How are hands-on classes handling distance learning?

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Construction Tech students work on their projects

Tristan Groh, Writer

For many students, hands-on classes are a way to gain experience and insight on a specific topic. With the return to distance learning, students and teachers alike are taking a unique approach in the classroom. Due to the inability to give the students hands-on experience, teachers are turning to assignments and tests as the alternative. 

Music is one of the many subjects turning to this alternative. OHS Orchestra Teacher Ms. Sandra Justice said, “We are focused more on playing tests as playing together as an ensemble via distance learning is virtually (pun intended) impossible.”

 Some classes however have been fortunate to continue their work in the classroom, one of these being advanced woods. OHS Advanced Woods Teacher Mr. Dinse said, “ I’ve made a schedule so students have the opportunity to come into school and finish their project that they already had started. We have been making sure to limit the number of students in the room at once and we are taking all the proper COVID precautions as well.”

“I am still growing as a musician because I put time into it, but if you are not willing to put in effort, I would say no.””

— Ashton Jensen

The question many are asking is if these classes are worth taking if you are only getting assignments. OHS Senior Ashton Jensen, the section leader of the saxophones in OHS Band said, “I am still growing as a musician because I put time into it, but if you are not willing to put in effort, I would say no.” While assignment and test only learning may not work for everyone, putting effort outside of the classroom is one thing that remains constant.

Another class that has struggled with the transition is Youth Service Leadership. In a class that is based around being out in the community working with organizations, it is difficult to do that at home. OHS sophomore Katlyn Schubert said, “Distance learning took away a lot of the hands-on part of the class, I wanted to volunteer in an elementary school so it was fortunate that we were allowed into Lincoln.” Many are wondering if the classes are still worth taking if you don’t get the experience. Schubert said, “I believe so, you still get a lot out of the class.” With each class having a different approach to distance learning, students are given the unique experience to find what learning methods work best for them. 

The reintroduction of distance learning has been difficult for hands-on classes but due to the situation at hand, everyone is finding eccentric ways to learn. Teachers hope to be back to the norm soon giving students the opportunity to gain the skills and knowledge they desire from the class.