Too much online distance learning decreases students’ ability to pay attention


The Catalyst / Jennifer Huang

Local student Jason Huang spends time on his computer doing his homework just a couple of hours after he already spent time on his computer for school.

Sitting for an hour and 15 minutes on Zoom for each class for three to four classes a day can be difficult for students to stay on-task throughout the day. It is easy to get distracted and start working on work for other classes and other things.

Even when participating in class, my attention span can be short, and I get distracted. Normally, I multi-task by working on my other class assignments, while completing the work from the class that I am in.

“I usually dose off every 10 minutes, but during class, I either doodle or take some notes,” said Chloe Parkinson, a sophomore at NDB.

Online educator Saga Briggs at InformED says, “It’s natural for student attention levels to vary.” It depends on some factors like the student’s “motivation, mood, understanding of the material, and other factors.”

I have noticed that, at the beginning of online distance learning, my motivation to pay attention in class was high. As online learning continued, my motivation to stay engaged has decreased. In addition to this, other factors, especially background noise, distract me. I have neighbors that have little children, screaming and playing outside. I also have construction going on, and I continually hear the machinery.

So, how can we extend our attention span on Zoom?

Some teachers provide notes for the class and those keep me focused while learning. Another thing teachers do that helps me focus is allowing cameras to be off at certain times of the class. Permitting students to have their camera off gives their eyes a rest from being on the computer for class.

Since the start of the pandemic in March, the days of online school have blurred together. There is no separation between school life and home life. In order to fight this, there are some things I like to do to change my routine. During my lunch break, I like to get up and listen to music. During the weekends, I like getting outside and walking around.

Engagement in class has decreased over the course of online learning. However, there are ways to stay involved to combat a short attention span. Through taking dedicated screen time breaks, moving around, and getting outside, students can find ways to pay attention during Zoom classes.

How much time do you spend on screens for school?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...