school-issued Chromebook and a good night’s rest. 

“The best part about my setup is probably the ability to just sit in a chair at my desk in my room,” Judd said. “It is quiet and gives me plenty of room to think and get my work done opposed to sitting on my bed or somewhere else hunched over.”

Judd feels it is not all about the equipment that you use to thrive in online school, more of what you do with your day when you’re not behind the screen. 

“I make sure I get enough sleep so I am not that tired,” Judd said. “I run in the morning to get my blood flowing. I eat a good healthy breakfast. I make sure I am in a quiet space and I make sure I have the mindset of wanting to learn rather than being forced to.”

Freshman Eli Fassler:

Freshman Eli Fassler plays minecraft after finishing his virtual school day.
(Grace Fassler)

To start your first year of high school  in a virtual setting is something nobody could have predicted. Freshman Eli Fassler says multitasking is his key to being successful during these stressful times.

“Having two monitors is very helpful because I can be on multiple tabs at once, so I could do my Zoom call on one side and manage my other work pretty efficiently on the other,” Fassler said.

Fassler says his laptop is the key to overcoming the obstacles this year as it powers his whole setup.

“I couldn’t work online without my laptop,” Fassler said. “It’s kinda like the heart of all the technology I have around me and none of it would be able to function without it being in use.”

Teacher Patrick Troy:

Math teacher Patrick Troy Records himself teaching a lesson for his students.
(Courtesy of Patrick Troy)

Adjusting to virtual school not only has a profound impact on student learning, but also the platforms teachers use to convey their information. Math teacher Patrick Troy says the simplicity of his setup allows him to be very efficient in his work on a daily basis.

“The best part about my setup is that I was able to pretty much figure it out during the springtime. It is set up so that as soon as I plug my computer in, I’m ready to go,” Troy said. “The most important thing is having a second monitor and a pen tablet.”

The many distractions of being at home can make it a challenge to stay engaged online, but for Troy that has never been an issue.

“Staying focused has never been a problem for me. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. is usually nap time for my dog anyways, so Luna, my Border Collie, usually curls up at my feet for most of the day,” Troy said. “The biggest distraction I miss is lunch with my colleagues.”

Junior Ethan Harwell:

Junior Ethan Harwell sets up his multiple monitors while entering his Zoom call.
(Courtesy of Ethan Harwell)

With a whole semester’s worth of work having to be done in one quarter, students are finding that balancing time and different responsibilities is paramount. Junior Ethan Harwell has found having multiple monitors in the comfort of his room to be the key to his success. 

“Being able to have different tabs up at once just makes multitasking easy and being comfortable at home makes it a whole lot better,” Harwell said. “I like to close myself off in my room while I’m in school and everybody in the house stays away and does their own thing.”

Harwell claims that being surrounded by screens not only helps him stay organized, but also keeps him focused. 

“I like having multiple screens as it sorts out the clutter of all my work,” Harwell said. “It is a big advantage to have  because I can be on a call and be able to do the assignments with ease at the same time.”