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Five Lessons I Learned from Digital Learning Days

It is a truth universally acknowledged that any Gwinnett County student in possession of a sleep deficit and a heavy homework load must be in want of a snow day.

For students in the South, snow doesn’t just bring frigid temperatures, slippery driveways, and icy roads. Snow brings the promise of a few extra hours curled up in bed, an extension on the piles of essays left forgotten, and a temporary cure for the inevitable deadlines. Snow brings luxury and freedom and everything in between.

When Gwinnett County introduced its Digital Learning Days this semester, students were at a loss. The sacredness of snow days was suddenly snatched away by fluctuating wi-fi signals and slow laptops. I initially hated this change as much as every other Gwinnett County student. Gone were the countless hours spent buried underneath layers of sweaters, scarves, and a light dusting of snow, and in rushed the perpetual cycle of procrastination and deadlines.
But despite the inevitable workload that came with them, I did learn the following lessons from the Digital Learning Days:

  1. For most students, each digital assignment should last no longer than forty-five minutes. For most students, each digital assignment will last much, much, longer than forty-five minutes.
    Procrastination lurks near the internet and runs rampant in the empty promise of self-paced learning. On one of the days, I pushed watching my calculus video – which lasted less than half an hour – until the very last minute. Trying to figure out integration and indeterminate forms while fighting heavy eyelids and yawns is far from an enjoyable affair.
  2. Planning is the key to efficiency! Knock out the shortest assignments in the morning, so you’ll have free time in the afternoon.
    For me, completing as much work as I could in the mornings really helped me manage my time well on the last digital learning day. Starting off with easier assignments and gradually increasing my pace helped me slowly submerge myself in my work and relinquish my distractions. Take that, integration.
  3. Make sure you know when your teachers will be checking their emails!
    Most teachers post their hours of availability on their eClass page – take advantage of this. If you don’t have the energy to pull yourself out of bed in the morning, at least plan your day around the times your teachers will be online. I always made sure to check this early in the morning so I could send my teachers frantic emails when necessary.
  4. Complete your work on the Digital Learning Day!
    Yes, most deadlines for assignments are a few days after students come back to school. However, it’s much more manageable to finish everything on the day and enjoy the extra free time.
  5. Despite the deadlines that continue to loom and piles of work, the extra sleep and longer summers from Digital Learning Days are still worth it.
    While it’s frustrating to be bound to a laptop out of obligation and necessity, for me, it’s better to work in the comfort of my warm, quiet home without having to make up the missed days. To the current and future students of Gwinnett County Public Schools – enjoy your Digital Learning Days!